Sunday, September 18, 2005

Is Bush Commander In Chief, or Minister in Chief?

From Saturday's Weekly Radio Address:

"Our citizens have responded to this tragedy with action and prayer. We ask God's comfort for the men and women who have suffered so much. We pray that the missing find safe return, and those who were lost find holy rest. And we sought the strength of the Almighty for the difficult work that lies ahead.

In the life of our nation we have seen that wondrous things are possible when we act with God's grace. From the rubble of destroyed homes we can see the beginnings of vibrant new neighborhoods. From the despair of lives torn asunder we can see the hope of rebirth. And from the depth of darkness we can see a bright dawn emerging over the Gulf Coast and the great city of New Orleans."

***

Isn't that a bit heavy handed? Even for Bush?

I admit, I'm not the most religious person. But I was raised in a conservative Jewish home, bar-mitzvahed, married in a synagogue by a rabbi, and have my son in a Jewish pre-school. So I'm not some "G-dless Liberal," either.

Still, I have always found President Bush's frequent references to G-d a little unsettling. I have since a 1999 debate, when candidate Bush -- asked to identify the political philosopher he found most inspirational -- answered "Jesus Christ."

Bush, no doubt as a reward to the religious right that helped get him elected and re-elected, has mushed together religion and politics since becoming president. Separation of church and state? As pointed out by The American Prospect: "With the help of evangelical speechwriter Michael Gerson, Bush lards his speeches with code words directed at Christian conservatives. In (the 2003) State of the Union address, Bush mentioned the "wonder-working power" of the American people, an allusion to an evangelical Christian song whose lyrics cite the "power, wonder-working power, in the blood of the Lamb" -- i.e., Jesus.

Maybe House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) said it best when, calling Bush's idea for federal support of faith-based initiatives "a great opportunity to bring God back into the public institutions of the country. God has been removed from all of our public institutions."

Of course, DeLay wasn't real sound on his history, talking about "this notion of separation of church and state that has been imposed upon us over the last 40 or 50 years" -- failing to recognize that "this notion of separation of church and state" actually dates back to the formation of the United States. The Constitution doesn't mention G-d.

***

Displays of the Ten Commandments in public buildings. Religious school vouchers. Teaching "Intelligent Design" or even the Bible in public schools. Placing religious opinions above scientific fact on a host of issues, from evolution to stem cell research. These are the steps an emboldened Religious Right has undertaken nationwide -- empowered by words of support from Bush and-or other conservative politicians.

The non-profit Americans United For Separation of Church and State has devoted some of its resources to fighting efforts by the Religious Right at the local level to teach religion in schools -- and at that, I mean Christianity.

We don't live in a Christian nation, even if Bush and other conservative leaders keep dropping hints (some not so subtle -- Paul Weyrich, who coined the term "Moral Majority" in 1979, said at a speech a year later: "We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context.")

I have a suggestion for those who want to teach Intelligent Design or Bible history in public schools: Can we also teach our kids Biblical archaeology? Because biblical archaeologists have been able to show -- with the same amount of scientific certainty as say, proponents of evolutionary theory -- that many of the stories of the Bible are just that ... stories.

Now that would be an interesting classroom discussion.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Erika said...

Are the Bush family members offering aid or busy praying?

Or being tossed in jail for partying? Let him explain that to his religious base.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous daninthemoon said...

I'm a Christian, and as such I cringe everytime he starts this stuff.

He doesn't represent me or my beliefs, and he certainly doesn't speak for God. Heavyhanded is a good word for it, but I think most of his "preaching" is manipulation.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous sam sarrha said...

just hiding behind the Christian Logo.. 'Mess with me ..you mess with god' mess with god and you burn in hell... For ever, no one can ever help you.. ever, not never.. so don't mess with me,

Cause "I" hang with the one and only god.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous sam sarrha said...

hey dont feel bad, i am a Buddhist and i dont like it either...

1:22 AM  
Anonymous daninthemoon said...

And believe me, folks here in Oklahoma blindly accept this.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous az chela said...

Finally !!!!

I have been waiting for days for someone to say this.I couldnt believe the 5 minutes I heard of his speech,I thought I had turned on Billy Graham for cripe sakes.Who does this holier than thou jerk think he is??He is responsible for the murders of 1000's of people in Iraq and now in this country and he can stand up in front of people with a straight face????That is beyond insane,that is psychotic.Everyone should run away from this man as fast as they can run,he is beyond peycho.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

It is a rule of history: every revolution eventually becomes the thing it sought to overthrow.

This country was inspired and founded on religious freedom. People died to keep our government religious-neutral. Anyone who tells me I'm not American because I want the state out of the religion business is an idiot who has no clue what living in a theocracy is really like.

You want to talk about your opinion of God: great, go to church! You want to live in a religious state? Well then take a good hard look at the Taliban and consider very carefully what you're asking for.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Snoop said...

“Bush lards his speeches with code words directed at Christian conservatives,”

I like you folks, you are funny!

People, get a grip.... the speech was not directed at “Christian conservatives!”

Who is the core group of people displaced by Katrina? Black folks and I know you liberals don’t like it BUT most of those black folks are God fearing, Christian folk. He was speaking to them. This is not some conspiracy!

“We don't live in a Christian nation”

Ok, tell that to black Democrat supporters. Remember OHIO and the black ministers who banded together to help Kerry lose OHIO, Hmmmm?

I know it hard for you liberals to look at the big picture, but as far as I’m concerned that tis a good thing.

I will repeat myself......YOU DEMOCRATS (NEED) MUST HAVE THE BLACK VOTE to win in 08'. Bush is gonna hand out the dead presidents and give a little touch of the Jesus speak along the way. Focus people....FOCUS!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Snoop, JABBS has no right to be offended. Snoop wants JABBS to put party before country, just like the Republicans do.

Sad.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Snoop, you really think that Bush was speaking to Black ministers from Louisiana?

Then explain all the other Christian/Jesus Christ/God references he has made since he began running for president? This predates Hurricane Katrina.

The man is beholden to the Religious Right. He's a born-again Christian, and he wants the rest of us to be, too.

He's happy to go against 200-plus years of Constitutional rights in order to raise campaign funds from Jerry Falwell supporters.

It's a shame the rest of us -- the majority not in the "Moral Majority" -- are too stupid to do anything about it.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Snoop, it sounds like you are saying that blacks are going to take the money and be fooled by the pandering. Certainly it is an improvement that Bush is speaking at venues outside of his usual preferred religious institution: Bob Jones University but are you seriously saying blacks are too greedy or ignorant to vote for their own best interests?

You know you don't have to be white to be a racist, right?

4:37 PM  
Blogger Snoop said...

Snoop, it sounds like you are saying that blacks are going to take the money and be fooled by the pandering.

Um........................ah.............................hm.............................uh..............................
YES!!!!! YES THATS RIGHT!!!!

They have been fooled by the Democrats all of these years!

Ah AD you set yourself up for that one! LOL!!!

And remember being a Negro I am allowed by law to say it. HA!

5:33 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I've seen things stranger than that. I can't explain why anyone who isn't rich and white-collar would vote for Bush, other than the fact that he fronts as if he is as bigotted and fundametalist close-minded as many middle-class in the Red States are (I'm from the Red States, so I'm allowed by law to say that). I mean seriuosly, are we actually having a national debate about whether evolution is real or not? Whether gays should have the same rights as hetrosexuals? Whether the government should be promoting Christianity? What the hell happened around here?

So you may be right, Snoop--sadly. But I'm still hoping America will wake up. I've been wrong before.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Myrrander said...

All that "G-D" stuff in the post was amusing. "GOD" isn't a name, it isn't even really a title. YHWH might get you a little closer. Geez. I've used GOD and the tetragrammaton in this post and nothing happened.

Don't bitch about the president being a kook and then use that kooky "G-d" crap. It's superstitious idiocy.

4:23 AM  
Blogger Snoop said...

“I've seen things stranger than that. I can't explain why anyone who isn't rich and white-collar would vote for Bush, “

Instead of reinventing the wheel here are some previous posts that may explain MY position. Remember I am not white nor RICH. I have ALWAYS had issues with liberal ideology growing up in the SF Bay Area.

Liberals


Liberals II


Liberals III


Liberals IV

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

myrrander, why don't you be more offensive.

David's Jewish. Jewish people don't like writing out "God" so they write out "G-d" instead. Is that "kooky"?

Kooky like carrying rosary beads? Kooky like wearing a cross around your neck? Kooky like wearing a skullcap?

You're ridiculous. The post isn't even about the president being "kooky" with his religion. It's about him being overbearing with his religion. How big a moron do you have to be to not understand the difference?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YHWH is a Jews for Jesus thing, isn't it?

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as an agnostic I get to say: anyone who refers to "God-fearing" has lost me right there as a possible recruit. The God - if there is a God - I envision certainly does not demand "fear" as a prerequisite for belief.

As a thinking person, I get to say: anyone who seriously believes Bush is a devout Christian, as opposed to an opportunist exploiting the fundamentalists, is naive beyond salvation.

And as an observer I get to say: remember the 2000 debates in which, after a long pause, Bush cited Christ as his favorite philosopher? Sorry to shatter you religiosos' illusions, but it was because he couldn't think of anyone else.

3:43 PM  

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