Monday, March 24, 2008

Bush's content-free religious views

Matt Yglesias put up a video clip from a conversation between Jacob Weisberg and David Frum. Weisberg observes that George W. Bush's personal religious views, while obviously central to his life and work, don't seem to be based on any actual understanding of Christianity.

Weisberg is correct.

This has been one of Bush's greatest, most glaring idiosyncracies since his first appearance on the national stage.

It was obvious from the start that his religious views, and their influence on his political message, were based in no way on Christianity as presented in the scriptures.

When, during the 2000 Republican primaries, Bush identified Jesus Christ as his favorite political philosopher, it was perplexing to see Evangelicals flock to him as one of their own. As an Evangelical, albeit one with very extremely liberal political views, I laughed. The statement was ridiculous. For us, Jesus transcends such nonsense. In fact, He transcends every conceit of the mind of man. He is our Savior. He cannot be defined by politics.

During his re-election campaign in 2004, ABC News asked Bush if he believed non-Christians - Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews - were bound for hell, or if they could get into heaven along with Christians. He said he believed that everybody was going to heaven, but that non-Christians were simply pursuing a different path to get there. Now, well-meaning people can disagree on this as a matter of theology, but according to the Bible, there is only one way to get to heaven, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. Period. No Evangelical Christian with even a superficial understanding of the faith would say such a thing. The fact that Bush said it indicated one of two things:

  • He does not believe that Jesus is the Savior; or

  • He does believe it, but is willing to lie about it for political purposes - in other words, he is willing to deny Christ to obtain an earthly prize.
The quote received almost no coverage. If it had been widely publicized, I have always wondered, would it have cost Bush any support among his loyal Evangelical constituency? The answer is: probably not.

As shallow and content-free as Bush's religious views seem to be, they are no more vapid than the demonstrated views of the majority of politically-active Evangelicals. The policies that these people have supported through the seven years of George W. Bush's presidency are unrecognizable as anything Christians are taught in the scriptures. Whom, for example, would Jesus torture? Whom would He bomb? Whom would He refuse to feed or clothe or heal?

I have always considered Bush, as a carrier of the Christian message, a complete fraud.

I continue to marvel at the inability or unwillingness of my fellow Christians to see through his charade.

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