Why does it make so many on the Left uncomfortable that President Bush openly professes his reliance on God in performing his official duties?
Actor Richard Gere has joined in the chorus led by Ralph Nader and others condemning President Bush for mixing his faith with his governance. "One thing I've learned in my life is never to trust anyone who thinks that he exclusively has God on his side," said Gere to a crowd of like-minded Hollywooders.
Gere's brilliant insight followed a recent statement by perennial presidential aspirant and equal opportunity nuisance Ralph Nader lambasting Bush for not divorcing his faith from his public service. Nader was apparently disturbed by a passage in Bob Woodward's new book.
Woodward reports that when Bush was in the process of deciding to attack Iraq he prayed "for the strength to do the Lord's will." This "revelation" reportedly prompted Nader to tell the Christian Science Monitor,
"We are dealing here with a basically unstable president ? a messianic militarist. A messianic militarist, under our constitutional structure, is an unstable office-holder. Talk about separation of church and state: It is not separated at all in Bush's brain, and this is extremely disturbing."
Hold on a second there, Ralph. One with a messianic complex would regard himself as a savior or liberator, according to dictionaries I've consulted. In the statements Nader is referring to, President Bush is doing just the opposite. He is asking God to give him the strength to do God's will. Nothing could be more humble; nothing could be less egotistical. Nothing could be less "messianic."
That's one of the ironic things about Bush's secular critics. They see him as a man literally eaten up with macho-pride and cowboy swagger, yet at his core, he is a man of extraordinary humility, a person who understands this historic moment is not about him, but about the causes, people, and most of all, God he serves.
And while Bush quietly admits that he cherishes his personal relationship with God, he doesn't claim his relationship is exclusive or that he's receiving direct orders from God, especially as to generalship of the war.
David Aikman, author of the new book "A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush," says that Bush is not unduly conspicuous about his faith. "He's never said God told us to go to war, never said God told me to do anything ? He's been very careful," said Aikman.
So why do liberal elitists recoil like snakes when Bush makes references to his faith? Why do they act like it's newsworthy when the highest officeholder in the land admits to being a practicing Christian in a nation where most citizens claim to be Christians?
Well, one possible reason is that they believe in a pure separation of church and state, at least as it applies to the Christian church. Some adhere it to such an extreme degree -- as evidenced by Ralph Nader's ludicrous quote above -- that they insist it requires a Christian to separate his faith from his governance.
As if it's possible (or desirable) to create an internal Chinese firewall in someone's brain or his personality to cordon off his worldview from his decisions in office. As if Christians should not only keep their opinions to themselves, but from themselves.
How would Ralph like it if we told him he should not allow his moral judgments about corporate greed to affect his political advocacy or inform his candidacy?
Isn't the double standard painfully obvious? It's not the secularists' allegiance to church-state separation that drives them, but an abiding distrust of and hostility toward Christianity, which many of them see as a dangerous superstition.
A perfect illustration of this is an e-mail I received in response to my last column on the book "I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist." My correspondent wrote, "when grown men and women believe Noah and his brood incestuously repopulated the whole planet, I am a bit dismayed that people can be so stupid."
There you have it. Christians are unstable, science-averse simpletons so weak they have to rely on a fictitious savior, so unsophisticated they believe in the forces of good and evil, and so reckless that they will fight wars to protect their national security even if many of America's traditional allies don't have the courage or rectitude to join them.
Oh, how far we've come in this nation since it was considered unquestionably noble to place our "firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence."