Paul  Kengor

Thomas: Well, you are a secular official…. And not a missionary.

Bush, polite to a fault, let Thomas have the last word, as he has with nearly every liberal who has rolled all over him for the past eight years.

Yet, there was a hidden surprise for liberals: While they doggedly insisted that Bush’s new office forged the backbone of an emerging theocratic regime, they neglected to notice that there were politicians on their side of the aisle that liked it.

One such Democrat was Hillary Clinton. On January 19, 2005, Hillary addressed the National Ten Point Leadership Foundation and the Ella J. Baker House, two boosters of faith-based initiatives. “There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles,” declared Clinton, correctly. She said there was a “false division” between faith-based solutions and church-state separation. Hillary demanded that public officials be permitted to “live out their faith in the public square.”

When I began speaking on Hillary Clinton’s faith, I warned university audiences to brace themselves for the likelihood that a President Hillary Clinton would not only refuse to cast Bush’s faith-based initiative into a lake of fire, but, quite the contrary, would embrace it. This elicited expressions of horror from Hillary advocates in the crowd, as if I had just said that a Hillary presidency would resume the Bush practice of drowning witches in the Potomac.

Well, it turns out that Hillary will not get that chance. Lo and behold, however, Barack Obama promises the same—and then some. On Tuesday, Obama not only commended Bush’s pet project but said he would enlarge it; in fact, it would form the “moral center” of his presidency.

Liberals are stunned—they thought Obama was smart, like them. Surely he understands that the words “separation of church and state”—no doubt the first words in the Constitution—banish all expressions of faith from the Oval Office? They cannot comprehend that Obama likes Bush’s program.

Their problem is that they are so dripping with poisonous hatred for George W. Bush that they remain incapable of honestly assessing him and his policies. If Bush is for it, they’re against it.

So, once again victimized by their emotions, they are left to contradict themselves as their beloved presidential nominee endorses Bush’s crowning theocratic initiative—the one they claimed morphed the 43rd president into an American Ayatollah.

And don’t expect liberals in the mainstream press to attack Obama. Rather, expect them to continue to suddenly get that old-time religion, to further satiate their newfound fascination with faith. Their Saul-on-the-Road-to-Damascus conversion continues. Unlike the treatment of George W. Bush, there will be no scourging of Obama. He is the anointed one, and he can talk about God and integrate church and state all he wants. It is truly a new day for faith and politics in America.