Bush?s Faith Reflects Society?s Beliefs

Posted: Feb 01, 2005 12:00 AM
Faith has long been an integral part of the president?s life. A strong belief in God helped Bush to let go of a drinking problem in his youth and move toward an absolute moral reference point. "Christ?changed my heart," admitted Bush during a 1999 presidential debate.

Bush also makes no bones about his belief that religion and spirituality are integral parts of America?s public life. Often, his speeches are studded with the terms ?good?, ?evil,? and ?God?s will.? This was especially true of his 2005 Inaugural Address. At varying points, he suggested that our inalienable human rights derive from our relationship with our ?maker? and referred to God as ?the author of liberty.? Moving beyond the language of containment, Bush?s inaugural address displayed a clear intent to use foreign policy as an engine of social and religious liberty throughout the world. With religious zeal, he tells us that freedom is God?s will, and ?the calling of our time."

Relativists quiver at the idea of a spiritual revivalist being backed up by the 82nd Airborne. As Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League put it: ?When [Bush prays] as a private person practicing his own faith, God bless, but when it becomes part of the official function of the president, then that's something that is inappropriate."

But is it really so preposterous for a democratically elected politician?a person who represents the will of the public? to discuss his personal convictions? 90% of Americans believe in God. Is it so inappropriate that they should elect a leader who shares this fundamental belief? Is it so surprising that a person, who must operate under the constant constraints of making life or death decisions, should look to his faith to help arbitrate his life? On a more basic level, is it such a terrible indiscretion to admit that religion remains a force in American society? The relativists certainly seem to think so. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State warns that "[Bush is] treading dangerously close to breaching the idea that this is a secular country." Think Lynn ever noticed that they sing ?God Bless America? prior to the Inaugural address?

Personally, I?m quite pleased that Bush continues to push faith into the political mainstream. We need to create more forums where candidates are more comfortable discussing their faith in God. After all, opinion polls consistently show that Americans say that faith is very important in their lives. How can a responsible leader ignore this fact? Our politicians must discuss faith in order to understand and adequately represent their public.

As for the relativist?s unkind snorts and snickers, I seriously doubt that America?s 200-year-old history of pragmatic and fair governance is going to be threatened by the fact that our president is comfortable discussing his belief in God. But just in case someone wants proof: nine days after the September 11 attacks, Bush declared to Congress ?freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.?

Contrary to assertions by the relativists, our governance did not collapse in a downward spiral. Our elected representatives thought about the statement for a moment, and then applauded furiously. In the four years since, America has helped spread God?s gift of liberty to the world.