As the debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaked across
the clear blue sky, Americans, Indians and Israelis wept for the deaths of
the seven intrepid souls aboard. Millions waited for someone to put their
grief into words, to explain the heroism of the dead, and to help them cope
with the deaths of Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, David
Brown, William McCool, Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon.
And as he has done so many times during his administration,
President George W. Bush stepped to the microphone and comforted the world.
"In the skies today, we saw destruction and tragedy," Bush said. "In the
words of the prophet Isaiah, 'Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who
created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls
them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one
of them is missing.' The same Creator who names the stars also knows the
names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia
did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home."
Of all the powerful speeches Bush has delivered, none surpassed
this. The simple faith that God is in control of the universe, that no one
can fully comprehend His will, and that we trust in His judgment has been a
hallmark of the Bush administration. It is this humility in the face of
monumental grief and difficult situations that makes me thank God that
George W. Bush is the president of the United States.
Far-left opponents of President Bush are theophobic, afraid that
a leader who relies on God will be extreme. They point to Islamic fanatics
like Osama Bin Laden as examples of deeply religious men who appeal to their
religion to justify terrorism and murder. They say that there is no
difference between the way President Bush appeals to God and the way the
Iraqi government calls the Columbia tragedy "God's revenge." They complain
that President Bush's constant statements about God cannot be differentiated
from those of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, who called the astronauts "thugs of
space" and a "trinity of evil" whose deaths were a "divine act."
If you believe that all beliefs deserve equal respect, then this
is a fair question. If all individuals can appeal to God for any position
they take, what difference does it make who it is making the appeal? Osama
Bin Laden and George W. Bush would both have an equal claim on knowledge of
The only answer is that not all beliefs are correct -- or even
acceptable. God's morality cannot include joy over the deaths of research
astronauts. God's morality cannot allow terrorists to fly planes full of
people into buildings. God's morality cannot include strapping bombs to your
chest and detonating in a pizzeria. The atheist or agnostic would argue that
any morality is subjective. Who is to say what is right or what is wrong?
Logic is the only way to find capital-T Truth.
But logic, too, can be twisted. Some people make the following
argument: If America armed Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, we have
no right to attack him. America armed Saddam Hussein during that war;
therefore, we have no right to attack him. This is a perfectly logical
argument. But it's insane.
If logic holds no objective truth, then perhaps science does. No
one can reasonably argue that the molecular formula for water is not H2O.
But what can science say about moral questions? Biology has nothing to tell
us about whether we should go to war with Iraq, or cut taxes, or even rape.
With logic and science unable to offer any objective answers to
moral questions, we must turn back to God. Men may argue amongst themselves
about what is right and what is wrong. How do we live a moral life? The only
source of an objective morality must be a Being that knows all and is
all-powerful; the Creator of the universe can be the only source for
objective morality. His Word is the guidebook for our lives. In practical
terms, there are certain principles upon which all major religions agree.
These can be the basic roadmap for a moral society.
George W. Bush recognizes a Truth higher than anything that can
be hammered out at a negotiating table at the United Nations. That is why I
thank God daily that he is the leader of the free world.