Ron Suskind writes in The New York Times Magazine about Bush’s “faith-based” presidency.
While the article runs on the anti-Bush side — Suskind isn’t coy about what he thinks of “Bush’s faith” vs. the world of reason and picks and chooses the worst quotes, as most folks do when they are trying to prove a point — it brings up an interesting point: Is faith without doubt good for a fallible human being? Even — or perhaps especially — as a person who respects faith as much as I do, and who has and probably always will be a Baptist at heart, the idea of having certainty that your words are the voice of God bothers me a great deal.
However, as an American who is used to living in a country with checks and balances that tend to damp down our tendencies toward theocracy, I think what bothered me even more in this article was the idea that Bush talks in his “faithful” way to evangelical audiences and tones it all down in the swing states, where he might upset one of the undecideds. Apparently, for our President, the voice of God speaks loudest in situations where it can get you elected, and hushes up when it might offend. It’s good to know that our President’s belief in God is so convenient to his reelection, and that folks who should be most angered by his pragmatic appropriation of their beliefs may be out voting for him as a bloc come November.
Courtesy of The New York Times (free registration required)
Update: The Revealer has an interesting take on the difference between Bush’s version of faith and the more fundamentalist views. Of course, the President is not alone. The “magical realism” he describes is a old, venerated strain of religion in this country, and probably describes the beliefs and practice of as many evangelicals as New Agers.
Update link courtesy of William Gibson’s Blog
Update, Part 2: Al Gore’s take on the issue. (You know, I wonder what the world would have been like if Al could have won his own home state, or even perennially Democratic West Virginia?)
Update, Part 2 link courtesy of electablog