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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Monday, March 03, 2003


Bush's faith
Bush's use of religious language is one of the things that the aforementioned professor takes issue with--though she herself is a steadfast Christian. Ted Olsen, at the all-too-often overlooked (by me, at least) Christianity Today Weblog, has a downright marvelous synthesizing of the recent reactions to it, led by Newsweek's cover story. One of the highlights is his own synopsis his own summary of them:
Gee, Bush sure is using a lot of religious imagery and language these days. Yep. A whole lot of it, too. A bunch of experts (mainly liberals like the head of the Interfaith Alliance, which was created to counteract the Christian Coalition, and Princeton University's Elaine Pagels) are worried about it, saying it "demonizes" opponents. After all, you know, we can't say that God is on our side. But conservative evangelicals like the language and will repay him with votes. But it scares potential allies overseas, and American enemies (oops, there's that dangerous "us and them" language) can use it to say Bush is on a "crusade" and stir up more anti-American foment. Besides, who's to say God's on our side, anyway?

Also included is this quote from Ari Fleischer, which sums up my reading of the situation:
"The president speaks as he speaks because he believes as he believes."

...and some interesting thoughts in the Oregonian from Rich Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Presidents aren't theologians, he says, "but they have every right to use theological language. Why? Because in our form of government, they're not just the head of [their] party but the head of the state. In that role, it's a president's job to be national healer and consoler. . . . To describe Saddam Hussein as evil—what some theologians have objected to—in my estimation, is entirely appropriate. It sets off [Bush's] opponents[, who believe that] evil is a result of the failure of social institutions or the result of human ignorance but rarely that of the depravity of the human heart. Yet that is exactly what is the case with Saddam Hussein."

The annoying thing about all of this to me is that, while many in Europe and on the left the Left complain loudly about this sort of religious talk (the professor did not have the same objections, but she feels that it is a piece of an overall failing of Bush's diplomacy), they are the ones who are constantly berating the US and the Right for not being more sensitive to the culture of others. Can't they just chalk the religious references in Bush's speeches up to a quirk in American culture? Of course, it's much, much more than that (see Fleischer's comment above) but I don't expect them to accept that any time soon.
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