Posted by Wordsmith on 4 January, 2007 at 5:45 am. 1 comment.


Two Christmases ago, I wrote the following:

What our President Said on December 24th….

 …in a radio address to our troops:

“Here, at home, we will celebrate this Christmas Day in our traditional American way because of its deep spiritual meaning to us; because the teachings of Christ are fundamental in our lives; and because we want our youngest generation to grow up knowing the significance of this tradition and the story of the coming of the immortal Prince of Peace and Good Will.”

My question to you is: Was the President of the United States out of line by including such a blatant invocation of God and religion into his address? Did he somehow "offend" those non-religious, American souls? Was he being exclusive? Was he in violation of the establishment clause in the First Amendment?

[…] the above address was delivered by the President…

….in 1944! You see, President Bush never said these words. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did, 60 years ago in a radio address to the troops serving in WWII.

Read more…

This ruse was taken from Michael Medved’s radio program in 2004. My point (and Mr. Medved’s) was that President Bush is in the mainstream when it comes to religious expression of a U.S. president.  The fact of the matter is that Presidents throughout our entire history have referenced the Creator.  Their speeches and addresses are speckled with the Name of the Almighty.

 I do believe President Bush is a devout Methodist. But he is not the "Christian crazy" that the secularist left and the kool-aid drinkers in the media press have made him out to be. They have successfully duped many into the notion that President Bush and his Administration is turning America into a theocracy of sorts; that there is some sort of diabolical "rise of the religious right", taking us into a crusade against the Muslims, when this President has done more (much to the consternation of many conservatives) to be welcoming toward Muslims and those of all religious faiths than any other president I can recall.

The myth that President Bush is a religious nutcase comes from taking a few statements of his, spinning the context, then creating the caricature. It is the same media perception that has created the image of Bush is stupid, Bush is dyslexic, Bush is a chimpanzee, etc.

In the original post, I went on to compare former President Clinton’s public references to God to President Bush’s.

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt interviewed Jon Meachum. I only caught a portion of it; but it must have been the important portion, because Hewitt excerpted it here:

HH: Now Jon Meacham, do you think the reason that’s been forgotten is that it was little noticed at the time, so unexceptional was the language, or that simply it was obscured by the brouhaha? I think it’s the former, really, that only in recent times has the nerve ending begun to tingle, collectively, when presidents use God talk. I think it was very common up through Ford’s presidency. Your thinking on that?

JM: I agree with you mostly, I think. I think it’s been from…I think Carter did it, I think Reagan did it, George Herbert Walker Bush opened his inaugural address in 1989 with a prayer. Didn’t close it, didn’t just say God Bless America, he said let us bow our heads in prayer. And because he was an Episcopalian, and I sometimes joke, perhaps badly, that George H.W. Bush thinks of being born again as a mulligan on a golf course. You know, he’s not intensely interested in these matters. And Clinton…you know, the best speech Bill Clinton ever gave was that extemporaneous talk in Memphis in 1993, when he talked about what would Martin Luther King say about black America today if he came back, did it in a Church to a group…I think it was a gathering of AME bishops. So I think President Bush the second, I think the 43rd president, is completely within the mainstream of presidential religious expression, and I think people who attack him, and say he’s overly religious, or too much God talk, I think are wrong.

HH: Now you do have the line in here, which I agree with, it’s a very sound observation, that such an understanding, such as Ford had, naturally has hardly been unanimous, and many Americans are reasonably uncomfortable with the idea that our leaders think they are either communing with the Divine, or carrying out God’s mission. Do you think Bush has given off more indications of that? Or is that simply being layered on to him by political opponents?

JM: I think the latter. I really do. I have asked people who have been in conversations where he might have said something like ‘I feel God put me here’, or ‘I feel ordained for this’, and no one’s ever said they’ve heard him say it. So I think there’s a kind of urban legend about Bush feeling…at least being explicit about being God’s agent. Now he did say to Bob Woodward that he would not appeal to his own father in terms of strength, but to a higher Father. I actually think that’s more about paging Dr. Phil about a very odd family dynamic within the Bush clan, than it is about George Bush wandering the Rose Garden, thinking God is telling them what to do. That’s my personal view.

HH: Whenever anyone tells President Bush that they’re praying for him, he always says thank you, I appreciate that. He refers to it a lot. I think he’s sincere when he says that.

JM: I’m not saying he’s not sincere. I’m saying that his opponents who think that he is some kind of religious nut, who’s on a holy mission, are wrong. I think President Bush is completely serious about his faith. I have no reason to doubt that whatever. And in fact, one of the most moving notes I ever got was I had asked President Bush 41 for an interview right after September 11th, about the coming crisis, and the crisis we were in. And he wrote me a very kind note saying that he wouldn’t do it. And the last line was please say a prayer for our beloved son, the President. And it was…I got it maybe on the Tuesday or Wednesday after the attacks, and it just grabbed my guts in a way, because you realized at once that these are human beings who are fathers and sons, who are believers, who do have moments of doubt and moments of great faith, and they have the destinies of nations in their hands. And I think that in the American experience, we have done very well at striking a balance between our sense that we are on a journey, in an Augustinian sense, a national journey, in Jefferson’s phrase, as Israel of old, heading toward something, you know, whereas Ford once said, and Reagan used to always say, we never become, we’re always in the act of becoming. Well, that’s a theological idea, and I think it’s effused the presidency from the very beginning.

The entire transcript here. Listen to the program here. I believe that the movement of our country toward an intolerance of any form of religious expression in government (and even in the public arena in general) is as wrong as any movement toward the establishment of a "Christian caliphate". It is misguided and deeply harmful to extract and "throw away" a part of our identity: that of a secular government with a rich tradition of values founded upon what is referred to as our "Judeo-Christian" heritage. We should remain the most religiously tolerant and the most religiously diverse nation in the world by embracing the values that made this possible: values that stem from our Judeo-Christian culture.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x