'Why Would The Anti-Christ Write Chorus Line?'

Is Bush as religious as he claims? These, and other questions addressed by liberal comedian-activist Al Franken

Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman interviewed Al Franken about his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and about his own spirituality. Excerpts from the interview, which was first published on Beliefnet in 2003:

The first line of the book is, “God chose me to write this book.” Now why would He go and do a thing like that?

Because He’s pissed off at Bush, whose friends have been going around saying he felt he was chosen at this time to lead the nation, presumably by God. God

actually

chose Al Gore, and got him the popular and electoral vote, which is usually sufficient.



So God asked me to write the book.



What do you make of the use of religious language by President Bush?

Sometimes it’s ok and appropriate for a president to use God. I probably wouldn’t if I were president. He wears his religion on his sleeve and yet this is the least Christian administration I can think of, in terms of Christ certainly as I understand it.

How so?

Well, he seems to have very little regard for the poor and the meek…

There’d been this article about Bush & God in Newsweek. It describes this Bible group that Don Evans [Bush’s Commerce Secretary and longtime friend] got Bush into when he stopped drinking. [Newsweek writer Howard] Fineman describes it as scriptural boot camp. Ten guys and each week they’d study a chapter of a book over two years and analyze them line by line. Over two years, they read Luke and Acts.

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So I was at the White House Correspondents dinner and found myself seated at the table next to Don Evans. I was all set to ask about the tax cut. And I said, “So you know what Acts is about?”

And I saw sort of this blank thing go over his eyes and then sort of a quick look of panic and he said, “No.” And I was absolutely shocked. And I said, “Well your tax cut so heavily favors the rich, and Acts is so socialist almost.”

And he said, “But, ah! Acts contains the Parable of the Talents.” Now just as it so happens, I knew that actually wasn’t true. I knew the parable of talents was from Matthew. And he said, “Are you sure?” And I said, “Yeah.” It was just a complete fluke that I knew that. My son the year before had been assigned some New Testament reading in high schools as part of a civilization class and talents was part of what he was assigned.

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