'The Faith of George W. Bush'
BY: Stephen Mansfield
At the foundation of their friendship is faith. Blair was raised by an atheist father and a mother who went to church only occasionally. At Oxford, he became a Christian of the long-haired, guitar-playing variety and later joined the Christian Socialist movement then spreading through Europe. He pioneered his New Labor movement on a foundation of faith, distinguishing it from Old Labor, which was notoriously atheistic.
Still, he was careful about wrapping politics in religious garb. "I can't stand politicians who wear God on their sleeves," he wrote in 1996. "I do not pretend to be any better or less selfish than anyone else; I do not believe that Christians should only vote Labor." He also described prayer as "a source of solace," the Gospels as "a most extraordinary expression of sensitive human values," and Jesus as a "modernizer."
And George W. Bush, the conservative millionaire businessman, is the friend of this ex-hippie Labor leader. They have shared Scripture together, prayed together, and discussed the morality of policy on walks at Camp David. Clearly, faith trumps politics in this relationship.
So, which of the Bush-types is this?
And then: In 1994, while campaigning for governor, Bush expressed his support for a sodomy law that criminalized homosexuality. He called it "a symbolic gesture of traditional values."
It should be said, too, that his conservative Christianity brands homosexual conduct a sin, and his philosophy of culture regards it as destructive of a healthy society.
Yet, on April 9, 2001, just months after taking office, Bush appointed an openly gay man, Scott H. Evertz, as director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. Later, he appointed another homosexual man, Michael Guest, as U.S. ambassador to Romania.
On what shelf do we put this version of the president?