J Walking

J Walking

Squirming through “60”

A month ago, the “60 Minutes” crew came to our house and took over four full rooms with cameras, lights, monitors, microphones, and people. I talked with Lesley Stahl for almost four straight hours. We talked about virtually everything, including the night I had a massive seizure while driving my car down a winding, twisting parkway in DC, then finding out that the proximate cause for that seizure was an egg-size tumor in my brain. Were it not for that night and the surgery and recovery that followed, I wouldn’t have ever written a book.

But that experience taught me that we do not number our days. James puts it well when he says that there is arrogance in saying what we will do in the future – that we are vapors. That was the birth of Tempting Faith. It is, more than anything, a spiritual book. It is a book about my journey with Jesus through dark times – being part of an abortion, part of a divorce, hating my political “opponents.” But it is also about my journey with Jesus through his infusion of life – finding forgiveness, finding love, celebrating life.


Ultimately it is my conviction that Jesus must (must!) be first that led to the book and to my willingness to sit down with “60 Minutes” – and, worse, to have to watch myself on television tonight.

Maybe it is different for others on TV, but for me there was just the overwhelming sense that I was being forced to watch a home movie of myself – with the added bonus of knowing that it was also being seen by millions of other people.

But therein lies my little hope, too – that people who think of Jesus only in a Republican way left thinking that maybe there is more to him than that… and that those who love Jesus were reminded that putting him first is always a good thing.

Good night. Next: Good Morning America at 7:30 a.m.

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posted October 16, 2006 at 5:12 am

I just want to say that first of all, I hope you are well and healing from your ordeal! And thanks for giving voice to truth. If this government cared at all about the poor, it would show. And it does not. However, good people of conscience and integrity, who can admit mistakes and learn from them, do exist, as you demonstrate, and our beloved country needs such examples of strength and compassion more than ever, for the sake of our children and the world. thank you.

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posted October 16, 2006 at 5:50 am

I thought you did a fantastic job tonight; you appeared to me to be sincere and genuine. 60 Minutes is a tough gig! I no longer identify as a Christian, but I remember enough of Jesus’s teachings to welcome hearing someone who lives their faith and doesn’t use it to hurt or judge others. I hope your prognosis is positive. Many good wishes in the weeks ahead.

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r nato

posted October 16, 2006 at 7:12 am

David…. first of all I have to say (and likely far from the first to do so) that a lot of us out here thought the GOP was just using the religious right from the get-go. Ronald Reagan used them too, actually… but apparently he wasn’t willing to pander to them as shamelessly as the W administration has. Secondly, while the Faith-Based Initiatives, um, initiative was just propaganda to get votes and resulted in little real money devoted to such programs, the Bush regime has done real damage to this country elsewhere with their pandering to Christian conservatives. There are two new Supreme Court justices who almost certainly will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade when they get the chance. Those justices were put there primarily because they are anti-choice and because the religious right demanded such justices. If you don’t agree with the pro-choice view and you consider the overturning of that precedent to be a good thing, then consider the other cases these justices will rule upon. Cases involving our most basic Constitutional freedoms. Cases involving whether the president has near-dictatorial powers whenever he says the magic word ‘war’. This administration has stoked the fires of homosexual hatred to win votes. The GOP pushes anti gay marriage ballot propositions in order to turn out the religious right ‘base’. At a time when the government is short of competent Arabic language translators, they are routing out Arabic translators who are gay… at last count, 55 of them! This is particularly hypocritical considering that Ken Mehlman is gay, that Karl Rove’s father was gay, that there are gay GOP staffers all over DC, and that a gay hooker using the pseudonym Jeff Gannon entered the White House literally hundreds of times… often staying overnight. (Curiously, no one has ever gotten to the, er, bottom of what that was all about) In their zeal to please fundamentalists, the White House has withheld family planning funding from a UN agency. The WH pushes abstinence only programs in our schools, in place of real and useful sex education programs which could include abstinence. Abstinence-only programs have been shown time and again to be dismal failures. I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point… Christian conservatives may not have gotten that pot of $8 billion but to say the WH has done nothing for them is completely wrong. Third and finally, thank you for speaking up. It’s a sure bet you will be ‘swift-boated’ like so many other Bush critics have been. I just wish that we hadn’t had to go through the last six years to learn what many of us knew back in 2000… Bush is a liar, a fraud, incompetent, and completely unqualified to lead this nation.

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David P Winters

posted October 16, 2006 at 7:37 am

Greetings in our Creator, Your thoughts are encouraging! I am an assistant advocate to national special needs advocate David Beem. Recently when a blind deaf mute mother with her baby were found abandoned on our Salem streets no would help her! Many special needs people are NOT able to read or write more than own name. In fact where can “handicapped” people flee from domestic violence, life threatening neglect, abuse and homelessness to be safe and a place to be until they get help? This is why David Beem has been advocating self-sufficient special needs emergency crisis center that are consumer/survivor/ex-patient run operated and owned. David Beem has requested funding from the white house, but has heard nothing. Is there a way we can inform you more fully? DPW

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r nato

posted October 16, 2006 at 7:38 am

another thought… pardon the pun but there’s a great big elephant in the room here. I know you have a book to sell so you are sticking to your message of how the Bush administration has cynically used Christian conservatives… but what about the war in Iraq? It’s such a fundamental issue that I’m not sure any sincere Christian could remain silent about that. Some say that Jesus was ‘the Prince of Peace’ and that no true Christian would wage a war which appears to many of us to be a war of choice, a war sold to us on the basis of lies, a war which has killed hundreds of thousands of innocents and bred a hatred and distrust between Christians and Muslims which will take decades to repair. Other say Jesus said he would come with a sword so it’s not ‘out of character’ for a Christian to be war-like when necessary. And if you think I’m making this up, Sandy Rios is one prominent, politically active Christian I can name who is completely able to reconcile Christian belief with the current war. I am sure there are many others at Eagle Forum and Focus on the Family who would concur. Beyond the war, what about torture? Just before the Foley scandal broke, Congress had given Bush the power to torture terrorism suspects. We have solid proof that innocent people have in fact been jailed and tortured in Bush’s War on Terror. I don’t know how any good Christian could remain silent on these topics. When you are done with your book promotion tour I hope you will speak up about the war and the use of torture.

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r nato

posted October 16, 2006 at 8:02 am

I meant to add, Jesus himself was a victim of torture.

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posted October 16, 2006 at 8:35 am

David, Thank you for having the courage to speak up and face the possibility of losing friends and allies just because you told the truth. Also, thank you for sharing your experience with the brain tumor and how God has used it to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.It’s amazing to me that Christians who have read the Gospels still believe that political power is the way to change our “world”. Over and over, Jesus goes out of his way to say that status in His Kingdom is based not on power, but on service. In the 4 Gospels, he doesn’t mention any of the current “values issues” that are considered today to be a litmus test for poltical candidates. If there is such thing as a modern day litmus test, check out Matthew 25: 31-46.I haven’t read the book yet, but plan to do so soon. My hope is that many of my Christian friends will also read it and allow the scales to fall from their eyes.J

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posted October 16, 2006 at 2:02 pm

David, Thank you for having the courage to speak up. I’m weary of the game playing and you seemed very sincere, which was refreshing. I wish you good health.

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posted October 16, 2006 at 3:12 pm

Hello thanks for such a wonderful book. I am saddened that this administration has used good people to nefarious ends. It was telling that not one of the panthlets at that convention talked about the poor… What have we become as a nation? We have truly lost our way. All the best healing Jennifer

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posted October 16, 2006 at 3:29 pm

David, One of our former classmates informed me that you were on 60 minutes last night, making it a little easier to track you down. Congrats on the career, the 60 minutes segment, the book and most importantly, the family. Hoping to see you at the reunion in December. All the best, Craig

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Anna Makena

posted October 16, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Dear David: Thank you for such a thought-provoking and brave book. I am interested if you have any insight or thoughts in the role of the White House in the defunding of the United Nations Population Fund. Regards, Anna M

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Jack Buttram

posted October 16, 2006 at 6:26 pm

David — I saw most of your bit on 60 minutes last night… I’ve also visited your web site — but of course have not read your book.Also I have a son (one of three) who has survived a brain tumor and several bouts with skin cancer (melanoma) thus far. I also have had cancer (prostate) and have been a member of the White House staff (Nixon Admn) as well as worked for several Senators.All that to say: I cannot abide disloyalty or betrayal. If you found you disagreed with those who employed you, the only honorable — *and* Christian i.e. honest — thing to do was to face it — and them, and resign. Not stick around and see how many opportunities you could find to reward their trust by stabbing them in the back.I’m sorry. I have nothing but contempt for your stand and rushing about to join the President’s enemies as you seek economic gain from your disloyalty. You win this month’s prize and a free membership in the David Gergan school of unethical politics. Jack Buttram Rutherfordton NC

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MK Radnich

posted October 16, 2006 at 6:32 pm

David, Thank you for your courage and faith. I have been saying the same thing since before the 04 election I spent many hours researching neo-con politics and W.’s administration and concluded that it was a bunch of hooey. Leo Strauss is the influence behind the idea of using religion – any religion – to keep the ruling class in power. It has been adopted by the neo-cons and so, we have the current admin.Its a mess. blessings to you.

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Drew M.

posted October 16, 2006 at 6:55 pm

Hello David; I saw your interview on 60 Minutes and read an article on your book from the BBC. It is easy to edit and slant news reports to evoke emotion and to further a political agenda.I sought to look at the character of the man behind the book, and to discern truth and relevence beyond what was cryptically presented. We need to analyze the content and the content of the charactor of those involved. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ David Kuo article on the “Faith Based Initiative” “served in the White House for two-and-a-half years as a Special Assistant to the president and eventually as Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative. I have deep respect, appreciation, and affection for the president. No one who knows him even a tiny bit doubts the sincerity and compassion of his heart. Likewise, the people around the president are good and caring people. I know this firsthand because I experienced it during a health crisis in my own life when their kindness was evident. That is why writing this is difficult.” “The moment the president announced the faith-based effort, Democratic opposition was frenzied. Hackneyed church-state scare rhetoric made the rounds; this was “radical” and “dangerous” and merely an “attempt to fund Bob Jones University.” One Democratic African-American congressman came to the White House to back the president but was threatened by influential liberal groups that they would withhold funding if he didn’t denounce the President. The next day he was forced to retract his statement.At the end of the day, both parties played to stereotype — Republicans were indifferent to the poor and the Democrats were allergic to faith. In December 2001, for instance, Sen. Daschle approached the Domestic Policy Council with an offer to pass a charity relief bill that contained many of the president’s campaign tax incentive policies plus new money for the widely-popular and faith-based-friendly Social Services Block Grant. The White House legislative affairs office rolled their eyes while others on senior staff yawned. We had to leave the offer on the table” “Secular liberal advocacy and interest groups attacked every little thing the faith initiative did.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Millions were stripped from the Faith Based Initiative, which would have made a tremendous difference. Compassion in dollars and cents does not carry a high profile for power-brokers. Washington too often carries all of the attributes of an over-loaded sewar system. It is in need of a powerful flushing. For myself I want to analyze a cross-section of material, and if at all possible the very words of the source, rather than words about the words of the source. After a cursory analysis I believe that David Kuo is a Brother in Christ, and that his words ring true.I also have some reticence in regards to the BBC article and the 60 Minutes report, as they can be manipulated to solicit an emotional response. Sincerely; Drew M. Council Grove, Kansas

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posted October 16, 2006 at 10:09 pm

As a former fundamentalist Christian, I have to say “it’s about time.”This story is personal to me because – on a smaller scale – it represents something tragic that happened within my own family: A family once-engaged in an active faith of saying little and doing much; that was transformed into a fundamentalist, doctrinaire, legalistic faith of saying much, believing “rightly,” and voting GOP. My mother went to her grave wondering why none of the fundamentalist Christian ministers was interested in helping her engage in the kind of community outreach she was involved with as a member of the (“liberal”) Presbyterian Church. Helping the poor and impoverished wasn’t important. Outlawing abortion and homosexuality was. It is my opinion that the message in Matthew 7:21-23; and Mat 25:41-46 are intended for the likes of James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. These men are vipers and hypocrites modern-day Pharisees more interested in the letter of the law; and exercising power and control over others. Emulating the life of Jesus is simply not part of their faith. Newsflash: Jesus’ message – one that is shared across time – does not need clever wordsmiths or hellfire preachers. All that is needed is living by example. Actions will always speak louder than words. Scripture-quoting counts for nothing if you do not feed the hungry, cloth the naked and give shelter to the homeless. As a humanist, I would be happy to see religion become more engaged in the affairs of humanity rather than preparing themselves (and others) for death. We need more minds focused on stewardship of our planet, dealing with disease, poverty, hunger, etc., promoting peace over war, giving voice to the voiceless. There is much to do. Whether someone’s humanism is animated by religion or secularism is irrelevant.

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posted October 16, 2006 at 11:01 pm

Mr. Kuo: I would have assumed from your resume and how you’ve been billed in the press that my politics probably don’t mesh with yours, but it’s hard to tell that from actually reading some of the things you’ve written in your blog. I imagine those waters would be even further muddied by actually reading your book — which is something your critics might want to try, if they can survive past the soundbytes. I did not happen to see you on 60 Minutes last night, but I have caught some of the buzz about your book and saw you only moments ago on Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” (there’s a situation! really! it’s in the room, that room there!!). Even if I can’t say much of anything about your politics, and though I can’t say I share your admirable devotion and faith, you have my most profound respect. I wanted to pluck out Wolf’s ridiculous stubbly-beard every time he interrupted you and tried to cow you into giving him the fodder of controversy that he so desperately needs to keep his numbers up.I will confess somewhat ashamedly that I have taken a perverse kind of glee from all the troubles that Republicans have been having in the run-up to the election. I had, until this morning, counted your book among those petty joys. Now, after having seen you speak on your work for only a few moments (when Wolf let you), you’ve given me food for thought, and maybe I owe you something resembling an apology (even if you were ignorant to the offense). I do wish more politicians, or people who work in government, whatever their faith, were just a little more like you. The poise you project through even as cynical a message as you came to deliver was inspiring; divest the messenger of his particular affiliation and you might apply that message to almost any constituency group in this country, on both sides of the aisle. As you (attempted to) say, it’s something not just for Christians to muse at; it’s a sobering wake up call to all groups in this country who are relied upon as core constituencies. Wouldn’t it be great if they all would take your message and maybe take a step back from politics for a while? If only.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

posted October 17, 2006 at 3:14 am

Pander is the right term to use. I have asked myself many a night, how does George W. Bush sleep giving all the hell he’s put everyone else through?

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posted October 17, 2006 at 5:06 am

Ditto Jack Buttram. Judas. May your pockets be fuller than your conscience apparently is.

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r nato

posted October 17, 2006 at 5:10 am

reading Jack Buttram’s comment above, it’s clear where his loyalties lie: 1) GOP 2) USA 3) Jesus

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posted October 17, 2006 at 5:29 am

organshoes and Jack Buttram – You are exactly the kind of people David was speaking out against. Jack, you really hit the nail on the head. “Disloyalty” to Bush is your concern, not the betrayal of Christian values. It’s obvious that David’s loyalty is to God, not to the false Christian, Bush. I hope you both will search your souls, for you are sorely misguided.

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Dave Sommers

posted October 19, 2006 at 2:32 pm

Mr. Kuo: By your logic, if God is not 100-percent happy with what is going on with His followers here on earth, then he should simply abandon them for …. let’s say, two years, just to teach them a lesson. No. I don’t think so, Mr. Kuo. Especially not if the end result of that ‘abandonment’ is to hand this country over to people who seemingly want to rip any mention of God out of the fabric of public life. One can only hope you would rethink your childish quest to teach us all a lesson. DS

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Felix Taylor, Jr.

posted February 19, 2007 at 6:06 am

I know it’s late in the game but I did see you on 60 Minutes (repeat episode) this past evening. Very good stuff! God be with you in every step of the way!

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