Texas Gov. George W. Bush is a devout and sincere follower of JesusChrist, and the Republican presidential candidate is not using his faithto get votes, Bishop T.D. Jakes told a national TV audience this week.Jakes, who pastors The Potter's House in Dallas, shared his insightson Bush during a panel discussion about the presidential race on "LarryKing Live" on CNN, July 24. Jakes said he is nonpartisan so that he can"minister to both sides of the bird."King questioned Jakes on the nature of Bush's faith, to which Jakesresponded: "As best I can tell, he seems to take his faith veryseriously. He did so before he ever began to pursue the presidency. It's no secret that down through the years he has ascribed to some element in variousdegrees of faith."Jakes said he first met Bush after repentant murderer Carla FayeTucker was executed in Texas. Jakes lunched with Bush and spent several hoursdiscussing Bush's decision to allow Tucker to be executed. Jakes opposedthat decision. Bush has since visited The Potter's House andparticipated in the ministry's dedication of 400 acres of land in Dallas."We've encountered each other on several occasions," Jakes said. "Oneof the things that I noticed about him is he's been very transparent. Hetends to be outgoing and transparent, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort ofperson."He has been very open, not only about his positives but about hisnegatives," Jakes said. "And I don't think that he's using the Christiancliché to win both. Having interacted with Gov.
Bush personally, I foundhim to be a very believable, straightforward person."Jakes also said he has met Al Gore and is impressed with him, as well."I think the two men are very, very different," he said withoutelaborating. Jakes said he's pleased that both Gore and Bush are at least vocally supportive of more government partnerships with faith-basedorganizations to bring healing to inner cities or neglected communities."Both of them are using that kind of rhetoric," Jakes said. "It'sgoing to be interesting in the days to come to see how much of that rhetoricbecomes reality."Jakes bristled at King's inquiry as to whether he considered himself amember of the religious right. King: "Do you consider yourself part ofthe religious right?"Jakes: "I certainly do not. I have tried to remain nonpartisan. And Ithink it's very stereotypical to think that all Christians are religiousright or left. There are many of us who have chosen to remainnonpartisan and chosen it as an opportunity to minister to both sides of the bird and to care about the whole country at large."King: "So you're endorsing no candidate this year?"Jakes: "I'm not saying I'm not endorsing a candidate. I'm saying thatI want to remain nonpartisan in my ability as a minister. Personally,certainly, we have our preference. But I don't think the pulpit ought tobe used to hurl preferences toward people."