Why do you suppose President Bush gets so much flak for his faith and John Kerry is applauded for his professions of faith — by the very same people? Could it be that the faith-allergic fear that President Bush is actually sincere about his faith?
As I recall, while President Bush made no secret during the debates of his reliance on God, it was not him, but John Kerry who was citing Scripture — or trying to. And it was Kerry who said, “My faith affects everything that I do, in truth.”
Yet mainstream media secularists continue to depict President Bush, not Senator Kerry, as some fire-breathing colonial Puritan whose rigid faith is both an enemy to reason — even reality — and to the nation itself.
And though the media’s persistent dogging of President Bush’s faith is part of the anti-Christian phenomenon I describe in my book Persecution, the paperback of which has now hit the stands, there is something more at work here.
There is a method, beyond Christian-bashing, to this pragmatic secular media madness. They don’t just want to paint George Bush as an intolerant Christian bigot, but as a person whose worldview blinds him to facts, reason and reality. This explains why he attacked Iraq, irrespective of the “facts” about WMD.
Ron Suskind, in a marathon piece for the New York Times Magazine, profiles the president as a close-minded, simplistic dogmatist who believes he’s on a mission from God. Bush’s faith also impels him to demand blind obedience from his advisers, shutting out facts or advice he doesn’t want to hear or that doesn’t comport with his faith.
“Once he makes a decision — often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position,” says Suskind, “he expects complete faith in its rightness.”
Suskind insinuates that if a person heavily relies on God, he will ignore the “facts on the ground.” That is, faith and reason, faith and facts, faith and reality, are all mutually exclusive. He quotes one person as saying, “But when it gets complex, he seems to turn to prayer or God rather than digging in and thinking things through.”
And Suskind tells of a conversation he had in 2002 with longtime Bush adviser Mark McKinnon. McKinnon reportedly told Suskind he wasn’t worried about “intellectuals” who think Bush is “an idiot,” because there are more people in fly-over country who do like him and “don’t like you” — meaning the elitist types.
From this, Suskind surmised, “In this instance the final ‘you,’ of course, meant the entire reality-based community.” Can you see the sneering condescension in Suskind’s suggestion that middle Americans do not belong to the “reality-based community”?
If there’s any doubt about Suskind’s meaning, he reinforces it in describing a meeting in which people were asking President Bush tough questions. Suskind wrote, “The questions came from many directions — respectful, but clearly reality-based.”
Then Suskind asks, “Can the unfinished American experiment in self-governance — sputtering on the watery fuel of illusion and assertion — deal with something as nuanced as the subtleties of one man’s faith? What, after all, is the nature of the particular conversation the president feels he has with God — a colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?”
And he quotes another critic as saying that when faith “certifies our righteousness — that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There’s no reflection.”
Suskind is wrong in every particular. The “American experiment in self-governance” didn’t just “deal with,” but was based on the Framers’ Christian faith. Faith and reason are complementary, not incompatible. President Bush did base his decision to attack Iraq on the available evidence — not his faith. And the president doesn’t have a messianic complex, but relies on God for strength and guidance — as do millions and millions of Christians nationwide, for all of whom Suskind demonstrates his contempt.
President Bush’s Christianity is not an enemy of his reason or deliberation. It is not an enemy of his fact-based decisions or self-reflection. It is the rock upon which he depends in these exceedingly tough times.
Even extreme church-state separatists, until recently, didn’t make the absurd demand that our leaders divorce their faith from their governance. Nor are they requiring it of John Kerry.
What’s clear is that secularists like Suskind don’t believe that strong, committed Christians are well suited for governance. It’s also clear they don’t worry about John Kerry in this regard, which speaks volumes about their assessment of the sincerity of Kerry’s professions of faith. Self-professing Christians may still hold office, provided they either aren’t sincere about their faith or they keep it in the closet with the door closed and the lock secured.