Thursday, October 21, 2004

Our God-Inspired President

George W. Bush has made it clear that he gets his direction from The Lord. If anyone doubts this, just say so and I will show the facts to back up this assertion. But I will assume that this is a given: the President believes he is doing The Lord's will. Okay? Okay. For many religious people, this is a positive change to our political climate. In their minds, there have been too many godless men leading the country, so it's about time that a man have God's interest in mind when directing the nation. Others treat the President’s feelings on this issue with respect. After all, we are all free to have our beliefs, right? How many powerful leaders in history have believed they were doing the Lord's will? Prior to the industrial revolution, nearly all of them claimed to be the hand of God in some form. This "God-inspired" leadership led to such things as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, etc. Our founding fathers were smart enough to see that the link between the hand of God and a powerful leader was a dangerous one. Because of that, they specifically crafted the constitution to make it difficult for a leader to unilaterally define The Lord’s will. Smart thinking! This bright notion, however, has waxed and waned throughout America’s history. Right now it is barely a crescent. When JFK ran for President, he almost didn’t win because of his Catholic affiliations. Namely, Americans feared he would take orders from the Pope. However, he made it clear that he wouldn’t be a Catholic President; he would be a President who happens to be Catholic. The difference was subtle. He was saying he would put his duties as a President before his loyalties as a Catholic. Another fine example of this difference can be found in Abraham Lincoln. Here is an excerpt from the book Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents by Franklin Steiner (1936): “I am not a Christian -- God knows I would be one but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not understand this book … These men know that I am for freedom in the territories, freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and the laws will permit, and that my opponents are for slavery. They know this, and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all.'” Abraham Lincoln put his duties as President first. He clearly had the desire to “be a Christian” but his own convictions—-based on the realities of his day—-drove his policies. The danger posed by a leader who seeks god’s will is when the following parameters are true: 1. When "God’s will" is put before facts. 2. When dialog about "God's will" is not allowed. 3. When "God’s will" is put before basic humanistic principles like those found in our Constitution. I think the current President’s overt insertion of religion (namely the public announcement that he prays to seek the Lord’s Will) into his policy-making decisions is not healthy for our nation because all three of the above parameters are flagged as "true" in my opinion. By feeling safe in knowing that George W. Bush is doing "The Lord's will," one must assume that George W. Bush's ability to hear "The Lord" is perfect. Otherwise, George W. Bush may insert his own will into his actions and believe that it is The Lord's will. In fact, it was GWB’s own will that wanted to attack Iraq, even though in the book “Plan of Attack,” he said of his decision to attack Iraq: “Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord’s will…I’m surely not going to justify the war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray to be as good a messenger of his will as possible.” The Lord guided him to attack Iraq because, at least as he stated, Iraq had WMD’s and ties to Al Quaeda. But George W. Bush did not want to debate this. As found in this article, (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html?pagewanted=all&position=&oref=regi) George Bush called together a group of congress members and said, "Look, I want your vote. I’m not going to debate it with you." And when one of the senators began to ask a question, Bush snapped, "Look, I’m not going to debate it with you." Clearly, facts were not a concern for George Bush. And it’s a shame, too, because the facts have clearly pointed out since then that Iraq had no WMDs, and had no ties to Al Quaeda. George W. Bush put "God’s will" before facts. George W. Bush attacked Iraq because he thought God wanted him to. This is the worst of all possible reasons to fight terrorism. Terrorists, after all, have enough faith to strap bombs to themselves and kill innocents because it is "God’s will." Abraham Lincoln’s contemporaries thought slavery was "God’s will." Clearly a man can think he is doing "God’s will" and be wrong. Furthermore, by bringing God into the equation, he is taking America down to the level of our terrorist enemies and validating their jihad as an issue of Allah vs. Jehovah, instead of fanaticism vs. basic human rights issues. If he waged his war on Terrorism on the basis of principles (human rights) instead of religion ("Axis of Evil"), we might have a chance to win the war because we are forcing the fanatics (and the world) to view it in a more sane arena that can be discussed. Instead, the President who claims he is the most qualified at battling terrorism is really fomenting terrorism by keeping the battle in the arena of religious ideals, which cannot be discussed. But it's all in the name of the Lord ...


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