Off the Theological Meter

Since his ascension to the international stage, much has been made of George W. Bush's religious beliefs. While Jim Wallis (in "Dangerous Religion") has done yeoman's labor in actually trying to provide a systematic understanding of Bush's supposed beliefs, I think Wallis gives our president too much credit where his beliefs are concerned, unless one subscribes to a theology of greed.

I cannot recall an administration that has presided over more destructive acts to the body politic than the present one. From the disputed election—where 58,000 African Americans were disenfranchised in a state governed by the candidate's brother—to the withdrawal of the United States from the Kyoto Accords and the International Criminal Court, to the horrendous episode of 9-11 and all its unanswered questions, to the war in Afghanistan, to the wretched Patriot Act, to the run-up to the war in Iraq and the accompanying lies, to his subsequent comment to "Bring 'em on"—inviting attacks on our young men and women, to the tax cuts for the very wealthy, according to Wallis I am supposed to assume that our president actually thinks about how his personal faith intersects with his role in the world. As Wallis puts it, "I don't doubt that George W. Bush's faith is sincere and deeply held." Bush is practicing a kind of religious understanding that I am not sure even registers on the Christian theological meter. I am not attacking Wallis' motivation, but to devote an article to explaining Bush's "theology"—Wallis' time might have been better spent trying to explain the mating habits of dung beetles.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2003
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