I received a note with some interesting comments in response to yesterday's entry about President Bush's interview with Sean Hannity. The response (summarized or quoted in red) touched the following points:
1) President Bush seemed rather general when he spoke about prayer. I agree, and perhaps that was because of the nature of the interview itself. The last question, in the final week of a tight campaign, fatigue, etc.
2) President Bush said that Muslims, Jews and Christians pray to the same God. I think that comes from his Good Morning, America interview with Charlie Gibson. It was a question intended to trap him, and he would have been better advised not to answer it. Why should the president be asked such a question? And why should he answer it? He is under no obligation to answer every question. In this case, anything he says gets him into trouble because there is never enough time to explain what he means.
3) He has come out in favor of civil unions. That's true, and I wish he hadn't done it. At least he remains firm and clear and principled in his opposition to gay marriage.
4) "I know Bush isn't a 'theologian' in chief, and I don't expect him to be. But he needs to be a man with a chest and not waver on things he knows to be true." My own guess is that the president is saying what he truly believes, which in some cases is not consistent with what most evangelical Christians believe. Or at least he says it differently than we would say it.
I agree with many of the points raised by the person who wrote to me today. But my mind keeps going back to a scene from the movie "Analyze This," starring Rober DeNiro as the Mafia boss with emotional problems, and Billy Crystal as the shrink hired (against his will) to help him. Early in the movie, DeNiro's # 1 man grabs Billy Crystal away from his wedding preparations to go see the Boss. "Hey, you can't do this," Crystal says. "How can he just say he wants you to come and you have to do what he says?" The number # 1 man shrugs and says, "It is what it is."
That's the way I feel about President Bush's faith--"It is what it is." He's not ever going to be as fully evangelical or conservative or plainspoken on certain issues as we might like. But at least he's been consistently that way for the last four years. Now have to choose between George Bush and John Kerry. Between two imperfect men, we do have a clear choice next Tuesday.
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