Wednesday, May 24, 2006

[Blank]'s faith worries [Blank]

You know whose name goes in the first [blank], right? I mean, there's almost no question as to who it is. You know it's not going to be John Kerry's name or Hillary Clinton's name or Dennis Hastert's name - heck, it's not even Tom Cruise's name. You know FOR CERTAIN that it's not going to be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's name there, although that is certainly a cause for worry. You also know that even though he is reportedly a Christian, Tony Blair's name isn't going to be in there.

Okay, I'll say it. It's George W. Bush - but you knew that already. Now, the next issue is, what "faith" is being talked about here? Is it Bush's faith in the power, power, wonder-working power in the faith and goodness of the American people? No. It's the faith that always seems to be causing concern these days. I'm not talking about Islam here. I'm talking about Bush's religious faith, Christianity. Someone is worried about Bush's Christianity - how it affects him, what he thinks about it, how it guides him. You can be sure that when person A worries about person B's religious faith, and there's some article in the media about it, that faith is going to be identified as Christianity - not Islamofascism, not Scientology, and not whatever-those-Heaven's-Gate-people-actually-believed.

The second [blank] is Madeline Albright, AKA the second Secretary of State under Clinton. She's written a book, see, and it's called The Mighty and the Almighty. She's expressing her concern about Bush's Christianity. She recalls with fondness the days of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and how their personal religious views never influenced their political actions (although I believe that there are certainly arguments to be made that those two individual's religious views DID affect their political actions).

"President Bush's certitude about what he believes in, and the division between good and evil, is, I think, different," said Albright, who has just published a book on religion and world affairs. "The absolute truth is what makes Bush so worrying to some of us." (CNN)

Yes, Madame Secretary, we should all be worried about absolute truth. Our only safety is in relativism. We certainly don't want a president who identifies what is good and what is evil in this world. Better to be completely uncertain about what to do...


  1. I think the reason that you never hear about other sorts of faith being a concern is because discussions of their beliefs usually start from the premise that non-Christian beliefs are nutty and/or scary.

    And I don't think that the main concern is whether Absolute Truth exists or not; the main concern is if George W. Bush is certain that he knows the Absolute Truth. That sort of mindset leads to irrational decisions.

  2. Oh, and what exactly is "islamofascism" anyway? I always thought fascism was defined as "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."

    The Islamic militants causing so much trouble lately seem to be indifferent at best to business leadership and hostile to nation-states generally. I think they're more properly characterized as theocrats -- those who want a government ruled by religious leaders and governed according to religious principles.

  3. Doug,

    Unless, of course, he knows the Absolute Truth.

  4. He doesn't. Of this, I am absolutely certain. :-)

  5. Madeline Albright is a loon, always has been.

    People just love to use the word Islamophobe (and all other forms), but Islam is the only 'religion' that kills or enslaves people who do not embrace it. Nuff said.

  6. Doug: Three comments - wow! As to the "Islamofascist" thing, I've put that down because so many people (ie, right-wing bloggers) have named it and talked about it. If you do a technorati search through my blog and you type in "islamofascist," you'll see that this is the very first post where I've used that word. I'm just using it as an example of what some people might label as "disturbing." I think it is a bit of a misnomer, really, and tries to give a label to a certain belief (i.e., all those who don't say "Enshallah" regularly are infidels and must die) that is really a much more complicated thing.

    Bush identifies himself as a Christian, which means that he looks to the Bible as Absolute Truth. Okay, I realize that some who might identify themselves as Christians wouldn't be willing to say that every single page of the Bible is Absolutely True, but Bush seems clearly to be one that does. (And just so you know, I am one as well) However, that doesn't mean that all Christians who read the Bible as Absolutely True, on every single page, (1) pay attention to the same things and (2) interpret passages in the same way. Those on the politically right side seem to pay more attention to what might be called personal Christianity (how it affects people and what they do, if laws keep them from aborting their babies and marrying people of the same gender); those on the politically left side seem to pay more attention to what might be called communal Christianity (how their beliefs affects others, whether it be for fighting for civil rights or caring for the poor). Carter and Clinton seemed to care about the more communal Christianity issues, and this is where the argument can be made that they did indeed let their religious beliefs guide them.

  7. I think the original concern is what's the saddest about this situation...that Albright's worried about Bush's religious convictions influencing his political position...she obviously doesn't get that whatever your beliefs are, whether I would agree with them or not, if you don't let those beliefs be the basis for every decision you make, to me, you're not strong in your convictions and are probably the kind of person that I would say was wishy washy and just goes with whatever is "in" or benefits them at the moment...and that is not what I want as a characteristic of the person controlling my country!

    Did anybody understand that? I think we should call Guiness and see if that meets a record for the longest run-on sentance!

  8. Clearly Madeline And Debbie are loons. (see I can do it too, it's easy to vilify people with retoric.)

    The thing that scares me most is when two world leaders (Bush and Ahmadinejad's) Believe their version of truth to be the absolute truth. That leads to very bad outcomes. Kaboom, much worse than what was experienced on Lost.

  9. Nice reference to Lost Adam!