After three solid years of accepting and broadcasting the myth that Junior’s religion–about which he makes such a to-do–is centrist-Methodist, the LAT’s Peter Wallsten finally, if casually, dumped it. In a report on how hard it is to satisfy the far-right while trying to appeal to moderates for election purposes, Wallsten writes in an off-hand way, as if everybody always knew this:
Polls show that the president remains enormously popular among social conservatives and other elements of the Republican Party base, and can expect overwhelming backing from them. And many leading conservatives stressed this week that despite the failure of the same-sex marriage ban, they continue to see Bush, an evangelical Christian, as one of their own. (emphasis added)
For three years, Omnium has been insisting that Bush is not and has not been for years the moderate Methodist he pretends to be when he campaigns. He is an evangelical, born-again, radically conservative, fundamentalist Christian whose favorite spiritual advisors are Pat ‘Homosexuals cause earthquakes’ Robertson and the faculty of segregationist, far-right Bob Jones University. The story that he called Billy Graham when he had a question about his faith (Graham is a centrist evangelical as these things go) was a nice story but it happened a long time ago, before Bush’s ‘conversion’.
We have been castigated for saying this. People insisted that we were being ‘unfair’ to Junior, that we were flying on rumors and innuendo, and that he counldn’t possibly be an evangelical because when he goes to church, it’s a Methodist church, the same one his father attends and has attended for years. Yes, but–it’s for show.
Like everything else he does in public, Junior’s ‘Methodism’ is an act, a carefully-contrived bit of stage-business calculated to fool people into thinking he’s a centrist when he’s not. In American Rhapsody, Joe Esterhasz said that where Poppy is a centrist who played toward the right, Junior is a hard-rightist playing toward the center, and that pretty well sums it up. His trips for ‘guidance’ (and a political boost amongst Christian conservatives) to Bob Jones are a matter of record; his phone calls to Robertson seeking ‘advice’ have been widely reported from time-to-time and never denied. But the most telling proof, as always with this Admin, is in the decisions he has consistently made since coming to office.
Bush has signed into law a ban on one type of late-term abortion procedure. On Friday, the administration announced that for the third year in a row, it would not pay dues to the United Nations Population Fund because U.S. officials said the fund indirectly supported Chinese government programs that force abortions.Bush has changed federal rules to allow faith-based groups to compete for federal contracts. He has also used special powers, available only when Congress is in recess, to place some conservatives on the federal bench after they were blocked by lawmakers.
Every one of them through the back door in the middle of the night, and by Executive Fiats that don’t require assent from any other branch of govt–his preferred way of doing business.
Given all this, can we now finally abandon the pretense that King George II is a centrist? He isn’t. He hasn’t been for almost a quarter-century. His claim that he is is another out-and-out lie–which is the problem. I’m not against fundamentalist Christians holding office, not even the presidency, provided that they a) don’t lie about it, and b) aren’t theocrats who want to turn the US govt into their peculiar god’s private preserve with them playing High Priests ‘transmitting his will’ to a reluctant congregation. But I have enormous problems with Junior’s ‘stealth’ faith, a faith that denies itself in public and calls the shots in private.