Bush Oblivious to Unbelievers
by Gary Sloan (e-mail: GSloan@liberator.net) [March 12th, 2003]
In his Feb. 6 address at the 51st annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, President George W. Bush again revealed his insensitivity to the 30 to 40 million Americans who don't believe in divine providence.
Speaking to members of the House, Senate, Cabinet, military brass, ministers, foreign dignitaries and their families, Bush pontificated: "We can be confident in the ways of Providence, even when they are far from our understanding. Events aren't moved by blind change and chance. Behind all of life and all of history, there's a dedication and purpose, set by the hand of a just and faithful God."
“Recent studies indicate that only 54% of Americans belong to a church, including non-Christian churches. While 80% or so of Americans classify themselves as Christians, many accept a naturalistic explanation of historical and cosmic events.”
"The Almighty God," he said, "is a God to everybody, every person."
Bush further expatiated on the value of prayer. Sounding a little like Wilford Brimley in the oatmeal commercial, he said having a National Prayer Breakfast "is the right thing to do, because this is a nation of prayer."
His knowledge of American prayerfulness is, he said, based on first-hand experience: "See, I work the ropelines a lot, and I hear all kinds of things on the ropelines. But the thing I hear the most, the comment I hear the most from our fellow citizens, regardless of their political party or philosophy, is, Mr. President, I pray for you and your family, and so does my family. I turn to them without hesitation and say, it is the greatest gift you can give anybody, is to pray on their behalf."
Apparently, it hasn't occurred to Mr. Bush that his empirical data may be severely skewed. Recent studies indicate that only 54% of Americans belong to a church, including non-Christian churches. While 80% or so of Americans classify themselves as Christians, many accept a naturalistic explanation of historical and cosmic events. They don’t believe God suspends natural law or obtrusively manipulates phenomena to bring about a preconceived end.
Moreover, no infidel, should one be found in a Bush ropeline, is likely to tell him: "Mr. President, I don't pray for you and your family, nor does my family. In fact, we don't pray at all because we think prayer, aside from an occasional placebo effect, is utterly inefficacious.”
Bush describes himself as an inveterate supplicant: "I pray. I pray for strength, I pray for guidance, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray to offer my thanks for a kind and generous Almighty God."
Even as he rattles the sabers, Bush perhaps also prays for Saddam Hussein. If faith can move mountains, surely it can move (or remove) one man.
Had Bush not packaged his personal beliefs as inviolable truths, his sermonizing might be excusable. Like every other American, he has the right to tell people what he believes.
Millions of Americans believe the cosmos, life and human experience can be adequately understood without appealing to the intervention of supernatural entities. Both intellectually and morally, the world-view of the faithless is as defensible as the Judeo-Christian perspective of President Bush.
America won’t be truly free as long as presidents try to foist articles of religious faith on everyone. When President Bush uses his bully pulpit to plump for religion, his words divide but do not conquer.
Resources and Avenues for Further Study
Google News: Bush Faith
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