Conversations: Elizabeth Dole's Fishbowl Faith
Pundits agree that one of Bob Dole's most potent campaign weapons is his wife, Elizabeth, a savvy political veteran in her own right. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she has held government positions in every administration from Lyndon Johnson to George Bush. Dole was secretary of transportation under Ronald Reagan and secretary of labor under Bush. In 1991, she became the first female president of the American Red Cross since its founder, Clara Barton.
Raised in a strong Christian family in Salisbury, North Carolina, Dole acknowledges that after she moved to Washington, D.C., career and politics began to crowd out spiritual growth. She had "God neatly compartmentalized, crammed into a crowded file drawer of my life," she once said, and realized that "if Christ is who he says he is," she needed to "submit my resignation as master of my own universe." And, she added, "God accepted my resignation."
In her office in the bustling Dole-Kemp '96 headquarters on Capitol Hill, Dole talked about living out her faith in what she calls the "fishbowl existence" of presidential politics.
How do you maintain a spiritual focus in the midst of an intense presidential campaign?
I'm blessed with a wonderful church family at National Presbyterian Church (in northwest Washington, D.C.). I meet often with a group of women who are strong Christians and have prayer and fellowship. And as I move along the campaign trail, it's a wonderful experience when people who know that I am a Christian or have heard me speak will hand me a book that has been particularly meaningful to them.
Last year, the media jumped on your decision to leave Foundry United Methodist Church, where you had attended for years, and switch to National Presbyterian Church. Some reports ...