Newsweek's cover: "Bush and God"
The last few weeks have seen so many articles on President Bush's faith and how it affects his policy that it's hardly news anymore. We've linked to a bajillion of them, but in case you missed them all, here's the summary:
Gee, Bush sure is using a lot of religious imagery and language these days. Yep. A whole lot of it, too. A bunch of experts (mainly liberals like the head of the Interfaith Alliance, which was created to counteract the Christian Coalition, and Princeton University's Elaine Pagels) are worried about it, saying it "demonizes" opponents. After all, you know, we can't say that God is on our side. But conservative evangelicals like the language and will repay him with votes. But it scares potential allies overseas, and American enemies (oops, there's that dangerous "us and them" language) can use it to say Bush is on a "crusade" and stir up more anti-American foment. Besides, who's to say God's on our side, anyway?
There are variations on that theme, but that's the basic tune. Fortunately, the main article in Newsweek's "Bush and God" cover package has enough original notes to keep it interesting. For the most part, the magazine lets Martin Marty and religion editor Ken Woodward take note of the debate over Bush's religious language in sidebars and lets Howard Fineman concentrate on Bush's spiritual biography.
Of greatest note is Fineman's revisiting of Bush's conversion story. "In campaign biographies, ghostwriters highlight the role that Billy Graham played in launching Bush on … his 'Walk.' The truth is more prosaic, and explains far more about Bush's evolving views, not only of faith but of government."
More influential than Graham, Fineman writes, was Bush's involvement in Community ...1