Though critics of President George W. Bush's religion have largely accused him of being too religious, in the waning months of the presidential campaign, analysis and commentary pieces now say he's not religious enough, and is thus out of step with his evangelical base.

A recent front-page story in The Washington Post explained that Bush himself uses neither the words evangelical nor born again to describe himself. "He has revealed only the barest outline of his beliefs, leaving others to sift through the clues and make assumptions about where he stands," Alan Cooperman wrote, noting that no one knows his positions on biblical authority, the exclusivity of Christ, or other doctrines.

Paul Kengor, author of God and George W. Bush, wrote in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, "In many ways, Bush's brand of Christianity is more liberal than it is conservative, though overall he is probably theologically moderate." He cites Bush's statements that he worships the same God as Muslims and that people can be good without God. "I've never encountered a President with a faith as ecumenical as Bush's," Kengor said.

But one of the least-reported aspects of Bush's faith is his belief that Mideast terrorists are not Muslims. "I don't think people who would believe in an Almighty God would slit somebody's throat, just like that," he told Time. "I believe that they use religion as a justification for their ideology. But I don't view killers as truly religious people."

Using similar logic, some are saying John Kerry isn't a bad Catholic—because he's not a Catholic. "If your personal beliefs contradict the Church's definition of the Catholic faith, then you are not a Catholic, any more than I am a Buddhist if I believe in egotism and war, or a Marxist ...

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November 2004

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