Interview: Condoleezza Rice's Faith Context for Foreign Policy
A few years ago, you said you wanted "to figure out what the role in all of this is of profession and proselytizing [and] being a contagious Christian."
The contagious Christian is what I'm trying to understand better, but I think you do it through deeds not words. You try to live a life that makes people say, Oh, that's a life I'd like to emulate. Then they realize your faith is somehow linked to it.
How does your understanding of religion help you deal with the interplay between religion and foreign policy?
It helps to have both a historical and theological understanding of the children of Abraham and the relationships between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. I personally think that Israel is remarkable. It would not exist but for the toughness of the people and the grace of God. Yet Jerusalem is a place where the great religions don't so much come together; they clash there. You suddenly realize the extent to which man will go to use God for his own purposes rather than the other way around. That for me is the most terrifying thing about the combination of religion and politics, because that is really when man is trying to use God for his own purposes. That's why I don't see any conflict with being Christian and wanting to see a Jewish state, being Christian and believing there can be a Palestinian state, because the state is the state. When you start to try to infuse it with God's purpose you almost always get in trouble.
How do you distinguish between someone who's trying to use God for his purposes and when the person feels like God is speaking to him or her?
I'm always careful with people who assume God is speaking through them. It proves out over time, because essentially if God is speaking through you to put other people down I rather doubt it. That's not the God I know. And if God is speaking through you to hold yourself above others or your own kind above others then I doubt it.
Is there anything else you want to add about evangelicals or the interaction of faith and policy?
Let me be clear. I'm evangelical and I'm proud of it. I consider an evangelical to be someone who professes faith in a way that draws others to it. It's interesting because here we have separation of powers and separation of church and state, but we are the most religious people in the world. It serves us well, because when you're religious you at least know that you have to answer to some higher calling than your own whims or desires. When that's the case, you're also more cognizant of your responsibilities to care about those who have less. The United States has been served well by its religiosity, and I'm very, very unabashedly proud of how religious a people we are.
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Christianity Today's 2003 cover package on Condoleezza Rice included:
The Unflappable Condi Rice | Why the world's most powerful woman asks God for help.
'The Privilege of Struggle' | How Rice understands suffering and prayer.
Hard Line on the Road Map | Can Rice put pressure on the nation she admires?