One casualty of the end of the Dean campaign is that it has preempted any stark contrast between the Democratic candidate who said, "It is time not to put up [with] any of this 'love thy neighbor' stuff," and the Republican president who is reportedly driven by the golden rule. Asked last year to characterize Bush's foreign policy goals, Don Evans told Christianity Today, "It's love your neighbor like yourself. The neighbor happens to be everyone on the planet."

It's likely that Weekly Standard publisher Terry Eastland intended to run this week's cover story at a later date, back when it looked like Dean might win the nomination. But now that Dean is out, taking special note of the contrasting views of "neighbor-love" is a now-or-never essay. And with Dean out, Eastland is left focusing almost entirely upon Bush.

Much has been written about Bush's faith, but Eastland's "Bush's Gospel" is an excellent analysis of it. Throw out your old notions of what a "religious conservative" president must look like. Bush doesn't seem to be driven by traditional cornerstones of the conservative movement. In fact, his embrace of Golden Rule government is sometimes at odds with that movement, while other ramifications of it put him at increasing odds with liberal Democrats. "It represents a modification, even a diminution, of American conservatism," Eastland writes.

To say that neighbor-love motivates Bush is not to say that it justifies particular policies or actions he's described as compassionate. Neighbor-love is a principle of high generality. Put a bunch of people around a table, give them the principle, ask them to devise a policy to address Problem X, and you may get as many proposals as you have people. Most of Bush's "compassionate" ...
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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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