When World Leaders Pray
This is part 1 of a 2-part article. Part 2 will appear on May 30.
"Humility, conscience, and responsibility." These are the traits London Times writer Michael Gove believes political leaders learn when they submit themselves to God.
Gove made this statement last week after Tony Blair publicly stated that he would be judged on the Iraq war by "my Maker." Blair's closest advisors flinched—believing such an admission of faith by a Prime Minister "plays badly." These are the same advisors who insisted the PM not end his Iraq war broadcast with "God bless you," because "people don't want chaplains pushing stuff down their throats."
Sadly, the British spin-doctors are probably right to worry. After all, ever since the European public found out about the Bible study classes being held at the White House, many have been convinced Bush is "a fundamentalist crazy." "To listen to the European reaction," says Gove, "one might have thought they were bringing back witch trials in Massachusetts."
But Gove suggests we look at the record. He argues that if we do so, we will find that Christian faith helps leaders gain a frame of reference for their decisions beyond that of mere political expediency. Far from becoming arrogant, inflexible, and intolerant, Christian leaders are forced to face the fact that they are answerable to a higher authority. And this is all to the good. It "enriches" such leaders and "extends their sympathies," leading to such compassionate actions as Bush's policies on AIDS in Africa and his attention to the poor and undereducated at home, and British Tory leader Duncan Smith's forays out from Westminster to address the conditions of drug abusers and the problems of failing schools.
Though non-Christians, too, have ...