Religion in Politics
Two interesting items:
1. Al Gore:
1. Al Gore:
Gore’s mouth tightened. A Southern Baptist, he, too, had declared himself born again, but he clearly had disdain for Bush’s public kind of faith. “It’s a particular kind of religiosity,” he said. “It’s the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common. In a world of disconcerting change, when large and complex forces threaten familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impulse is to grab hold of the tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life and never question the possibility that it’s not going to be the source of your salvation."2. Paul Kengor, analyzing the number of times that Clinton and Bush, respectively, used religious rhetoric:
Though clearly a devout Christian, Bush is no more outwardly religious than the vast majority of this nation's presidents, including his most recent predecessor. I researched the Presidential Documents (the official collection of every public presidential statement); an examination of the mentions of Jesus Christ by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton showed that through 2003, Bush cited Jesus, or Jesus Christ, or Christ in 14 separate statements, compared to 41 by Clinton. On average, Clinton mentioned Christ in 5.1 statements per year, which exceeded Bush's 4.7.
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In addition, the Presidential Documents list only three incidences of Bush's speaking in a church through his first three years. By contrast, Clinton spoke in churches 21 times, with over half of those appearances occurring in election years. And often what he said and did in these churches was blatantly partisan, from identifying New York's Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo as a "prophet" to instructing worshippers to go vote. No politician in modern times mixed politics and religion with complete impunity to the extent Bill Clinton did. Here is a mere sampling:
- "By the grace of God and your help, last year I was elected President."
— Clinton, Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee, November 1993
- "Our ministry is to do the work of God here on Earth."
— Clinton to a church in Temple Hills, Maryland, August 1994
- "God's work must be our own. And there are many questions before us now in this last presidential election of the 20th century."
— Clinton to a church in Newark, New Jersey, October 1996