Article regarding Bush's use of relgion....
Bush's flim-flam on faith
By Derrick Z. Jackson | October 15, 2005
BY THE TIME our holy-roller-in-chief leaves office, we will really be confused about the role of religion. That is how President Bush wants it, starting with his faith-based initiatives that were merely an excuse for gutting government programs. In recent weeks, this blessed agenda has bumped up against unavoidable hypocrisy.
The most obvious is the Supreme Court. Bush named John Roberts to the court under a massive smokescreen. In July, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, ''Judge Roberts has said in previous testimony that personal beliefs or views have no role whatsoever when it comes to decisions that judges make."
The ''no role" ploy was meant to fend off liberal critics and hide as much as possible from them about Roberts's personal feelings in his Senate hearings. But when Bush's new pick for the court, Harriet Miers, was criticized as a lightweight conservative by some on the far right, the White House performed what Bush himself called an ''outreach program" on Miers's religious bonafides.
James Dobson of Focus on the Family said Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, told him that Miers is ''an evangelical Christian" who attends ''a very conservative church which is almost universally prolife." Asked about his ''outreach program," Bush said, ''They want to know Harriet Miers's background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers's life is her religion."
The assertion of Miers's religiosity to buoy her nomination serves to highlight an even bigger conundrum. Today, the people of Iraq vote on a new constitution, one that Bush praised in August by saying ''Iraq will have a democratic constitution that honors women's rights, the rights of minorities." This conveniently ignores the fact that the Iraqi constitution says right up front that Islam is the official religion of the government and is a ''fundamental source of legislation." Many human rights watchers worry that such language, given how Islamic law is sometimes applied by men, will end up being used to oppress women.
Thus at home, Bush uses religion to hint broadly to supporters who want to do away with abortion rights that Miers is safe for a seat on our Supreme Court, even though the United States is a nation where the vast majority of Americans think abortion in varying degrees should be an option. Only 29 percent of Americans want to see the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion overturned, according to both a Pew poll in July and a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll in June.
The manipulation of religion is even worse (given the fatal consequences) for his adventures abroad. When journalist Bob Woodward asked Bush if he consulted with his former president father about invading Iraq, Bush said, ''He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher Father that I appeal to."
Last week in an address before the National Endowment for Democracy, Bush once again wrongly and willfully conflated Iraq, where no weapons of mass destruction were found, with 9/11, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. In doing so, he decried the ''evil" of terrorists who misuse religion.
''This ideology is very different from the religion of Islam," Bush said. ''This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency of totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom."
Bush added, ''Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life."
Two and a half years after the invasion, Bush has said nothing about the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who were sacrificed to serve his own political vision. There is no doubt that the blood of former dictator Saddam Hussein ran cold, with thousands of deaths on his hands. But with chaos still in the streets of Iraq, with car bombs taking out dozens of people every few days, and a constitution that does not even try to separate church and state, it remains frightfully unclear what Bush has taught us.
In the speech on his ''war on terror" last week, Bush had the gall to quote the part of the Koran that says ''killing an innocent human being is like killing all humanity. . . . the time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to join in denouncing an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends." He said this as a president who has exploited Christianity for his own political ends, in a presidency that has displayed a cold-blooded contempt for innocent Iraqis and democracy right here at home.