Sunday, September 17, 2006

National Pastor

America seems to need to have a national pastor. This has been done with varying levels of success. Billy Graham set up lots of safeguards and accountability to deal with the dangers that come with that kind of attention and power. Rick Warren seems to be the leader du jour.

I think there's lots of great spiritual leaders in the country, but centralizing that power and having one spokesperson for Christianity in the US is dangerous. Too much power for a mere mortal.

This week I got concerned when I read a couple of articles about George Bush. Now here's the caveat - I wasn't there to hear what he said and the text of his comments has not been released, so I'm commenting on how the comments have been covered.

Bush has been using some pretty provocative language - tying revival to the war in Iraq and to prayer for him. Here's a couple of the articles:

The original article by the Washington Post talking about Bush's initial comments.

Article two, in which Bush seems to tie revival to people praying for him.

Article three, which includes this great quote:

Bush's claim of seeing a great awakening under way puts him in a camp of discredited prophets. His use of religious code words is cynical. Both diminish his moral credibility.

Bush knows what the media is like. He knows what will be quoted. If he doesn't know that, he has lots of people around him to tell him. In a world where Islamic extremists riot over a cartoon or a comment from the Pope, is this the view of Christianity we want to give the world? The US isn't a theocracy, nor should it be.

I think it's great that we have a President who's a believer and I'm praying for him. However, I think tying revival to support for his policies and actions is dangerous, whether it's for real or a PR snafu. I'm really hoping it's the latter and Bush's aides are popping Rolaids like tick tacks.

Bush is not the national pastor. He's the president. Using "God is on my side" narrative has never been that successful in the past (and Bush has already had to apologize for using the word "Crusade" in the context of the Iraq war).

Sign me up at the head of the line hoping for revival, but I don't see it centering around the President's war.


Blogger Bryan said...

Jim Wallis addresses this concern at length in God's Politics.

8:33 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home