All Ye Faithful
Is George Bush the Christians' Christian?
But in the consideration of reason and faith, we are left with an interesting question: Bush has actively cultivated the image of the simple man of God; how does that reflect on the rest of America's born-again Christians? Is Bush a helpful spokesman, in the end?
On the one hand, he has brought great comfort to many Christians through his unabashed defense of his faith life. They feel represented at the upper echelons of American society and less persecuted as a result. They believe Bush's faith has helped provide him moral clarity and inner strength. In addition, I believe that Bush's pluralistic approach to faith—his kind words for Islam right after 9/11 and his broad approach to faith-based programs—helped give evangelical Christianity a more tolerant face.
But is it really good for American Christianity to have as its poster boy someone so proudly anti-intellectual? I suspect that believers and nonbelievers would be better off if secular intellectuals showed less contempt for evangelicals and the nation's leading evangelical showed less contempt for intellectuals.
Steven Waldman is editor in chief ofBeliefnet, the leading multifaith spirituality and religion Web site.
Photograph of George Bush from Reuters Live Photos.