Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

Random shrub clippings

PBS's Frontline did a show on Shrub's religious faith.

I'll set aside my earlier criticisms that he took up the evangelical Christian mantle as a ploy to court voters. It does appear that it was his way, in the 80s, of overcoming his drinking problem. He needed help, and that's where he turned. I think he does genuinely hold those beliefs.

That said, he did recognize the political advantage there. According to this report, when his father was elected in 1988, he did so on 82% of the evangelical vote, while losing voting blocs such as Jews, Hispanics, and interestingly enough, Catholics. Frontline quotes a strategist saying the lesson learned there was you could win the White House on the strength of the evangelical vote alone.

Ah, but for the juicy stuff... they tell an anecdote of a discussin Shrub had with his mother over whether one had to accept Jesus to go to heaven. They disagreed on the point, and when you're Barbara Bush and you have a question of faith, you can pick up the phone and call up Billy Graham. Graham agreed with Barbara that acceptance wasn't a point to lose sleep over, as long as you were living your life in accordance with what he taught. The program shows an article from the Houston Post dated November '93 quoting Shrub on the occasion, who alongside his disagreement, is quoted saying the lesson was "listen to the New Testament but don't be harshly judgemental of others."

Opposing Roe v. Wade and gay marriage in civil law come across as awfully harshly judgemental, Beavis.

They also discuss a case where a (successful) religious youth drug-treatment program in San Antonio came under scrutiny from the state government while he was governor. "I believe that a conversion to religion, by its very nature, promotes sobriety," he said in support of the group, Teen Challenge of South Texas. Religious faith can be beneficial in maintaining sobriety, but it's definitely no certainty. Governor, may I introduce you to the Irish? HAND.

Oh boy. Here's Richard Land, one of the then-directors of the Southern Baptist Convention, talking about a meeting with Shrub on the occasion of his second inauguration as Texas' governor: "Among the things he said to us was, 'I believe that God wants me to be President.'" That's pretty ballsy.

Here's where it gets downright fucked up. The Republican candidates' debate prior to the 2000 Iowa caucus: the candidates were asked to name a political philosopher they were influenced by, Shrub's answer was "Christ, because he changed my heart." Asked to expand on that, his reply was "If they don't know, it's going to be hard to explain." Wow, isn't that fucking arrogant? If you're not One Of Us, you won't get it? Fuck you, clown. I don't have a problem with him claiming Jesus as his political guru so much as he refuses to or is unable to justify it. Even as a Christian myself, I want to hear the answer to that question. I want to see how near he is to the page I'm on. If you're asking people to vote for you for president, you owe them a better answer than that.

On the occasion of his first executive order, establishing his Office for Faith-Based Initiatives, Shrub said, "When we see social needs in America, my administration will look first to faith-based programs and community groups." I think there has to be a way to include religious groups in federal funding. I don't think the First Amendment says we have to exclude them, but it says we can't favor them, as that would contribute to an establishment of religion. Look at that quote again: "will look first". That is not a level playing field with nonspiritual social groups. That's favoritism. And that's illegal.

He said of requirements for recipients of federal money to follow federal hiring practices, "The problem is, faith-based programs only conform to one set of rules, and it's bigger than government rules." That's fine. It is. Just don't expect to receive government money. Government stipulates many things upon spending its money, all the time. Why should this be any different?

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