19 October 2004

George W. Bush’s “faith”?

Ron Suskind’s article in the Times on Sunday will likely set off some people — those who can’t stand seeing Bush’s faith at all questioned.

But since every idea and issue remotely touching on the facts of faith
have been fair political game this time around, perhaps more than
usual, it’s fair to ask, as Jeff Sharlet does, whether George Bush is
out first “New Age” president
.  (A heresy that I am sure will
offend crystal wavers and Bible thumpers alike, so I’m happy to bring
it up.)

What’s
surprising about Suskind’s summary of Bush’s “walk,” to borrow an
evangelical term, is how small a role Jesus Christ seems to play in it.
God gets a few cameos, but even he’s a supporting player. Front and
center, though, is faith.

Believing, it seems, is more important to the President than the
substance of his belief. Jesus Christ’s particular teachings — well,
those are good, too. But what really matters is that if you believe you
can do something, you can.

What Suskind misses, and what Bush’s more orthodox Christian
supporters seem to dodge, is that this is not Christian doctrine by any
definition. It is, in fact, a key element of the broad, heterodox
movement known as New Age religion.

A common aspect of many New Age schools of thought (though not all) is a gentle disdain for perceived reality.

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