Read an Excerpt
George W. Bush is a religious man. A Newsweek cover story in March 2003 described his religious upbringing, recounted his spiritual conversion, and explained how his faith has guided what he says and does as president of the United States. A more recent book describes his spiritual growth and religious faith in greater detail. There is little doubt that he is sincere.
Yet sincerity is not enough. A person can be sincere and also misguided. A person can be trying to do the right thing and yet be mistaken. A clear conscience is no guarantee of correctness.
The history of Christianity is filled with people who thought they were right at the time. The early centuries are replete with individuals and groups whose sincere beliefs about God and Jesus were eventually judged to be heretical. In the Middle Ages, Christian nobles and knights were convinced that God wanted them to rescue the Holy Land even if they had to kill thousands of Moslems to do it. During the decades following the Reformation, Protestants and Catholics waged war on one another in the name of true religion. For over two hundred years, Christians in the American South believed that slavery was justified by the Bible.
It is always easier to see the mistakes of the past than those of the present. Long after the events, it is not difficult to compare the beliefs and actions of Christians with the teachings and behavior of Christ, whom they claimed to follow. It is much more difficult to do this in our own time and in our own lives. We tend to think that if something feels right, then it is right. We also tend to think that society�s approval is a sign of God�s approval. Both liberals and conservatives are guilty of this kind of thinking. Nor is this kind of thinking limited to Christians. Everybody does it.
President Bush is no exception. He works hard to understand what America needs, and he tries sincerely to meet those needs. He devotes time to studying international issues, and he uses his best judgment to address those issues. But there is little evidence that the president or his advisors consult the Bible when formulating national and foreign policy. There is little to suggest that before making a decision they ask, �What would Jesus do?�