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May 17, 2003

I read this editorial today in the NY Times about Bush's religious influences on his politics. I found it interesting, and, being a religious man myself, tend to agree with the way Bush handles politics and religion. While not taking a literal "this is how God says it must be done" stand, he nevertheless allows for a higher power -- God -- to steer him and find a solution that is both as moral and correct as he can find.

Posted by charr at 11:12 AM
Reader Comments

It's easy to agree with him since he shares common beliefs, but I prefer he keep the politics separate from religion, just as I would if he were an atheist.

Posted by dan at May 17, 2003 3:28 PM

Testing comment to see if it will remember info.

Posted by dan at May 17, 2003 3:38 PM

I don't totally agree. Remember that this country was founded with the thought of God in mind. Being moral is different from imposing beliefs on your subjects, and God-fearing people tend to have higher morals than agnostics/atheists do, thus keeping the actions of the country's leader on a higher moral ground. Therefore as long as the line is kept between being moral and imposing specific beliefs, I believe the better decision will be made.

Posted by Cameron at May 17, 2003 3:51 PM

Being moral is also different from being religious. I'd be interested to see statistics to back up your statement that 'God-fearing' people tend to have higher morals. I think that statement itself would likely be highly offensive to atheists with high moral standards. I think you'll have a hard time supporting it with any real evidence.Also, even if 'God-fearing' people did tend to have higher moral standards, this would not necessarily make a leader who claimed to be 'God-fearing' have any higher morals. Don't forget the atrocities committed by leaders of men throughout the ages who have claimed to be 'God-fearing'. One does not even need to fear God to use His name to portray some illusion of piety.

Posted by Levi at May 18, 2003 2:14 AM

First off, I believe that if someone is truly religious (any religion), it is impossible for them to ignore that side of them when making decisions for things like going to war. For that side is part of what defines their character - the character on which we voted for or against them.
Second, I expect them to uphold the laws of the land. I don't want them to persecute people who's religion is different than their own. The laws prohibit them from doing such and I expect them to abide by it.
As far as atheists go, I'd have to ponder that. I honestly don't know that I would vote for one. The atheists I know are moral in that they don't steal or physically hurt people. But none of them seem happy. And being unhappy lends itself to be being a bit rude. Mind you many religious people are rude as well. My point is that I don't know any happy and at peace atheists. I'm sure there's some out there though.

Posted by Renee at May 19, 2003 12:42 PM

Funny thing came to mind as I read this. I remember during my tour in Saudi our Navy Chaplain would come over the 1-mc (ship wide PA system) and give the nightly prayer. He'd go on and on about how God was on our side and that he guided us to victory. I wondered then and wonder now if the enemies God cheered them on too. Religion and politics are a dangerous mix. There has been alot of hate and discontent in this world, and the majority of it by people who claim to be doing the work of the Lord.
If The Almighty wanted to be in politics he'd run for office himself. He doesn't need some hillbilly-born-again to do his bidding here on Earth.
To automatically assume that a religious person is also morally just and rightious, is just naive. I tend to agree with Dan - keep your religious views private. What's to gain by publicizing your religious beliefs anyway? Oh, that's right - Votes.

Posted by jason at May 19, 2003 1:23 PM

I'll try to clarify a bit what I meant. Note that I make a distinction between morals and religion. I think Renee understands me best in that I like the fact Bush is guided by morals. Perhaps the word morals needs a definition, but from what can be extrapolated from the article, I think there is an implication of Christian-based morals, i.e. thou shalt not kill, steal, commit adultery, etc. Also prohibited by the Bible (if you are using the common Christian-based morals) are homosexuality and fornication, and I'm not going any further than that on the gay topic.
That said, there are many who would call themselves religious who don't follow this particular code of ethics. However, the fact that they are morals still holds. You should also note that I didn't say I want a president who imposes all his [religious] personal beliefs on everyone else; rather, I want one that is guided by a code of ethics and morals.
Several of you seem to think I said he's following his religion, but that is different. However, to answer Levi's question about religious level and morals, I hold true to my opinion based on the fact that the morals I refer to, (which are referred to in the beginning of the article, and which are commonly considered morals) are based on Christian/religious codes. I say Christian, but that is not the right word, since most mainstream religions (i.e. Islam, Judaism) share many of the same guidelines. Therefore, non-religious people tend not to care about these morals and therefore tend not to follow them. Some are laws (murder), but others such as fornication, adultery and such are left to the individual to follow or not. I would say those who really are religious (not just those who call themselves such), integrate these morals into their lives more than the non-religious.

Posted by Cameron at May 19, 2003 2:20 PM

You record and archive Rush Limbaugh shows don't you? You made an attempt at making a distinction between religious morals and It-doesn't-count-cuz-you-don't-believe-in-God-so-you're-gonna-burn-in-hell morals, but you didn't make one. What are you implying? Are you saying that people who are atheists don't have morals? I just looked up [morals] in gdict and this is what I got:
n : motivation based on ideas of right and wrong syn: ethical
motive, ethics, moralityI don't think you made a distinction at all. As a matter of fact you meld religion and morals together quite deliberately, and I quote, "...and God-fearing people tend to have higher morals than agnostics/atheists do, thus keeping the actions of the country's leader on a higher moral ground.". Dude, you're off in the field picking poppies.

Posted by jason at May 19, 2003 3:09 PM

Jason, you're missing my point left, right, up, down, and every other direction. I've never recorded or archived a Rush show. I haven't listened to a Rush show in probably over 10 years. I'm making a distinction between religion and morals. Think about it. There are lots of different religions that have similar morals such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The morals that are generally set by the texts of these three chief religions (and I'm sure Buddaism and Hinduism are similar), share very similar morals. Therefore, you can be in one of a myriad of religions while having similar morals yet different beliefs. Following these morals doesn't mean you have to follow a particular belief.
So, while morals are separate from religion, they still have some relation in that what people generally see as morals come from religious texts and upbringings. I don't see why that's so hard to understand.

Posted by Cameron at May 19, 2003 3:31 PM

So, help me to understand your thinking with an answer to this one question. Does someone that has never been exposed to religion have morals? (Y or N)

Posted by jason at May 19, 2003 4:12 PM

Usually, though "having morals" isn't just a yes or no. I think 98% of the world's population has morals to some extent (most would agree murder is bad), but there exist higher morals (fornication, adultery) that many don't follow who aren't religious.

Posted by Cameron at May 19, 2003 4:29 PM

Note that by religious, I mean people that generally are active in their religion, not just someone who calls themselves religious. Also, there are religious people who have left certain morals in the dust as they do certain immoral (by these standards) acts.

Posted by Cameron at May 19, 2003 4:44 PM

I have no idea what fornication and homosexuality have to do with the article, except it said that Bush hasn't been forced to say anything about them. Basically we've established that most people agree to the same idea of what's right and wrong, at least to the extent where interacting with other people is concerned, except people of a Muslim/Judeo-Christian background who tend to have different views on sex than other folks. I don't see what sex has to do with running the country, so I don't see the big advantage that a Christian President gives us. Mind you, I don't have a problem at all with a President who is guided by Christian morals; I think it's a great thing. I just think, like Dan, that said Christian morals should guide in private when it comes to public offices.So, explain again how Christian morals are better than atheist, agnostic, or neo-pagan morals. I've known people of all the above persuasions who are friendly and moral people, at least according to their own systems of morality. I've also known some pretty darn rude and unhappy Christians. I think that examining the whole character of a person is far more important than what particular beliefs caused that character to develop.To sum up: The article was interesting, and as far as Bush is faithful to Christian moral values, I respect him for that. However, I would rather Bush be more tactful in his use of overt religion in speeches and other official business. I would rather know a person's religion by his actions than his words, and this applies even more so to a person in public office. Finally, although I believe the principles set forth in Christianity to be correct, I take offense to the belittling of other moral systems that may be missing a principle or two. A moral atheist is just as fit for office as a moral Christian, and I would vote based on platform and relevant character traits rather than personal beliefs.

Posted by Levi at May 19, 2003 9:52 PM

A year or so ago, I got an email out of the blue from an Aaron, an ex from 10 years ago. We had an interesting email conversation about morals within and without religion. He is atheist. His ex and the mother of his son has married an LDS guy, she has joined the church as well and wants to raise this son in the church, including baptism, possibly sealing to the step-father, etc. Her primary argument for this is "to give the child a moral base". An argument which Aaron, understandably, disagrees with. I agree with him. Conscientious parenting will raise a child with morals. I can think of better reasons she could have given him but that's another story.I had to deliver some bad news to Aaron during the course of these emails. After he expressed his disdain for the ex's newfound religion, I had to tell him that 2 more of his ex's (me and the girl he dated before me) are also LDS. I think this troubled him. 3 ex's became Mormon in Nebraska. I'm sure he's wondering if he drove us to it. LOL!

Posted by Renee at May 20, 2003 9:05 PM

Everybodt needs God in thier lioves they just have to open thier eyes and relize that.

Posted by Andre at December 13, 2003 1:43 PM

i am a pagan. the president attacks my goddess with every anti-environmental policy he makes. why is his god better than mine. and how is it okay for him to use his personal religous beliefs to decide what a counrty with diverse beliefs should do.

Posted by lorrie at April 4, 2004 1:25 PM

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Last Updated 11/07/03