October 30, 2004

George Bush is a well-meaning, committed, born-again Christian” but just does not have the skills or ability to handle the job — so argues a gentle, passionate, intelligent paper I received yesterday. I do not agree with every sentence in this paper, but I highly recommend it — especially to born-again, evangelical, or even fundamentalist Christians — for careful, prayerful reading. Here are a few excerpts (thanks to Cary Barker).

Dear Fellow Christians,

In 2000 we elected a President whose Christian faith was comforting and reassuring to many of us. It seemed he could turn this country in a new moral direction, and restore dignity to the White House. … I believe George Bush is a well-meaning, committed, born-again Christian whom I will know for eternity in Heaven. I also believe, based on his actions, that he does not have the skills to manage this country through one of the most dangerous times we have ever lived in. This is not a moral failing on his part. It is simply a lack of important skills. Like a well-meaning minister who endangers his church, President Bush has unintentionally but seriously endangered the country.

Meanwhile, there’s that horrendous deficit he’s racked up … How can we do this to our children? How can we consider this good stewardship before God? And what did we spend it on? Mostly on a tax cut – something no President has done in a time of war or national emergency. He made no call for shared sacrifice for the common good. He insisted on tax cuts that benefited the rich most, even as our troops entered Baghdad without adequate armor or other supplies.

Despite the warnings from many advisors, President Bush led us to invade and ineptly occupy a country we did not need to invade, at terrible cost to ourselves and others. Experts in war strategy and intelligence have warned that we have created more terrorism, not less, by attacking Iraq. …we have seen our President declare that it is OK to sometimes willfully violate the Geneva conventions against torture – conventions that uphold the highest ideals of Christianity. We have even seen some of our soldiers commit torture there. Yet when someone asked President Bush in the first debate if he has made any mistakes, he said he could only think of a few bad appointments he’d made. Is this personal accountability?

Dear friends, do the Scriptures tell us to simply choose a leader because of his religious affiliation or his prayerfulness? While admirable, does that make him competent to protect our children’s lives? … John Kerry is a devout, prayerful Catholic. Though we may not feel as familiar with his faith, we share the central thing – Christ. … We also know that Senator Kerry’s faith animated his public service from very early in his life, including his service in Vietnam. Many of us disagree strongly with Senator Kerry on his position toward abortion. … Our disagreement with Senator Kerry’s view on one important issue, though, should not close our minds to the other important issues if we hope to care for the whole of the society we pray for. As for ‘gay marriage’, Senator’ Kerry’s position is essentially the same as that of President Bush’s.

In light of Mr. Bush’s tragic mistakes in office, the choice we face argues strongly for change. While we may disagree with any leader’s positions on certain issues, the overall direction of Senator Kerry’s life, his moral courage, his thoughtful compassion, and his faith, mark him as a potentially great and good leader worthy of our respect and support as fellow Christians and countrymen.