Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Donald Miller on President Bush

Personally, my opinion of George W Bush has fallen recently and I have to say I agree with what a lot of what Donald Miller has to say in this post. I may take some flack for posting this but this is a blog. And people can have their own opinions. Anyhow, for what it's worth, here is the link to the post and I've also included the entire post below the link.


May 8th.

USA Today released a new poll today marking President Bush’ approval rating at 31%. If you are wondering, that’s pretty low. This means the only two communities in America that still support the President are the wealthy, and conservative evangelical Christians, two groups who are, quite nearly, binary opposites.

His falling approval ratings have caused me to question, once again, why it is the evangelical community admires this President. I’ve been wondering what the real reasons are, not the ones so commonly given, about him being a defender of freedom and all of this.

Here are a few suggested reasons, judge them for yourselves:

1. He is like them: President Bush is positioned as somebody who is "like" the modern evangelical. Bush speaks candidly and openly about a conversion experience and a personal relationship with Jesus. He’s a Methodist in practice and it is widely known he holds Bible studies and prayer meetings in the White House. These actions are considered discipleship initiatives by evangelicals in America. That said:
2. He is like them: The particular version of Christianity Bush subscribes to is heavily influenced by Americana, that is his spirituality is self-help, his social justice methodology is free-market (that is not entirely a criticism, by the way) and his theology is simple (good guys/bad guys, us vs. them, Jesus wears a cowboy had and fought at the Alamo, all captured in Mel Gibson’s movie about the life of Jesus entitled Bravehart)
3. He is like them: Bush takes stands; he thinks in black and white, he is not a flip flopper. He sees something wrong, and he does not seek to understand, he attacks. He has clearly defined enemies, both personally and patriotically. This gives the modern evangelical a clear association with someone good fighting someone bad, and so hijacks the "fans" ego through emotional gratification rather than reason. This personality trait of Bush’ is seen by many Christians as a virtue.
4. He is like them: Bush is not intimidating, either in stature, character or intellect. This trait makes people comfortable.
5. He is like them: Bush stands against Gay Marriage and for unborn children. These two issues define Christian concern for legislative dealings. Bush is a champion of these issues, and wins the hearts of evangelicals in his stance.

And of course there are more, but this should get the discussion started. And while Bush is all these things, and they are mixed in my opinion in terms of being both good and bad (each idea is certainly debatable), he is also so much more, and the "more" is the part hidden from the evangelical populous who so blindly support him.

Here are some examples of how Bush is unlike the average evangelical.

1. He is not like them: He is dishonest: While Clinton is often seen as a liar by the evangelical community, at least he had the integrity to say "sexual relations" as opposed to "sex." What he said regarding Monica Lewinsky, then, was technically true (though no less misleading and dishonest and furthermore dishonorable.) It is President Bush who has no such conscious. I can only think he considers his lies justified by his American/Christian agenda. That is, he believes it is okay to use Satan’s tactics to build God’s kingdom. The specific lies are too numerous to mention, but see this short list: http://www.bushwatch.com/bushlies.htm
2. He is not like them: He is the product and defender of wealth. Unless you are a millionaire and have close ties to Saudi Arabia, you are not like George W. Bush. His agenda is a pro-oil, pro corporate agenda. Is this good for Christians? Not necessarily. Corporations have killed the American family, polluted the environment, enslaved children of second and third world countries, along with their parents, been discontent with their own boundaries in alignments with dictatorships and evil regimes, and distorted the American thought process into believing quick fix, unbiblical (read: unrealistic) solutions to problems (a bombardment of commercials has trained our minds to believe a small investment in a given product will solve a problem related to the product, even if the product is a piece of crap). So close are the ties between Bush and oil, the counsel for the defendants in the Enron trial of Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay favored jurors based upon, among other criteria, their pro Bush sentiments.
3. He is not like them: While evangelicals follow the Prince of Peace, Bush has shown little interest in peace. In a way, however, because there is only one peace studies program at any Christian University or college in all America (Anderson University, Messiah College also has a minor) Bush really is like the modern evangelical, but he is not like Jesus in this way. Bush’ idea of peace comes through policing and intimidating the world.
4. He is not like them: Bush’ black-and-white, simplified version of reality is hardly Biblical. The God of scripture describes a complex reality in which steadfast determination is not considered virtuous in a social climate always in flux. That is, the truth doesn’t change, but people are not perfect in their understanding of truth. Paul presents a message of Christ’s soon return, then later urges patience, saying God is not slow within His own experience of time. Peter, upon Paul’s argument about Gentiles, changes his mind to entertain a table with them. A Christian virtue seems to involve an understanding one will make mistakes, and a humility to change, adapt, learn and lead. Bush (along with nearly every other American president since the invention of radio) does not admit mistakes.

In the end, we have a President who represents and was produced by a corporate greed that barters for oil on foreign soil, defends trade relations with military action, retaliates against the reaction to that infringement with more military action (spinning the reality into simplified Hollywood plot-scenarios) and has robbed the church of it’s identity as the Kingdom of God.

But he does hold a Bible study in the White House. And he prays. Perhaps he should pray for his friends who are standing trial for pump-and-dump frauds that stole millions from their employees, and for his own Vice President who cusses like a sailor and mistakes hunting buddies for small birds.

Now here is the point: Bush is not a bad man misleading and manipulating the church in America for a vote. He is actually, in part, a product of the church. Bush, as afore suggested, nurses upon two teats: corporate America, and Christian America. Ultimately, then, I’ve not given the ultimate true reason evangelicals favor Bush. The truth is evangelicals do not support Bush because he is like them; they support him because they created him.

As for Republican presidents, I miss Ronald Reagan. I don’t miss Reagan because he was perfect, he did lie about Iran Contra and played his part in creating the mess we are currently in, but I do miss him because he was nobody’s pawn. He negotiated the end of the cold war without picking up a gun, he believed in trickle-down economics but understood corporate greed, he had deep-seated beliefs about Democracy, about the beauty (not the perfection) of America, he did not enable members of his own administration, and had the guts to fire failures, he did not see Israel as a good-luck charm of which America could stroke for favor from God, and he liked the idea of God as a benevolent Father who provided for, disciplined and rebuked. He believed America was the shining city and chose for this country to act as a role model for the world. He was not an arrogant man. He was not a weak man. He was not a simple man. He was not a foolish man.

Before running for governor of Texas, bush lobbied Major League Baseball to become President of that association. He would have done a great job and been a role model to many in that position. But real life is not a game, and dead people are not points. And nobody, right now, is winning anything.

Things I did not say:
1. Republicans are bad
2. Bush is completely bad.
3. There is no benefit to individuals or the world from corporations.
4. Ronald Reagan was perfect.
5. Trickle-down economics is perfect.

Further reading? Consider "American Theocracy" by Republican strategist Kevin Phillips.

Things I believe Bush is doing right:
1. He is openly and boldly taking questions from the American people.
2. He is publicly asking America to invest intellectually and financially in alternative sources of energy.
3. He is praying.

Posted: Saturday : August 06, 2005


Blogger friend said...

I think Donald tries to oversimplify things. Being a president who values the free market - does not = sucking at the teat of corporate america.

It is easy to pick on somebody who decided to take the uneasy choice of running away, or doing the useless path of endless diplomacy - sometime you have to say wrong is wrong and then put up. Bush did it.

Has he had corrupt people, certainly. Has he gotten rid of some, certainly.

I don't agree with this post...Bush has always defended the rights of people different from himself, speaking love for immigrants, speaking love for muslims, speaking about working together with democrats...

He has given more money to the poor and people with aids than any other president before him.

He has done more to help faith based charities serve the poor.

He has done more for racism by "showing people," what equality is rather than talking about it: look at the people he has surrounded himself with, that is diversity.

History will judge his decisions as even more effective than Ronald Reagans, and our world will be changed for the better, despite bad advice from his counselors on weapons of mass destruction.

But, I guess I am from that ignorant evangelical side that just blindly bleats like a goat at the teat of corporations and the religious right.

It is too easy to criticize from behind the clever pen or good writing skills and liberal bents.

This Keith is not directed at you, but Donald. I love you dearly and think differences in opinions are good. I just don't agree with his view.

I'd rather have a faithful Christian that makes mistakes as a leader than a man who sexually abuses those under his authority, does nothing to stop tyranny around the world, and is a representative for liberalism and decadence.

8:55 PM  
Blogger friend said...

2nd paragraph - should have said

It is easy to pick on somebody who decided to not take the easy choice of running away...


8:57 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Very good points Ben and I don't take differences of opinion personally. Even if it is directed at me (and I know you said it wasn't). But even if it was I know you'd do it in love brother.

Speaking of brother, my brother Carl posted a great comment however I can't see it on my blog. I did get an email saying a comment was submitted by him.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Carl Kincaid said...

It's really hard to say on this one. I am still a Capitalist and a Republican, politically speaking. I sometimes have a hard time justifying my political position with my Christian worldview - as Capitalist Republicanism tends to be selfish. I do like the concept of "compassionate conservatism," though it is often an "oxymoron." What I like and agree with as it pertains to Capitalist Republicanism is that we are all responsible for making it on our own. We all have access to "The American Dream." I still think that is true today. And, I think it is even MORE true to the "disenfranchised," i.e., those that are living in poverty. There are TONS of programs that give the poor and disenfranchised opportunities - even above and beyond those opportunities that are afforded to our own children (since we're white and middle class and all. . .).

Further in defense of Bush and the Republican agenda. Most of the things that people hold against him (Bush) are because he has tried to placate the liberals. The Islamic world WANTS US DEAD. No questions asked. We are the bad guys. But Bush, our military, etc. have all tried to be "rational" when dealing with these irrationals. It's a "no-win" situation. And it's hard to criticize him and our government accept to say that he has probably been too easy on them to try to be "diplomatic."

I am also a huge Donald Miller fan. And I understand his positions, even though I think that sometimes he is too critical (and liberal) in his own thinking.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm glad I'm under Grace, and I'm damn glad I'm not president. . . !

4:47 PM

7:27 AM  
Blogger friend said...

true that carl.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

I see it now Carl. Don't really know what happened but glad it is here now. Thanks man!

So are you gonna clue me in on this "big change" in your life coming up?

I myself am a registered Republican but have a bit of a problem with GW these days. I guess it has to do with his "big oil" and "corporate" mindset. And I do think he has been a bit untruthful about things and the whole FEMA thing with Katrina was a joke.

I also have a major problem with the evangelical right wingers and all of the gay bashing they do and the "holier than thou" act.

Discussion is good. I appreciate the comments that both of you posted.

Now............let's hear from my Dad. heh heh heh.

I still remember Christmas Eve in their backyard and mom yelling "No discussing politics at the table please".

Good times!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Carl Kincaid said...

The "big oil" and "corporate mindset" are two of the biggest tactics the liberals use to pit the rich vs the poor. And fuel the "poor's" low self-esteem and sense of victimhood. "See," say the liberals, "you need us. We're here to take care of you and protect you. The Republicans all want you to get educated, get jobs, then you'd have to do WORK." Then they ask them for money and the cycle continues. A great book to read is "The Vision of The Anointed" by Thomas Sowell. He does an excellent job showing how liberal thinking brings us all down.

Now, am I defending oil companies or Walmart or whatever? In some ways, yes. But, there are anti-monopoly or oligopoly (or one of those "polys") laws that will come into play if they have indeed colluded and fixed prices. But, doggone it, WE HAVE A CHOICE. We can use less fuel. The liberal mindset is a "have your cake and eat it, too" mindset all too often.

RE: my upcoming change, it will happen sooner rather than later. It's good, and I'm excited about it.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Carl Kincaid said...

And don't get me started on FEMA/Katrina. New Orleans is a city in a bowl. What happened was inevitable. And what I can't believe is that not only are we paying to clean up something that is not my responsibility (my position: they chose to live there, they new the risk. They are responsible. Not me). AND NOW WE'RE REBUILDING IT! And paying for it.

I'm sorry for the loss people suffered. Especially the deaths. But what happened in New Orleans was not a surprise. And I don't know why it's Bush's fault. That was a local nightmare with the city government and state government not handling it. Could FEMA have handled it better? Absolutely.

It's like those people who live in the trailer parks down near the river in the flood plains. They're always on the news after they flood, they are getting government grants and funding to clean up their trailers and put them back on the same place. AND I'M PAYING FOR IT. Same way I'm paying for something that I am not responsible for in New Orleans.

That's the difference between politically liberal and conservative thinking, in my opinion.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I agree with you a bit on the Katrina issue. It was inevitable that it would happen one day with a direct hit from a major hurricane and it did.

I do not think that it was all Bush's fault at all. A lot of it should fall on the local government there in N.O. But that FEMA director was a joke. If I recall correctly, he was not even qualified for the job yet Bush appointed him.

I work for the Federal Government myself and I see and hear stuff EVERY SINGLE day that just boggles my mind. It is just a bunch of bureaucratic crap. From the top down.

We get stuff sent to the field all the time in my department. They tell us how and when to use it. These people don't have a CLUE what we do in the field and the stuff we get usually and I do mean MOST of the time, doesn't work. This is the way the government runs things.

I agree with you on the position that there are ways for those less fortunate to get back on their feet. Most choose not to unfortunately.

I know it is a touchy issue and we all have our own opinions. I appreciate all of the dialogue.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Pinay said...

and should i say, i am learning from you on the issue. beautiful discussion.

8:34 PM  
Blogger xfevv said...

My turn. Those of you that know me know that I am a huge supportrer of the President. I know that he has had his issues and yes there are a number of things that I get very frustrated with him about. Some of those things include his lack of a strong position on immigration and all of the things that while not wrong, get spun to make him look bad, i.e the "domestic spying" issue amongst others. He has had his share of faults, failure to veto bills, nominations that were not the best choice, spending that is out of control however even with all of those things I believe that he has done more good than harm for our country. As Ben mentioned he has given more money to help the worlds poor and dying than any other President in history, he has been activly involved in pushing for peace to the forgotten areas of the world such as Darfur (Clinton brought peace to Ireland while ignoring the crys for help from thousands in Rowanda), he is the first president to make a big push towards alt energy (not quite inline for a guy suckling on the teat of "big oil"), our econemy is strong and growing stronger every day, the unemployment rate is at one of the lowest points its been at since the mid sixtys. As far as him being a Christian goes, I for one am glad that there is a man of God, although just as imperfect as the rest of us, in office. You can be sure that a man who makes it a priority to pray every day is being led by God and, even with all of his faults, that is a conforting thought

9:26 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks Obie! It's great to hear from you and I appreciate your comments also even though it looks like I'm in the minority here, at least in this discussion. :-)

11:18 AM  
Blogger friend said...

I have to agree with Carl and kinda feel like you have listened to too much cnn or media of some sort that is telling you one side of the story, Donald Miller, Okeef, I'm not sure - but it seems like all the standard attack stuff- Bush has been defensive and compassionate to homosexuals and the poor as far as I can tell. I can't find a fault with Bush except where he has been too liberal with handing out money.

I don't see where you get that he has been big oil, in what way?

And Katrina was soooooooo not his fault - look at the liberal governor and point out what he did...nothing...maybe made it worse.

Alright love you man.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Brotha Ben,

I don't care too much for CNN, but I also don't care so much for FOXnews either. I'm not too liberal, nor am I too conservative. I probably lean more towards the conservative side though (pro-life, pro-family, etc). But you won't find me out protesting in front of an abortion clinic or at a gay rally either, even though I don't agree with either one.

I do however like Donald Miller (it's your fault heh heh heh) and John O'keefe and believe in a lot of their viewpoints.

I understand that GW is pushing for alternative fuel sources. At least that is what he is saying. But you can't tell me that he has absolutely no interest in oil being the big Texas oilman that he is. maybe I'm just pissed off because it costs me an arm and a leg just to fill up my Honda Civic.

As for Katrina...
No it wasn't his fault, although he took responsibility for it which I totally respect him for because he is our nation's leader. But he did appoint this guy Mike Brown who had absolutely no credentials whatsoever for the job.
Like Carl said, N.O. is in a bowl and it was inevitable that it would happen. people are rebuilding there and it could happen again.

As for Iraq. I support Bush on that one.

I voted for him. I am glad that he is a Christian and I do pray for him. But I still don't have to agree with him on all of the issues.

With all that being said and me saying thanks for all of the discussion, I'll quote my brother Carl from a few comments back into this discussion.........

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm glad I'm under Grace, and I'm damn glad I'm not president. . . !

Peace out and I love all you guys man!

9:03 PM  
Blogger friend said...

You obviously haven't read enough driscoll or you would be cussing me out. By the way his latest book is theeeeeeee best. So funny.

peace out.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I read the entire book Radical reformission in like 3 days. Great book and I like Driscoll too. I did hear that he got into a bit of a flap on some blog cussing people out though...BUT...he did apologize, admit his fault in doing that, and for that he is forgiven.

Oh, and I would never cuss you out. I can disagree without cussing. :-)

BTW...I won't be at the Power Ranch men's group Monday as I have to work that evening. I've been on evenings and will be through Monday night. I wanted to help you guys out with the Senior wake-up thing but I will be in Tucson that morning. Actually, I'll be there the day before that. I am spending a couple of days with my mom and taking her out to lunch since I won't see her on Mother's day!

See you Sunday man!

8:57 AM  

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