Earlier this week, President Bush sat down for an interview with ABC’s Cynthia McFadden during which he was asked about his views regarding the Bible and evolution:
MCFADDEN: Is it literally true, the Bible?
BUSH: You know. Probably not … No, I’m not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament, for example is … has got … You know, the important lesson is “God sent a son.”
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible…
BUSH: That God in the flesh, that mankind can understand there is a God who is full of grace and that nothing you can do to earn his love. His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior.
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can — it’s not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.
BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn’t fully explain the mystery of life and …
MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?
BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.
MCFADDEN: But what about …
BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can — you’re getting me way out of my lane here. I’m just a simple president. But it’s, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don’t think it’s incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution.
For Rob Schenck of Faith and Action, this just serves as final proof of what he has known all along – that President Bush is not a very good Christian:
To begin with, for me the President’s comments are not stunning. Early into his first term, I saw that Christians, particularly Evangelicals like me, had jumped to some conclusions about what Mr. Bush believed and how he lives his faith. I had E-mail corresponded with one of his pastors back in Texas, and through it learned that the Bushes lived out a fairly common Methodist, middle-of-the-road Protestant, but never-the-less meaningful Christianity.
The Bushes have never been the Sunday-morning-Wednesday-night, Gospel-tract-leaving, Praise-the-Lord-saying, Christian-radio-listening, Bible-bookstore-shopping, born-again-believers that a lot of Christians assumed them to be.
I also saw a gradual erosion of the President’s faith over the time he was in office. My first alarm bells went off when he and the First Lady decided not to continue attending the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, near our ministry center. Lincoln Park UMC is a predominantly African-American congregation pastored by the very evangelical Reverend Dr. Harold D. Lewis. Pastor Lewis has been with us for a number of ministry events, including our delegation to the White House that presented a Ten Commandments sculpture for display there. Dr. Lewis has also been associated with our good friend of many years and fellow pro-life activist, Dr. Johnny Hunter, of the Life Education and Resource Center, America’s largest and fastest growing African-American pro-life and pro-family organization.
Instead of Lincoln Park UMC, President and Mrs. Bush chose the so-called “Presidents’ Church,” St. John’s Episcopal, just a block from the White House. While the congregation there has a venerable history as one of the oldest continuous churches in Washington, and one that has well-served presidents of the past, it has lately become a theologically moderate to left-leaning liberal church, and, is, of course, affiliated with the Washington Diocese of the Episcopal Church USA. It’s been known to sport a rainbow flag outside. I do know there was quite a debate within the parish on the question of same-sex “marriage.” I don’t know how it was resolved.
I did admonish the President about his choice of churches, respectfully calling his attention to the potentially deleterious effect that certain types of spiritual company can have on the state of one’s soul. He defensively dismissed it, saying it was a Secret Service decision. Odd, because the Secret Service is obligated to protect the president wherever he may decide to go, even to places like Iraq. I would think St. John’s would be an easier exercise.
All this to say that we must continue to pray for President Bush–and anyone who occupies this high office; the Bible commands it and our natural impulse should be to do it. Some have suggested Christians are to blame for the President’s eroded spiritual condition because we didn’t adequately pray for him. Well, I’m just Reformed enough in my theology to think that the President’s spiritual state lies securely in the hands of God, not in ours.