I usually don’t update twice in one day, but I saw this piece come across the wire a few minutes ago, and I know that it’s going to be a talking point for a long time to come. So far no real large news agency is carrying the story, but here it is in a nutshell (as told by the Daily Times of Pakistan):
WASHINGTON: The mystery as to why US President George Bush decided to invade Iraq stands resolved. It was God who told him to do so, he told Palestinian leaders two years ago. Not only Iraq, but Afghanistan also got invaded because of a divine directive. This is the first time the president, a born-again Christian, has claimed that God communicates with him direct. God also told him, he said, to create a Palestinian state. This revelation about the US president’s inspiration and statecraft is due to be made in a BBC programme to be broadcast on October 10. In it, the Palestinian prime minister and foreign minister describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003. Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath says, “President Bush said to all of us: ‘God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan and end tyranny in Iraq.’”
Okay. Not exactly a fair, balanced, and unopinionated article, but here’s the thing – even if Bush said such a thing, I’m not sure it’s understood by secularists how Fundamentalist Christians view their religion. The President subscribes to this theology, and he speaks frankly, which is why I can see a quote like this taking a foothold, but still, it’s improper to assume that it’s true.
Any fundy will tell you that it doesn’t work like that (unless maybe they’re a Pentacostal). Really, it’s mostly the new agers and the like that believe that they have a direct line to God and hear actual audible words from him. Fundys tend to believe that the Holy Spirit will lead us to certain courses of action, but never will you hear your Baptist minister (if he has any reputation at all) tell you that God spoke a specific sentence to them in relation to current events. There is a subtle but distinct difference.
Regardless of whether Bush said he was led by the spirit or he spoke with God directly, he’s certainly not the first world leader to say he ‘spoke with God,’ and definately not the first US President to pray and be led by the spirit. Read Civil War letters, read federalist papers, read historical documents. How can you assume that we have inalienable, God-given rights, if you have no direction from God?
The only person a fundamentalist is ultimately accountable to is God, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that if the President truly subscribes to Christian doctrine, he would allow himself to be led by the Holy Spirit. Where secularists and I part company is I don’t believe that is a symptom of insanity, whereas most secularists do.