President George W. Bush finally seemed to be channeling Thomas Jefferson last Friday on a rare occasion when he shared his personal thoughts about different religions:
I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That’s what I believe.
Yes, he did leave atheist Americans out of the equation, but this was about his personal belief, which doesn’t include a world without a universal creator intelligence, so I won’t knock him for that. It was just nice to hear him say praying to a higher power by a different name doesn’t automatically put a free-delivery tactical nuke in your mailbox.
What further almost knocked me out of my Barcalounger was when Bush drew attention to the fact that not all terrorists are Muslim, which has been inferred by the religious right so many times since 9/11:
…we had a person blow up our – blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that’s not a Christian act to kill innocent people.
I know Bush has been a big bad dumb wolf in sheep’s clothing most of his Presidency, so don’t call me a fan of his continued march toward dictatorship. But I also think when he says something right, his words — and these latest words aren’t very popular among his evangelical-bomb-Iran-and-bring-on-Armageddon friends — should get some due attention.
So, even if he only said these words for show, I do now know that the thought of coexisting has at least crossed his neuron-starved brain, which is more than I used to believe.
More from Bush:
We are having an Iftaar dinner tonight – I say, ‘we’ – it’s my wife and I. This is the seventh one in the seven years I’ve been the president. It gives me a chance to say ‘Ramadan Mubarak.’ The reason I do this is I want people to understand about my country. In other words, I hope this message gets out of America. I want people to understand that one of the great freedoms in America is the right for people to worship any way they see fit. If you’re a Muslim, an agnostic, a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, you’re equally American.
And the value – the most valuable thing I think about America is that – particularly if you’re a religious person – you can be free to worship, and it’s your choice to make. It’s not the state’s choice, and you shouldn’t be intimidated after you’ve made your choice. And that’s a right that I jealously guard.
Secondly, I want American citizens to see me hosting an Iftaar dinner.
Read Bush’s full address to his Iftaar dinner guests here: President Bush Attends Iftaar Dinner at the White House.
[tags]George W. Bush, freedom of religion, Christians, Muslims, Iftaar dinner[/tags]