A friend invited me to view last night's "Civil Forum on Leadership" online in real time from Saddleback Church featuring former President George W Bush and Pastor Rick Warren. This event was basically designed to promote/sell Mr. Bush' new book. While it was an intriguing almost 90 minute interview between Bush and Warren...I came away sincerely troubled by much of the attitude and quite a bit of the content that was communicated. This "forum" to me illustrated the worst of combined politics and religion...a combination that in my opinion has turned lethal and led the USA into a modern day version of "The Crusades" ...only THIS version of Crusade could turn nuclear in a heartbeat.
I truly don't wish this blog to be considered taking political sides. My observations would have been the same if President Obama or a Libertarian candidate would have been featured in such a manner. I imagine both men mean well in what they are trying to communicate and the leadership they are trying to inspire. At the same time, in my opinion the basis for their leadership and reasoning in so many things were unfounded, "un-Biblical" and lacking sensitivity and respect for the THOUSANDS of lives lost due to these political decisions and under their watch.
Here is my honest summary of the telecast I sent to my friend via email:
I caught all but the first 20-30 minutes. Nice to see the ex Pres in a more relaxed and contemplative setting and being more candid on certain things. I'm sure he is sincere and real about most of the things/stories he shared. I'm sure Laura is a wonderful lady. I still think if a rich man will find it so hard to enter the "Kingdom of Heaven", it will be twice as hard for a politician. (Of course you understand I am speaking "tongue in cheek").
It was somewhat nauseating to me the "good ole boy", backslapping approach Ricky took towards the former President. These people in my opinion are "trivializing" the risks of our country and the deaths of THOUSANDS that took place under their watch. There should be more solemnity...and yes APOLOGIES...for much that happened instead of trying to make each other out to be "God's modern day Messiahs". I'm sick of this pseudo religious posturing. Much of it is bad theology from my Biblical studies of many years. This is the worst marriage between bad politics and "syrupy" religion...
I still come away from this interview feeling that Bush Jr had much less intellect, class and grace than his father. I also think his father for all his "intellect, class and grace"...was guilty of some pretty heinous decisions and involvements going back as far as CIA directorship days and as the "hatchet man" for Reagan during the Iran Contra scandals...arming Iran and making a lot of USA enemies in Nicaragua and the rest of LatAm. While intentions may have been reasonable in their minds...the morals for many of those actions and international intervention are what we are now paying a price for in our country. I do not view these guys as "holy" men of faith. Sorry. Their theology goes to about the first grade level.
My biggest disappointment overall in life is not seeing more "leaders" of great intellect and moral character. I'm not talking about blowjobs in the oval office. I am talking about abiding by the constitution and voluntarily limiting powers and being honest and open with the electorate. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Bush was basically honest enough to admit that and to his "ego" during this program). I unfortunately feel and observe that all of these former USA leaders are in some regards corrupted by their power and tradeoffs they have made to get where they went...
Terms like "Good Book" and the "man upstairs" used so much by Bush and others are terms bred by "American style" Christianity. These terms to me are irreverent, basically secular vernacular. It seems to me the "Muslims" take their religion much more seriously/solemnly and for that reason are a growing tide in the world more than the Christian faith. Christianity has lost its "salt" and become just another "religion".
The final scary thought for me last night was that this tide of commentary and attitude expressed is the growing consensus in American consciousness. Rah rah patriotism tied to claims of "God's guidance" have put our country in a bad position globally...both economically and politically. In response to their own problems, the "powers that be" are passing more laws and regulations to control the tide of American's funds and thought process. This week you have seen the unprecedented shutdown of over 70 internet sites by the government without due process of law. After the fact they are trying to ram through legislation giving them legal support to do so when there are so many legal opinions that this is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, you can also see many of these lying political leaders shaking in their boots at the "Wikileaks" outing of their documents and communications that obviously won't line up with the political and media spin given to the general public on these recently catastrophic war activities. If you have studied Nazism in the 30s, these types of actions should bring tremendous fear to any true American's mind.
Perhaps the perfect conclusion for this blog is a news clipping sent to me today via email which I about 90% agree with...