• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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The Idol Bush

When I read a while back that Bush ghost-writer and confidant Karen Hughes considered that God had arranged things so that George Bush had “come to a royal position for such a time as this”, I assumed she must be some sort of Christian Reconstructionist, thirsting for Christian dominion over society. But her Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church would same to have a different, quite mainstream perspective. Although Calvinist, the church belongs to the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination, which holds the position that:

Because we live as Reformed Christians in this tension between obedience to civil authority and critical evaluation of it, we have strongly supported the separation of church and state as institutions. While this does not mean that we have put our faith aside as Christian citizens, it does mean that we have not only felt free to challenge those in authority but also have resisted efforts to impose the beliefs of any particular religion, including our own, upon the whole of society through the use of governmental authority.

What’s more:

It is the job of the church to see clearly the “idolatries in church and culture” that we are called to “unmask” (Brief Statement of Faith). The pastor of one of our large Presbyterian churches, preaching in the aftermath of “9/11,” raised the question, “Are we going to take off our WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do?”) bracelets and replace them with the American flag?” We may well wish to wear both, but we should never be in doubt as to which one deserves our highest loyalty…we can challenge every earthly authority to remember that they serve at the pleasure of a God who is just and merciful and requires the same of them.

Also of interest: Hughes’s pastor, Douglas Fletcher, appears to be a supporter of Palestinian rights. Perhaps he could have a word…

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