Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Michael Gerson yet again

I posted on Bush’s speechwriters ages ago here and here. Now the New York Times gets in on the act, writing about Gerson’s involvement in drafting GWB’s Inaugural Address. (Dare we call it his "Second Inaugural," with all the reverence that that implies?)

There’s another fun, but longish, tidbit here--a transcript, finally, of the conference on which the WaPo’s Alan Cooperman reported back in mid-December. If you suffer, as I do, from presbyopia, there’s a bigger-print version of it here.

Here are some of the many wise words in the transcript:


Every society, it seems to me, needs a standard of values that stands above the political order, or the political order becomes absolute. Christianity is not identical to any political ideology. It has had great influence precisely because it judges all ideologies. It indicts consumerism and indifference to the poor; it indicts the destruction of the weak and the elderly; it indicts tyranny and the soul-destroying excesses that sometimes come from freedom. And that leads me to certain conclusions. When religious people identify faith with a single political party or movement, they miniaturize their beliefs and they’re reduced to one interest group among many. When society banishes the influence of faith, it loses one of the main sources of compassion and justice.

And my view is summarized best by Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that the church should not be the master of the state or the servant of the state; it should be the conscience of the state.

There are clearly some dangers here at the crossroads of religion and politics. The danger for America is not theocracy. Banning partial birth abortion and keeping the status quo of hundreds of years on marriage are not the imposition of religious rule. But religious people can develop habits of certainty that get wrongly applied to a range of issues from economics to military policy. The teachings of the New Testament are wisely silent on most political issues, and these are a realm of practical judgment and should be a realm of honest debate.

Read the whole thing, when you get a chance.

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