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Bush, Lieberman, God and the Media

by James Gibson


When Joseph Lieberman made his first speech after Al Gore selected him as his vice presidential running mate, the Connecticut senator made reference to God no less than thirteen times in one and a half minutes. Predictably, the liberal media rejoiced that Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, had injected his sincerely held religious beliefs into the campaign.

However, it was only a few months ago, when George W. Bush named Jesus Christ as the most important person in his life, that this same liberal media was fit to be tied that a presidential candidate would dare to discuss his faith in such personal terms. Bush was deemed unfit for office because of the possibility that he would allow his sincerely held religious beliefs to influence important domestic and international decisions.

Liberals dismiss this obvious double standard by claiming that Lieberman's God is an "all-inclusive" and "tolerant" deity while Bush's God is the embodiment of intolerance, bigotry and numerous other evils which have scarred Western civilization for centuries. But, in doing so, they only demonstrate their total ignorance of all things religious.

Christians believe Jesus Christ to be God's ultimate revelation of himself. In Christ, the Old Testament promise of the Messiah is fulfilled. By his death on the cross, Christ satisfied the requirements of the Old Testament law, thus reconciling God with humanity and humanity with God. From the perspective of Calvary, the whole of the biblical narrative makes sense. The overarching themes of grace and mercy, love and compassion, forgiveness and redemption run consistently throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

This is the Jesus Christ to whom George W. Bush refers when he says, "Christ changed my heart and transformed my life."

Absent the cross as a point of reference, however, the Old Testament is a tragic story of a people utterly incapable of satisfying a God who demands absolute obedience to his laws. In the Old Testament, God is not above wiping out entire races and nations if they run afoul of his decrees. He is just as likely to obliterate humanity through the waters of a raging flood as he is to rain down fire from heaven to destroy two cities overpopulated by men of excessive sexual appetites. Far from being "all-inclusive" and "tolerant," he demands there be no other gods before him. His idea of justice includes putting to death children who bad-mouth their parents. His constant refrain to his "chosen people," Joseph Lieberman's forebears, is "Be holy, for I am holy." When his people fail to live up to such a standard, he finally sends them off into exile at the hands of their brutal, godless, oppressive enemies.

This is the God to whom Joseph Lieberman refers when he says, "God bless America."

In the upside-down world of American liberalism, the sincerely held religious beliefs of a conservative are a serious threat to a free society. But the equally sincere beliefs of a liberal are considered benign, generic and perfectly appropriate as metaphors in political oratory. There seems to be little doubt that both George W. Bush and Joseph Lieberman are men of sincere faith, and the unfolding presidential campaign will benefit greatly from their deeply held convictions. There is also little doubt that partisans on both sides will shamelessly exploit these men's faith for political gain. But the real tragedy–or perhaps comedy–of this campaign will be the willing refusal of the liberal media to probe the depths of both the sincerity of the candidates and the shamelessness of their respective parties.

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