George W. Bush and the teachings of Jesus
Additional copies of this handout available for distribution at The Religious Left  (

Living in a threatening "post 9-11" world, many Christians derive comfort from the idea that the United States is under the leadership of a prayerful, Christian president. According to Howard Fineman of Newsweek (March 10, 2003), the Bush presidency is the most resolutely "faith-based" in modern times. During the presidential campaign of 2000, Bush named Jesus Christ as his "favorite philosopher", and Bush routinely ends speeches with the words "May God continue to bless America."

But in the Matthew, Chapter 7, Jesus says "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." We are cautioned not to pay attention merely to these people's words, but to look at their actions, and the "fruits" of their actions.

This is by no means an exhaustive discussion of Bush's words, actions, and policies through the lens of the teachings of Jesus. It really only scratches the surface. But hopefully it can serve as an invitation--to look behind the religiously tinged speech of George W. Bush and examine whether or not he is really a leader who bases his decisions on "what Jesus would do." To learn more about Bush's style of Christianity, read the article, Dangerous Religion: George W. Bush's theology of empire, by Jim Wallis of Sojourner's Magazine and Bush and God, by Howard Fineman of Newsweek Magazine

On Public Prayer When a California federal appeals court found that including the words "under God" in the Pledge of Alliegance was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said President Bush believes the ruling is "ridiculous." (, June 27, 2002)

( In spite of his secular role in a country with a plurality of religions) By proclamation of Governor George W. Bush, 10 June 2000 was 'Jesus Day' in Texas. (

(Matthew 6:4-6) And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
On Forgiveness Bush indicated that he was running out of patience. Asked if he planned to set an ultimatum for Saddam's compliance, Bush suggested that would be pointless, like extending "another, another, another last chance." (CBS News, Feb 18, 2003)
(Matthew 18:22) Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
On Mercy In an interview with Talk magazine, Bush imitated (Karla Faye) Tucker's appeal for him to spare her life - pursing his lips, squinting his eyes, and in a squeaky voice saying, "Please don't kill me." (Wayne Madsen, (Luke 6) Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful

On Good and Evil referred to Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil". (State of the Union Address, 2002)
--repeatedly refers to struggle between good and evil, always casting the actions of the United States as "good" "...there's power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people."
(State of the Union Address, 2003)

(Matthew 7)"Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

( Mark 10:18) "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good–except God alone.

On Capital Punishment During his tenure as Governor, Bush presided over a record setting 152 executions...The Washington Post's Richard Cohen reported in October 2000 that one of the execution chamber's "tie-down team" members, Fred Allen, had to prepare so many people for lethal injections during 2000, he quit his job in disgust. (Wayne Madsen,

(John 8) The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

On What Really Matters
5/2003 Bush blocks human rights cases from reaching U.S. courts.
2/2003 Bush cuts federal housing subsidies.
2/2003 Bush cuts aid to the poor in his budget.
1/2003 Bush proposes yet more tax cuts for the rich.
12/2002 Bush kills rule allowing new parents to collect unemployment.
9/2002 Bush proposes a reduction in Medicare payments.
4/2002 Bush considers eliminating requirements for testing children for lead.
4/2001 Bush cuts health programs for uninsured.
See also Caught on Film: the Bush Credibility Gap

(Matthew 25) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

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