God is their copilot

By Jake Tapper


Salon Staff
July 11, 2000 11:00PM (UTC)

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So, George W. Bush is a Methodist who sounds like a proselytizing, hard-line Southern Baptist, who would quote Scripture more often if he could just remember what it actually says. And Gore is a Southern Baptist who sounds more like a former Catholic priest -- specifically, of the Jesuit intellectuals -- who chose to walk a different path in faithful service.

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Based on my longtime admiration of the Jesuits and their works on faith and spirituality as it relates to issues of human existence on the Earth God gave us and the social systems that govern our relationships here, I'll say this article illuminated one more reason to hurry up and order my Gore 2000 bumper sticker.

-- Vikki Cravens

As an evangelical conservative, I appreciated Jake Tapper's insightful and well-balanced article on the faith of both Bush and Gore. The salient point made is that both men recognize the power of the State and that its leaders are subject to a higher power and law. The nation is well-served if it returns to the values of its fathers, which held that there are eternal and absolute truths. The love of God and of fellow man is ultimately of greater worth than the love of self and the pursuit of selfish desires. Sadly, the Clinton era has personified a "me-first" attitude and it will be gratifying to move into either a Bush or Gore era of greater altruism.

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-- Douglas R. Slagle

I congratulate Salon on leading with a story about religion and the 2000 campaign. Far too many in the press, and as the article rightly pointed out the liberal press in particular, ignore this very important topic.

However, I must disagree with Alan Dershowitz's assertion, quoted by Jake Tapper, that the Democratic Party was "traditionally more secular" until Carter. Earlier, Tapper correctly cited the example of William Jennings Bryan as a presidential candidate whose campaigns were wholly rooted in evangelical piety and fervor. Bryan was, of course, a Democrat. He spoke for a large constituency of the Democratic Party at the turn of the 20th century, that constituency being middle- and lower-class white Southerners who were overwhelmingly evangelical Protestants and were quite comfortable with the language that equated political campaigns with religious crusades. By contrast, the Republicans were often the ones uncomfortable with mixing religion and politics and preferred to talk about business and the role of government.

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The "switch," then, has more to do with conservative rejection of the radical politics of the '60s and Nixon's successful wooing of conservative Southern Democrats into the Republican party, most of whom brought their religion with them. Carter's very success in 1976 depended in part on being able to woo them back (temporarily) by speaking their religious language.

-- Clay O'Dell

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Both Bush and Gore talk a lot about God. It's a shame we can't know what God would say about them.

-- David P. Graf


Salon Staff

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