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Governor Bush's Memo Re: "A Charge to Keep I Have"

The phrase, "a charge to keep," comes from one of the president's favorite Methodist hymns and holds important meaning to him. It is the title of his autobiography and the title of a painting he hung in his office while he was the governor of Texas. In this memo to his staff, then-Governor Bush writes about how the painting evokes for him their "mission" -- holding political office means having a moral obligation to use political power to help improve the world, and "we serve One greater than ourselves."

 

The "Jesus Day" Proclamation

The text of a March 17, 2000 proclamation by then-Governor George W. Bush which declared June 10, 2000 as "Jesus Day" in Texas.

 
 

Religion and the 2004 Vote

 
 

"Do the Democrats Have a Prayer?"

In June 2003 Amy Sullivan evaluated the crowded Democratic field of presidential contenders and realized that the candidates' lack of openness about faith could cost them the religious swing vote in the 2004 election. (The Washington Monthly, June 2003)

 

"The Myth of the 'God Gulf'"

Steven Waldman and John Green take a look at the difference between blue states and red states and find that they're not so different after all. " What we have seen is not a faith gap but a church attendance gap," they write. "... But church attendance is just one aspect of religiosity." (Beliefnet, February 3, 2004)

 

"A Test of Kerry's Faith"

What will be the consequences of presumed Democratic nominee John F. Kerry's conflict with Catholic canon over the issues of abortion, stem cell research or gay marriage? This Time magazine article takes a closer look at Kerry's faith and its impact on his campaign for the White House.(Time Magazine, April 5, 2004)

 

Politics and the Catholic Church

WBUR's "On Point" radio program hosted this 40-minute discussion on John F. Kennedy, John F. Kerry and the role of Catholicism in American politics. (April 27, 2004)

 

"Democrats Are Risking Political Damnation"

Ronald A. Lain, senior advisor to the Gore 2000 campaign, writes that "progressives should not belittle the notion that American foreign policy will support the objective of promoting God-given freedoms around the world. There is plenty of intellectual elitism in both parties, but in political terms, it's an arrogance that the Democrats would be well-advised to resist." (LA Times, April 16, 2004, free registration required)

 

"How Prayers Poll: Debunking myths about the religious right"

Steve Waldman, editor in chief of Beliefnet offers a guide to "sorting through some myths about God and American politics." (Slate.com, Oct. 10, 2003)

 

Divided Nation

Prompted by a recent survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and Press on the demographics of the electorate, "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer" held two discussions on the polarization of American voters and what it might mean for the 2004 election ("Newshour," November 6, 2003)

 
 

Religion, Public Life, and Public Policy

 
 

"Against Liberal Monism; On Secularism & Religion"

This essay by political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain rejects the argument that says "citizens who are believers are obliged to translate every view supported by their beliefs into a purportedly 'neutral' secular language." She maintains that faith is an integral part of the dialogue in the civic realm, and that in America, "it makes no sense to ask people to bracket what they care about most deeply when they debate issues that are properly political." (Daedalus, Summer 2003)

 

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

This organization, co-chaired by E.J. Dionne, was set up to keep government officials and advocacy groups informed about topics relevant to the role of religious faith in public policy. Among the issues covered are the death penalty, school prayer, and faith-based initiatives. The Pew Forum also offers the results of various surveys regularly conducted in cooperation with the Pew Research Center for the People and Press.

 

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

This watchdog group gathers information on issues such as faith-based initiatives, religion in schools, and judicial nominations. The Web site includes a news archive and a Web blog, "The Wall of Separation," which tracks church and state issues covered by the press.

 

God and Government

This special section of the "NOW with Bill Moyers" Web site examines America's religious make up and offers articles on church v. state issues including "Faith-Based Initiatives." (September 26, 2003)

 
 

Evangelicals

 
 

A Survey on America's Evangelicals

This April 2004 survey offers some surprising findings on evangelicals' views on society, culture and politics. This survey is part of the "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" series exploring evangelicals' growing social and political influence.

 

"The Opening of the Evangelical Mind"

A visit to Wheaton College in Illinois, a leading evangelical liberal arts institution, prompted Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, to examine the growth of evangelical intellectualism in America. (The Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 2000)

 

"God, Satan, and the media"

Cal Thomas critiques media coverage of evangelicals, writing that even as the media tries to admit its bias against evangelicals, as Nicholas Kristof did in a March 2003 New York Times op-ed piece, it reveals its ignorance. (Townhall.com, March 5, 2003)

 

National Association of Evangelicals

This organization's site offers news updates on issues which are important to evangelicals and links to affiliated organizations.

 

Sojourners

The Web site for the ministry responsible for Sojourners Magazine, a liberal evangelical publication whose editor in chief is Jim Wallis. Citing a mission "to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice," the magazine offers articles on topics ranging from family violence to the war in Iraq.

 

Evangelicals for Social Action

Web site for an evangelical activist organization that works for social and economic justice.

 

Southern Baptist Convention

This is the web site for this conservative evangelical organization whose Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is headed by Richard Land. The site offers an extensive resource of news and activities for churches and their members.

 
 

George W. Bush

 
 

"Bush and God"

Howard Fineman's Newsweek cover story on the biography of the president's faith and how it has shaped his adult life, political career, and how, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it is giving the president a sense, perhaps, of a fatalistic destiny. (Newsweek, March 10, 2003)

 

"'We Are All Sinners'"

Then-presidential candidate George W. Bush tells Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steve Waldman that "the president of the United States' job is not to try to convert people to religion. The president of the United States' job is to set an example, to make sound decisions, to respect religion, and, if asked, to herald religion. But the key is not to hold out, you know, my religion is better than yours." (Beliefnet, October 13, 2000)

 

"The Choice 2000"

This FRONTLINE program examined the life, career and political platform of George W. Bush, the Republican candidate in the 2000 election. The site includes interviews, a biographical photo album and video excerpts.

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posted april 29, 2004

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