All posts from “George W. Bush”

November 30, 2010

Rick Warren & Bush Talk Politics, Book

Former President George W. Bush and pastor Rick Warren said they hope the tax cuts continue under President Obama's administration, among several comments made last night at Saddleback's Civil Leadership Forum.

"We'd like to see those continue," Warren responded. "Yeah, I would too," Bush said.

The tax cuts will expire at the end of the year, and Congress is debating whether to extend them.

Warren and Bush joked like old friends, giving each other a high five and fist bumping at one point. "I have known this man for some time, and he has a wicked wit," Warren said.

Bush talked about some of the struggles he refers to in his new memoir Decision Points. "My love for alcohol was replacing my love for a lot of things, my love for my family, my love for my God," he said.

Bush spoke about the impact of prayer during his time in office and how it made the White House "joyous." "One of the biggest surprise if not the biggest surprise was the power of prayer of strangers and friends," Bush said, as a protester appeared to yell in the background. "You think you got it tough? Imagine the risen Lord, how he felt."

Bush reads voraciously (including the Bible every morning) and said he doesn't watch television except for the occasional sports game.

"I think religion is discipline," he said. I think you have to be disciplined, particularly when you’re being bombarded with stuff."

 

November 23, 2010

Barbara Bush: Housekeeper Kept Fetus in a Jar

President George W. Bush's mother is disputing her son's account that she showed him a fetus in a jar.

"No, the truth is I didn't put it in the jar. ... Paula put it in the jar," she said, referring to the Bushes' housekeeper, Paula Rendon, according to Rachel Slajda of Talking Points Memo.

"I was shocked when she gave it to him," she told Larry King on CNN. "Memories dim a little bit." She said she gave permission to her son to use the anecdote in the book.

"You had different views on pro-life?" King asked. "I don't remember," she said.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Barbara Bush suggested that the Republican Party should drop an anti-abortion plank from its national platform. Earlier this year, Laura Bush reiterated her position that abortion should remain legal.

November 9, 2010

In Bush Memoir, Faith a Small but Constant Factor

Former President George W. Bush made no secret that his politics were tinged by his religious faith, but now says he never would have made it to the White House without a fateful -- and faith-filled -- decision to quit drinking in 1986.

"I could not have quit drinking without faith," Bush writes in his memoir, "Decision Points," released Tuesday (Nov. 9). "I also don't think my faith would be as strong if I hadn't quit drinking."

Across 497 pages, Bush recounts the ways religious faith shaped his life and his politics. While religion is not a central thrust of the book, it's nonetheless a constant theme.

Attending Presbyterian and Methodist churches in Midland, Texas, Bush writes that "religion had always been a part of my life, but I really wasn't a believer."

That changed with his decision to quit drinking a year after evangelist Billy Graham visited the Bush vacation home in Maine in 1985.

At that time, Bush said, he was an occasional reader of the Bible, which he viewed as "a kind of self-improvement course." During that well-known walk with Graham, the evangelist said the point of the Scriptures was to follow Christ, not just to improve himself.

"Billy had planted a seed," Bush wrote.

Months after returning to Texas, Bush joined a weekly Bible study. He soon started reading the Bible every morning, a practice he continued throughout his time at the White House.

While Graham helped Bush overcome alcohol, it was a Texas pastor who inspired him to pursue the presidency. At a service to mark his second inauguration as Texas governor, Bush heard the Rev. Mark Craig, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Austin, recount the biblical story of a once-hesitant Moses leading the Israelites into the Promised Land.

"We have the opportunity, each and every one of us, to do the right thing, and for the right reason," Bush recalled Craig preaching. At the other end of the pew, Barbara Bush mouthed to her son, "He is talking to you."

Once in the White House, Bush's faith played a role in both presidential and personal decisions. His push for global AIDS relief was fueled by his visit to a Ugandan clinic, where he left feeling challenged by the biblical admonition: "To whom much is given, much is required." When he knelt at the casket of Pope John Paul II in 2005, he prayed for ailing ABC anchorman Peter Jennings.

Continue reading In Bush Memoir, Faith a Small but Constant Factor ...

November 8, 2010

Bush: Seeing Mother's Miscarried Fetus Shaped Philosophy of Life

President George W. Bush writes in his new memoir, Decision Points, that Bush’s mother showed him a fetus in a jar, according to the New York Post.

After Barbara Bush had a miscarriage, she saved the fetus in a jar and she "said to her teenage kid, 'Here's the fetus,' " Bush is expected to tell NBC’s Matt Lauer in an interview airing this evening

The episode contributed to Bush’s pro-life stance. “There's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life,” Bush said.

"There was a human life, a little brother or sister," Bush told the "Today" host during the sit-down to promote his tome, which hits stores tomorrow.
Bush said his mother gave him special permission to recount the private story in print.
But "the purpose of the story wasn't to try show the evolution of a pro-life point of view," Bush insisted to Lauer.
"It was really to show how my mom and I developed a relationship."

Last week, the Washington Post reported that Bush said he personally approved waterboarding as a technique.

In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique (waterboarding) against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

In his book, titled “Decision Points,” Bush recounts being asked by the CIA whether it could proceed with waterboarding Mohammed, who Bush said was suspected of knowing about still-pending terrorist plots against the United States. Bush writes that his reply was “Damn right” and states that he would make the same decision again to save lives.

“Former President Bush should be ashamed of his decision to torture detainees,” said Rev. Richard L. Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “His decision to allow the use of torture was both illegal and immoral. And his excuse that the use of waterboarding ’saved lives’ is wholly inadequate and unjustifiable. U.S.-sponsored torture has cost innumerable lives of both American soldiers and civilians, because it has inspired extremists to commit acts of terror against us. It has cost us dearly. Torture does not make us safer; it makes us more of a target.”

The interview with Lauer will be shown on tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

March 19, 2010

Bush Most `Surprised' by Prayers of Americans

The thing that most surprised former President George W. Bush was not international crises like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nor the resilience of the Iraqi insurgency, but rather the impact of prayers from the American people, he said.

"The biggest surprise of the presidency was the calming effect of prayer by total strangers," Bush told about 700 college students and business leaders during a private appearance last Friday (March 12) at Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God-affiliated school in
central Florida.

Bush said he was shocked and humbled by how many people prayed for him. "Imagine being a president of the United States and innumerable people would come up to you on a rope line and they're not going to say `I want a bridge' or `I want something special.' They come up to you and say, `I'm here to tell you, Mr. President, that I pray for you.' You gain strength as a leader by recognizing you need help."

Continue reading Bush Most `Surprised' by Prayers of Americans...

May 17, 2009

GQ: Bible Verses Covered Pentagon Reports

Bible verses were used on cover sheets for intelligence reports written for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials, according to GQ magazine.

One of the cover sheets features a photo of a tank in the sunset inlaid with Ephesians 6:13: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

A "World Intelligence Update" included Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed" above a picture of a machine-gunner.

Lawrence Di Rita, former Pentagon spokesman, told David Sanger of The New York Times that he had no recollection of the briefs, and that the secretary would not have tolerated them for long.

"The suggestion that Rumsfeld would have used these reports to somehow curry favor over at the White House is pretty laughable," Di Rita told Sanger. "He bristled anytime people put quotes or something extraneous on the reports he wanted to read."

December 24, 2008

Bush Signs Anti-Trafficking Bill

Religious leaders hailed President Bush's signing of a bill that continues U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking across the globe.

In an Oval Office ceremony on Tuesday, Bush signed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

"This is a piece of legislation we're very proud to sign and to see that it's authorizing funding for fiscal years ... 2008 through 2011," White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto told reporters before the signing ceremony. "And this program has been very effective around the world in trying to stop trafficking in persons in Africa and Asia."

The law aims to prevent and prosecute trafficking of humans in foreign countries and assist its victims.

"This bill will significantly assist the United States government in impeding the trafficking of women and child for sexual purposes," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a statement to Baptist Press, the denomination's news service. "It's a tremendously important new tool available to law enforcement officials in prosecuting those who traffic in human flesh. It will make a real difference to the victims of sex trafficking."

Bishop John C. Wester, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, said the legislation will help eliminate "a horrific crime" in the United States and abroad.

"President Bush has done much to elevate public awareness about human trafficking and should be thanked for his leadership," said Wester, of Salt Lake City, Utah. "It will be important, however, that the new administration and new Congress remain vigilant and continue to work to end this abominable practice."

The bill, which passed both houses of Congress on Dec. 10, is named after William Wilberforce, a 19th-century British abolitionist.

December 10, 2008

Bush Gives Presidential Medal to Chuck Colson

President Bush gave Charles Colson the Presidential Citizen Medal today.

He was one of 24 people honored today with the second highest honor for a civilian, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Colson was the first member of the Nixon administration to serve prison time for Watergate-related offenses and founded Prison Fellowship in 1976.

"For more than three decades, Chuck Colson has dedicated his life to sharing the message of God's boundless love and mercy with prisoners, former prisoners and their families," the White House said in the citation. "Through his strong faith and leadership, he has helped courageous men and women from around the world make successful transitions back into society."

Colson is also a columnist for Christianity Today.

December 9, 2008

ABC Interview with Bush Reveals More About His Faith

A new ABC interview with President Bush reveals more about his faith, and views on a literal interpretation of the Bible and evolution.

Stepping on some hot topics, Bush said the Bible is "probably not" literally true and believes that God created the earth and in evolution. Here's the interview excerpt:

MCFADDEN: Is it literally true, the Bible?

BUSH: You know. Probably not ... No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament, for example is ... has got ... You know, the important lesson is "God sent a son."

MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible...

BUSH: That God in the flesh, that mankind can understand there is a God who is full of grace and that nothing you can do to earn his love. His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior.

MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can -- it's not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.

BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life and ...

MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?

BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.

MCFADDEN: But what about ...

BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution.

The entire article is worth a read, but here's another portion:

In the interview, Bush also spoke at length about his personal faith and how it has informed his presidency. The president said that his relationship with God has grown over time, and began when he decided to stop drinking.

"It is hard for me to justify or prove the mystery of the Almighty in my life," he said. "All I can just tell you is that I got back into religion and I quit drinking shortly thereafter and I asked for help -- I was a one-step program guy."

When asked if he thought he would have become president had it not been for his faith, Bush said, "I don't know; it's hard to tell. I do know that I would have been -- I'm pretty confident I would have been a pretty selfish person."

Bush said he is often asked if he thinks he was chosen by God to be president.

"I just, I can't go there," he said. "I'm not that confident in knowing, you know, the Almighty, to be able to say, 'Yeah, God wanted me of all the other people.' My relationship [with God] is on a personal basis trying to become as closer to the Almighty as I possibly can get. And I've got a lot of problems. I mean, I got, you know, the ego ... all the things that prevent me from being closer to the Almighty. So, I don't analyze my relationship with the good Lord in terms of, well, you know, God has plucked you out or God wants you to do this. I know this: I know that the call is to better understand and live out your life according to the will of God."

After he leaves the White House, Bush told ABC that he will try "to stay on the walk to the last day on the face of the Earth." He said, "I've come to this conclusion -- maybe I'm wrong, I don't know -- that the full understanding of Christianity is going to take a full lifetime of study."

December 1, 2008

Bush: 'I am a lowly sinner seeking redemption'

As a promotion for StoryCorps' National Day of Listening, President Bush and his wife, Laura, talked about their time in the White House, Bush's parents, and (notably for CT readers), what role faith has played in the president's day-to-day life.

"I've been in the Bible every day since I've been the President, and I have been affected by people's prayers a lot," Bush said. He continued:

I have found that faith is comforting, faith is strengthening, faith has been important. ... I would advise politicians, however, to be careful about faith in the public arena. ...In other words, politicians should not be judgmental people based upon their faith. They should recognize -- as least I have recognized I am a lowly sinner seeking redemption, and therefore have been very careful about saying (accept) my faith or you're bad. In other words, if you don't accept what I believe, you're a bad person.

And the greatness of America -- it really is -- is that you can worship or not worship and be equally American. And it doesn't matter how you choose to worship; you're equally American. And it's very important for any President to jealously protect, guard, and strengthen that freedom.

The President's sister, Doro Bush Koch, also asked Bush how he would like to be remembered. "I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process," his answer began.

Part of the interview aired on NPR on Thanksgiving. The White House website has excerpts.