Friday, January 21, 2005

Peggy Noonan says too much God in speech

Peggy Noonan agrees with me that there was too much God in Bush's inaugural address:

The president's speech seemed rather heavenish. It was a God-drenched speech. This president, who has been accused of giving too much attention to religious imagery and religious thought, has not let the criticism enter him. God was invoked relentlessly. "The Author of Liberty." "God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind . . . the longing of the soul."

Furthermore, to expound upon my previous post, Bush said that self-government requires character, and character requires some kind of religion, even the Islamic religion. It was not a statement about freedom of religion, it was a statement that a country will have a lousy government unless its people believe in God. Bush once again tells us that atheists aren't welcome in the United States.

It's a pretty demented statment that a country of Muslims will produce a better government than a country of atheists.

And its not a statement born out in fact. In all cases I can think of, democratic movements have been secular, not religious. Our Constitution was not written by Christian fundamentalists, it was written by secular Deists.

Links to other blog posts about Peggy Noonan's column: Professor Bainbridge, No More Mr. Nice Blog, BrothersJudd, Outside the Beltway, Pandagon, Belmont Club, PrestoPundit, Sunny Days In Heaven, PunditGuy, and Inklings. People sure have been pretty busy blogging about her column!


TWM said...

Like I said - Bush used the word "God" THREE times in his speech. I suppose the only way there would not have been TOO much God in the speech would have been for him to not say it at all.

And my response to Peggy Noonan and all the others that think he said it too much - tough cookies!

R said...


mikeca said...

The last paragraph of this column is:

“One wonders if they shouldn't ease up, calm down, breathe deep, get more securely grounded. The most moving speeches summon us to the cause of what is actually possible. Perfection in the life of man on earth is not.”

Bush has lofty, noble vision, but seems disconnected from reality. There is a fine line between optimism and naiveté. Optimism is highly prized in business, but I have worked for managers that simply refused to admit that things were not going well, and seen them lead project teams or whole companies over the cliff. I sincerely hope Bush is not leading our country over some cliff.

Charles said...

I listened to the speech and thought this was a dig that if you had a government based on a peaceful religion, you generally ended up with a government that had high standards of conduct. Which would be better than having a government based on the biggest, baddest, most ruthless guy and his fawning personality cult. So character based on some religions would be better than character based on however the head guy felt that day. I never got the sense that Bush was trying to tell anyone they had to be religion based or else.

Peggy Noonan? The same Reagan speechwriter that used to regularly insert God and religion in every speech she wrote? Same woman?

TWM said...

"There is a fine line between optimism and naiveté."

Very true. But was The New Deal naive? Was JFK? Was Reagan naive when he said that the Soviet Union was evil and we could take it down?

Virtually all great ideals can be, and are, called naive by some people. But that does not mean we should not pursue them.

Walter E. Wallis said...

The references to God were in order to emphasize that our rights are innate, not a gift from government. While I didn's pay too close attention, I believe the prayers were less Jesus and more God, an improvement.

TWM said...

Ok, I'll bite - what's the difference?

Or, should I say - why can you mention God but not his son?

Steph said...

I didn't take as much offense to the "Author of Liberty" comment, as it was more Founding Father-esque than "Jesus works through me" (though it's ironic comparing Bush to the Founding Fathers and all...).

>It's a pretty demented statment that a country of Muslims will produce a better government than a country of atheists.

I don't know about this... it depends more on the sanity/character of the groups involved...

>Or, should I say - why can you mention God but not his son?

Because you can mention "God" and mean anything from the Jewish God to the Christian God to the Muslim God (of which there is no difference really, despite the beliefs of many Christians in the Bible Belt) to the Deist God, who is a completely different creature. Only Christians (and not even all... see some of the Founding Fathers) believe that Jesus is the son of God, and to make statements affirming the divinity of Jesus over, say, the Buddha, would be inappropriate in this setting addressing citizens of multiple faiths (I'm sure I'm going to be accused of advocating PC or some other nonsense now...).

Let me say, though, that I have no problem with him talking about his religious beliefs in a more informal setting when he's asked about it or it's appropriate to discuss it.

Tom said...

Actually, Madison was reasonably mainstream Christian. However, he was almost unique in that way among the major Founding Fathers.

Old Blind Dog said...

This is interesting too:

Bush draws the battle lines even more sharply