President Bush finally talks about his faith, sort of. In a meeting with reporters from the sympathetic Washington Times, Bush complained that his faith and approval of religion in the public square were misunderstood, and there was no reason to fear either.
Why there’s no reason to fear, we never learn, but it seems clear that Bush wasn’t pressed on any of his waffling answers throughout the session. Like a one-man presidential debate (where replies are rarely relevant to the question), Bush denied that his religiosity was problematic, then replied that, on the other hand, “‘America is a remarkable place when it comes to relgion and faith.'” Bush denied that he’d ever equated religiosity with patriotism (though his wording does suggest an interesting contradiction: “‘I’ve never said that. I’ve never acted like that. I think that’s just the way it is.'”). But on the other hand, he said that faith was on the rise in America. He understands he has to protect people’s freedom to worship or not, as they see fit, but on the other hand, he can’t imagine how one could be president without believing in God. Questions answered? Yeah, us neither. But how about this: Bush is okay (if exasperated) with Michael Newdow’s lawsuits, because being able to oppose religious language is what makes America great. But “‘On the other hand, the [public] backlash was pretty darn significant.'” It’s because of the ferocity of that backlash that Bush is confident, “unlike many Christians,” that faith is not under attack in America. That, surprisingly, seems about right.