I'm currently reading a book about faith and politics in the US. I'll tell you at the end of this post what book and who said this quote. But first, read it and consider its significance since it was said by someone who decided that he was going to run for president.
"I feel like God wants me to run for president... I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen and, at that time, my country is going to need me. I know it won't be easy, on me or my family, but God wants me to do it... I know the price... I know what it will mean... My life will never be the same. But I know God wants me to do this and I must do it."
What would you think if I told you that it was said by Barack Obama? Would it sound surprising that God would be leading someone who is liberal and pro-choice? Some of you would be skeptical, wouldn't you? But perhaps to some of you, his world vision fits yours.
What would you think if I told you that it was said by Bill Clinton? You're probably thinking, "yeah right, like God would want a skirt-chaser to be president!" But some of you would recognize that he had the gift of diplomacy and is regarded as one of the best presidents in recent times.
What would you think if I told you that it was said by Abraham Lincoln? Hmmm... sounds a bit more right, doesn't it? The president who fought slavery, "Honest Abe" was a good guy and must have been called of God.
What would you think if I told you that it was said by George H. W. Bush? Perhaps God was able to foresee the role he would play as the Iron Curtain collapsed and the values of democracy and capitalism were spread throughout eastern Europe.
What would you think if I told you that it was said by Mitt Romney? Would you doubt a fellow upstanding Mormon?
I've gotten the impression from most Mormons that they would only vote for a candidate who is, in a way, "called of God." Not in the same sense as a prophet, but as a political leader who would carry out what they regard as God's will in America, whatever they believe that to be. And in the eyes of most Mormons, that means it's a job for a conservative Republican. (My husband likes to say that G.O.P. stands for "God's Own Party.")
The person who uttered that quote was none other than George W. Bush. It was included in a chapter summarizing the different approaches to faith by some of America's politicians in the book, "The Faith Of Barack Obama" by Stephen Mansfield. It's a fascinating, insightful, and well-written book that I recommend, most of all, for the thought-provoking chapter about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a man that most of us regard as a flaming lunatic. I still think he's a flaming something, but I'm not sure that lunatic quite cuts it.
So, in light of the change that has occurred in America and in the world the past eight years:
- Do you believe that God was speaking to George W. Bush, telling him to run for president?
- Do you think he has fulfilled the role that God intended him to do as president?
- And how will it impact your feelings in the future about any politician who claims to be inspired by God in any degree?