I have spent the last week reading Jim Wallis’ “God’s Politics; Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn’t get it“. As an agnostic with Buddhist leanings, raised in an evangelical household, the intersection of religion and politics is of particular interest to me and Wallis’ book is easily the most profound thing I’ve yet to read on the subject. As I wrap up the last chapters, I find myself thumbing back to certain pages, marked with a creased page or a penciled arrow in the margin. The following paragraph is from one of those pages.
“The real theological problem in America today is no longer the religious Right, but the nationalist religion of the Bush administration, one that confuses the identity of the nation with the church, and God’s purposes with the mission of American empire. America’s foreign policy is more than preemptive, it is theologically presumptuous; not only unilateral, but dangerously messianic; not just arrogant; but rather bordering on the idolatrous and blasphemous. George Bush’s personal faith has prompted a profound self-confidence in his “mission” to fight the “axis of evil”, his “call” to be commander and chief in the war against terrorism, and his definition of America’s “responsibility” to “defend the hopes of all mankind”. This is a dangerous mix of bad foreign policy and bad theology.” (Jim Wallis can be found at Sojourners and Beliefnet. I highly recommend his writings for the faith-into-action peacemakers among us or those you know.)