Whether the religious right won the election for the GOP is debatable, but George W. Bush has shown plenty of evidence of a rigid religiosity. Look for him to continue to cruise along in that direction, with the support of other men who believe as he does.
Among the several right-wingers from daze past who have experienced the rapture of Bush Junior's administration is Chuck Colson. Formerly Nixon's chief hatchet man, he garnered a conviction for felony obstruction of justice back in the Watergate era, but that was eventually washed away by the blood of Jesus.
Colson, now a heavily self-promoted Christian leader, rates highly enough with Bush to have been invited to an extremely exclusive, believers-only meeting a year ago. Bush's four other special guests were Christian-home-schooling guru Mike Farris and three men from the Focus on the Family broadcasting empire: ex-Interior flunky for Reagan Don Hodel, Focus founder James Dobson, and Family Research Council head Tony Perkins. (See this Bush Beat item on Dobson.)
On November 5, 2003, the five got together with Bush to hold hands and pray just minutes before they all went to the Ronald Reagan Building, near the White House, to attend Bush's signing ceremony for the wackadoodle federal ban on "partial-birth" abortion.
The most intriguing story of this encounter is on the website of Farris's Patrick Henry College, a newish Virginia institution "for Christ and for liberty" that features Janet Ashcroft (John's wife) on its Board of Trustees.
More than just careers may rise when six such powerful and manly men, hot for Jesus, get together for some all-male prayer and bonding before doing God's legislative work. Check out this passage from the story by Patrick Henry College student Abby Pilgrim:
Farris recalls the friendly comments the president made to each of the attendees as the meeting began: "When he first saw me, he asked if I'd been pumping iron. I have lost ten pounds since he saw me in June . . . maybe it was because I was wearing cowboy boots and looked taller. Whatever the reason, I was surprised by the detail of his memory."
Pilgrim progresses to this revelation about what kind of details are not stored in Bush's memory:
The five also commented on the negative press that the president and the partial-birth abortion issue had been receiving. Bush replied that he didn't read or watch the news. The reason, he said, was because he sees his job as one that gives hope to the country, and he wants to keep an optimistic view of life. A reporter countered Bush's comment by asking the president how he would know what people were thinking if he wasn't reading the news. Bush responded by commenting that people don't think what they think because of what was being written in the papers. "It was an interesting exchange," Farris said.
When the 2004 election was mentioned, Bush didn't dwell on the topic. Instead he asked for prayer. He said to the group that the most important thing about being president was that people pray for you, and prayer matters.
At the end of the half-hour meeting, the men stood, joined hands, and Dr. Dobson closed in prayer.
If you go to the site to read the story, that's a photo of the handsome Farris shaking hands with Bush, while Dobson looks on. One thing's for sure: There's no mysterious bulge on Bush's back.