George H. W. Bush: Faith, Presidency, and Public Theology

By Ousley, J. Douglas | Anglican and Episcopal History, December 2017 | Go to article overview

George H. W. Bush: Faith, Presidency, and Public Theology


Ousley, J. Douglas, Anglican and Episcopal History


George H. W. Bush: Faith, Presidency, and Public Theology. By Kjell O. Lejon. (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2014, pp. 253. $60.95.)

Kjell O. Lejon's book is a study of "public theology," which Lejön defines as "an officially announced and proclaimed adherence to and reliance on a transcendental reality, one that is largely in line with the vocabulary and content of Christianity in a traditional American-Mainline/Evangelical form" (22). The book's strategy is simple: it presents a large selection of quotations from George H. W. Bush's various pronouncements as president. The quotes invoke divine help or otherwise refer to God, and they are assumed to reflect Bush's personal faith-or, at least, the faith he wished to display in his public statements.

Some texts (such as the Thanksgiving Day proclamations and some of the diplomatic correspondence) seem anodyne and might well have been written by White House staff. Other writings appear to be more personal: for example, Bush began his inaugural address with a prayer. And a letter to Paul Moore, bishop of New York, seems to reflect Bush's concern that activists on the religious left can be as guilty of interference in politics as activists on the religious right. …

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