President Bush's faith in Jesus Christ is a hot media topic these days. On March 9, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank asked where "Bush's placid confidence comes from." Mr. Milbank focused extensively on "Bush's religious devotion," noting that "Bush implies but does not directly assert that he is doing God's work." Newsweek's March 10 cover story: "Bush and God." Chief political writer Howard Fineman noted the president "rises ahead of the dawn" most days, "goes off to a quiet place" to read the Bible and Oswald Chamber's classic Christian devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, then brings his wife, Laura, a cup of coffee in bed.
CNNfn ran an entire segment March 11 tagged, "Should Religious Faith Guide a President in Global Policy?" Correspondent Bruce Morton asked Commerce Secretary Don Evans how the president's faith influences his leadership at the brink of war. "He's able to make these very, very difficult decisions because of his deep faith," Mr. Evans, a spiritual mentor to the president, observed. "And that's where he will find his comfort. That's where he will find his peace."
Peace, peace, where there should be no peace, protested Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State: "The presidency, remember, is a secular job," he complained to Mr. Morton. "We select a president not to be our pastor or preacher or a prophet, but a person who uses both the Constitution and the secular principles of the country to make decisions." Mr. Lynn called the president's expressions of faith "a very disturbing trend."
A March Business Week story-"Bush, the Bible, and Iraq"-notes secular European countries are "increasingly suspicious of a country with a born-again Christian president" and quotes playwright Harold Pinter calling President Bush "a hired Christian thug."
President Bush was open with reporters about his faith during his prime-time press conference. "If we were to commit our troops, I would pray for their safety, and I would pray for the safety of innocent Iraqi lives, as well.... I pray daily, I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength." He said he appreciates the prayers of others for him: "It's a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer."