Bush’s Religious Code Words. Their Meaning and Ramifications.
The Dred Scott Reference
In his October 8th debate Bush referred to the Dred Scott decision in answer to the qualifications of any one he would appoint to the Supreme Court. He said he would not appoint somone who would approve the legal reasoning in the Dred Scott Case. The infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 by the Supreme Court said a slave who traveled to a free territory still remained the property of his owner. The media immediately saw this as a Christian Fundamentalist anti-choice code word that Bush would not appoint anyone to the Supreme Court that would uphold Roe v. Wade on abortion rights. The analogy is that Roe puts a mothers right to autonomy over an unborn child’s right to life much like a slave owners property rights were paramount to a slave’s right to freedom. Everyone who reads the newspapers knows Bush’s beliefs on abortion so why put it in code words that he will not appoint anyone that condones Roe v. Wade. Should a president of the United States speak to one segment of the country in an exclusionary manner? Obviously the answer is no. However Bush knew there were more than sixty million people watching and he did not want to openly state his intentions before such a large audience. Many women voters are pro- choice because they want the final say over their bodies even if they are against abortion on moral or legal grounds. Therefore he used code words to signal his intentions to his core constuency while making an ambiguous statement as if he was saying he wouldn’t appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who supported the reasoning for slavery. Bush’s lack of candor on this issue seems to be a talisman of his administration’s practice of saying one thing but doing another. Bush is probably the most deceitful president on abortion, which is the most divisive national issue since slavery.
In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Bush mentioned faith based belief twelve times and used many coded references. One was “many hills to climb” a reference of the Israelites escape from slavery and “seeing the valley below” a reference to Moses vision of the Promised Land. This again reassured the Fundamentalists that Bush would help Israel control the Holy Land.
Instead of building a broad consensus, as most politicians try to do, Bush is creating an “us” versus “them” mentality amongst voters who are faith-based believers and voters who maybe religious but do not subscribe to all the tenets of faith-based belief.
Why does he have to keep reassuring his evangelical and fundamentalist Christian base? Perhaps this is a concession he has to make for his re-election, but it is making him one of the most divisive presidents of this century and the last .
Religious Significance Of The Biblical Code Words.
Wonder where all this is going? Bush states he is a born again Christian with fundamentalist beliefs. One of the those beliefs is the Rapture which is the time of the second coming when Jesus returns and takes the believers into Heaven and leaves the non believers behind. This can only happen when the Jews are back in control of the Holy Land as described in the Bible. Satan is believed, by the Fundamentalists, to be fighting to prevent this from happening. Hence Satan caused the Diaspora and the Holocaust in the past and is now responsible for the conflict in the Holy Land. After the final battle when Satan and his forces are defeated the Jews will be once again in control of Zion. Then Jewish prayers to God for the appearance of the Messiah will be answered. Since the Fundamentalists believe the Messiah is Jesus Christ this will be the Second Coming when the believers will be Raptured into Heaven.
Influence On Bush’s Policies.
One wonders how much of Bush’s religious beliefs influence his Middle East foreign policy or if his foreign policy is a callous method of gathering votes. The new conservative (neo-cons) thinkers see American dominance in this century because there is no other super power to oppose our policies. One of these policies is making the Mid-East secure for our Allies, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and American economic interests. This fits neatly with fundamentalist beliefs on the Holy Land.
How far will Bush go to please his Fundamental Christian constituency? Since he took office the Israeli Palestinian war has turned worse and he has made no attempt to establish peace there or at least broker a cessation of hostility.
Perhaps Bush sees this as the final battle when the Jews will come into complete control of the land once known as Zion, which would include all of the Left Bank. This would make his core constituency happy. However it is unlikely it would ensure peace in the Middle East. As we have seen terrorists do not need a country, just hate and a bomb.
Therefore Bush may have motivations other than the interests of the average American citizen on abortion and with respect to Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia. If nothing else he has broken the unwritten rule since the inception of this country not to inject religious belief into American politics and that can only be divisive considering the number of different faiths in this country and the world and the degree of certitude with which they are held. Remember this is the man who says Jesus told him to be president and that he consulted not with his own father but the Higher Father before attacking Iraq. The result: the country is divided, the world is divided and it is less safe now for people who value freedom and democracy .