Was Bush a fundie nutball?

George W. Bush gave out like he was a super-religious Christian, and in another thread, someone (forget who–sorry) just argued that while Rick Perry is a religious nutball, Bush just kinda gave it lip service for mostly political, partly personal reasons but never really fundamentally bought into the stuff. Hence this poll

He was a member of the ruling class that does not care about the rest of the people. Big business, the extremely wealthy and big energy was who he worked for. Bush did talk religion quite a bit though ,claiming god told him to run for president and fuck up the country.

It was **RickJay **here

He was basically raised Episcopalian, which to most of the Christian fundamentalists I’ve known is little better than being a Catholic. IIRC, as an adult he had some sort of born-again experience after he got sober. I always had the impression he wasn’t terribly comfortable with the fundamentalist types but knew they were important to winning elections.

The nutball term is too offensive so I won’t vote for any of those options.

GWB was a devout born-again Christian, and there is little evidence to no evidence his Christianity was at all a charade. Did he play it up for electoral purpose? Um, of course. That doesn’t mean he was not genuinely a very devout guy.

Fundamentalist? I don’t know. I don’t know that GWB is genuinely anti-evolution, anti-abortion, I don’t know that he thinks prayer should be mandatory in public schools or any of that.

I saw an interview between GWB and someone post-presidency (I think Matt Lauer) Bush told a story that he also told in his book. It was about how his mother had a miscarriage when Bush was a teenager, and his father was away so George W. had to take her to the hospital. It’s a very strange story, and it ends up Barbara showed her son the fetus that had been placed in a jar.

Bush’s point in telling the story was to highlight how his mother was a very strong woman, and what sort of relationship they had, that she had wanted him to know what a miscarriage really was and the truth of what had just happened. He said as a teenager it meant a lot to him that his mother treated him as an adult, didn’t try to shield him from what had happened.

(I find the story weird btw.) The interviewer then remarks about how that might have influenced when Bush felt that life began and things of that nature. For someone who was publicly pro-life, this is one of those stories that you really could use to highlight your position. Bush even mentioned that seeing the fetus helped him understand his mother’s loss, that this would have been a brother or sister etc. However when asked directly if this story influenced when he felt life began, Bush’s reaction is interesting. He almost seems uncomfortable with talking about the abortion issue, and he mentions that no, the story was about the sort of relationship he had with his mother as a teenager, and he sort of says “of course I was a pro-life President” but if you watch the interview it really seems like that’s not something he wants to talk about or is particularly interested in.

FWIW I had been hearing since the H.W. Bush presidency that the Bush family in general is more or less ambivalent on the issue of abortion, and may even be pro-choice privately. W. Bush’s reaction in that interview seemed to strengthen that, at least to me.

So no, I don’t think Bush was a fundamentalist christian, but he was genuinely devout. They aren’t necessarily the same things. Bush was more of a “bleeding heart” Christian than a fire and brimstone Christian, but he was more than willing to embrace various fundamentalist positions as a politician.

Perry is obviously a genuine fundamentalist.

Al Franken quizzed GWB on general Bible knowledge, and came to the conclusion that he was pretty clearly didn’t pay the slightest attention at those religious retreats he supposedly went to, or even Sunday School when he was a kid.

I find that to be wholly credible. But to be fair, that is not required to be a devout born-again christian. Pretty much you accept Christ and “Bob’s your uncle.” Bible study and understanding are not bad things, but they are completely unnecessary in fundamental belied. I always felt that Bush’s beliefs were legitimately held. And that is about all the faith demands. Understanding or critical thinking never has been a requirement.

To support Bartman’s point, I do know fundmanetalist Christians, and in my experience they don’t generally know any more about the Bible than casual Christians of other denominations. They tend to just accept whatever their pastor says.

I have a feeling this is true of most believers in most faiths. A truly remarkable number of Muslims are illiterate and so can’t read the Quran at all, or just barely, but that doesn’t make them atheists. Illiteracy is not uncommon in Hindu India, and not many years ago was in fact the majority state, but that doesn’t make those people not Hindu.

I thin he was an AA Christian. His religiosity was part of his recovery. I also think he was sincere, but not especially educated about his religion or his Bible, which is fairly typical. I don’t think he was a hardcore fundy, but maybe had some naive understandings or assumptions, not so much hostile, burn the heretics dogma, as just assuming that that Noah feller really took them animals on the ark because he (W) was never told no different.

I think GW Bush was absolutely sincere in his religious beliefs, but he wasn’t above throwing a dog-whistle to his base. I’m not going to answer the poll, as none of the options fit.

ETA: OK, voted for last option.

Right, but the claim in Newsweek was that Bush joined a Bible study group with a fellow Texas oilman:

Franken found the irony of these two rich guys studying Acts, the most downright Socialist book of the Bible, wonderfully rich.

Anyway, if you claim to have spent a whole freaking YEAR studying something, you should be able to pass a short quiz on the subject.

How can that be? I really doubt that someone smart enough to learn to fly a jet can really take the story of Noah’s Ark literally. I don’t know anyone who takes this story literally.

More than 60% of Americans believe it. If you go down south, people think it’s as historical as the Civil War.

Plenty of people who have complex sophisticated technical jobs still believe that the dinosaurs died off because there was no room for them on Noah’s Ark.

Believing in your faith has nothing to do with technical skills. Or intelligence.

My opinion was that Bush was sincere about his beliefs. Which I don’t feel makes him a nutball.

I think that, like a lot of other issues, his religious views were ideas he held very firmly but didn’t think a lot about. Bush is not an introspective person.

I don’t feel that his religious views interfered with his abilities as a President. I had more problems with his ideological views.

My opinion; he was a devoutly religious loon who thought he was the Messiah, chosen by God to lead America, the nation most favored by God in its crushing of the infidels. He was also lazy and self indulgent, which limited the damage he did fortunately; although the people of Iraq were still sacrificed to him.

IIRC, he put a guy in charge of the effort against AIDS who thinks it can be cured by prayer. And the conquest of Iraq had strong Christian fundy overtones, although how much of that he personally believed I don’t know. And as a believer his judgment was hopelessly warped due to the principle that belief trumps fact, which was an overarching theme of his Administration. “We make our own reality” is a habit of thought of the religious.

I voted #2, I never saw him as a fundamentalist.

I didn’t like much how you worded you options, but still voted.

The topic belongs in Great Debates, but the wording seems to be a political Pitting.
Either way, despite the (rather loaded) poll I think I’ll shut this down and invite you to either start a Great Debates thread on whether he is a fundamentalist or not, or a Pit thread calling him a “fundie nutball”-your choice.

Edited to add: Argent Towers has started a related thread here.