The Religion & Culture Web Forum
The Theology of George W. Bush
(University of Chicago)
This month, Professor Bruce Lincoln of the University of Chicago Divinity School examines the theology discernable in the statements and policies of President George W. Bush.
[T]hese texts convey a sophisticated theology of history that rests on five propositions: 1) God desires freedom for all humanity; 2) This desire manifests itself in history; 3) America is called by history (and thus, implicitly by God) to take action on behalf of this cause; 4) Insofar as America responds with courage and determination, God's purpose is served and freedom's advance is inevitable; 5) With the triumph of freedom, God's will is accomplished and history comes to an end.
This is the fullest and most sophisticated theological position Mr. Bush has articulated in the course of his presidency. It follows several earlier systems, each of which had its own force, rationale, and moment. These include an Evangelical theology of “born again” conversion; a theology of American exceptionalism as grounded in the virtue of compassion; a Calvinist theology of vocation; and a Manichaean dualism of good and evil in conflict.
Early in October, an invited response to Professor Lincoln's essay will be offered by Hugh Urban of the Ohio State University. Responses may be found in the archived discussion board for this Forum (pdf).
The commentary will run through the month of October, after which it will continue to be accessible through the Web Forum archive.
The Martin Marty Center's Religion and Culture Web Forum is an online forum for thought-provoking discussion on the relationship of scholarship in religion to culture and public life. Each month the Marty Center, the research arm of the University of Chicago Divinity School, invites a scholar of religion to comment on his or her own research in a way that "opens out" to themes, problems, and events in world cultures and contemporary life.
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