Today, former President George W. Bush is giving the keynote speech in Irvine, Texas, at a major fundraising convention for a messianic religious group whose goal is to convert Jews to Christianity, so there can be the Rapture.
So much for compassionate conservatism.
Mind you, that went out the window long, long ago, but it's always nice to see consistency. Though it would be preferable if it was directed towards thoughtlessness towards one's fellowman.
In all the controversy leading up to this speech, which has caused outrage and heartbreak among Jewish leaders and people with hearts, most have bent over backwards saying how surprised they are by Mr. Bush's actions, since they'd always had such good relationships with him during his presidency in his actions towards Jews.
Me, I can't bend over that far.
I never once felt that George Bush had especially good, warm, caring feelings towards Jews. I always sensed that he was a born-again religious disciple who started wars in the Middle East that he referred to as a "crusade." That he explained to a Palestinian delegation, "God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did." That he was the first president in U.S. history to kick open the doors to let religion take a larger place in secular life where it had never been allowed before. That his support of Israel was to protect it for the same reason many on the religious right want to protect it, for biblical prophecy reasons of the Rapture. And that his good relations with people of the Jewish faith was political expedient for the same born again goals.
For anyone who doubts any of this, you only need to look at the reality of what we do know for 100 percent certain. We know that George Bush is speaking today at a fundraiser for a group whose sole, publicly-stated goal is to convert Jews to Christianity to prepare the world for the Rapture. He knows who he's speaking to. He can't not, most especially with all the controversy. So, George Bush either had a complete personal change since leaving office. Or it's how he felt when he was in office, after he'd become born-again at the age of 40.
That George Bush today has no need to court anyone's political support and can instead promote what he's long been interested in supporting, the Rapture, it is no shock to me that he is speaking at this massive fundraising effort. That he has been deaf to requests that he cancel is what I would expect. When people express that they can't understand why he is speaking there, I can only ask why they can't understand it?
To me, this is who George Bush is. And who he always has been. And always will be. At least until three ghosts visit him on some Christmas eve.
Why is George Bush speaking at a fundraiser to convert Jews to Christianity? Because, I believe, it is what George Bush wants.
If for some reason George Bush backs out at the last moment -- something I don't remotely expect -- it will be important to recognize that it was at... the last moment. That he was convinced at the highest levels that going through with this would be so damaging to his future and legacy and anything he'll want to accomplish, by not only causing such a major religious rift, but defining in so galling a way who he is so publicly that he felt he had no option but to withdraw. Not out of goodness or sensitivity, but political expediency.
Mind you, I don't expect him to back out. I expect him to swagger and sashay down the aisle and take in the rapturous applause.
Dick Cheney got a new heart.
George Bush is still screwing around with his old, cold one.
Does George Bush have a right to speak to this organization and raise money for them? You bet he does! He also has a right to speak to and raise money for the KKK, Aryan Brotherhood, and Friends of the Taliban. Having the right to do something doesn't mean it's always the wise, decent thing to do.
Does George Bush have a right to his religious beliefs? Thankfully, he does indeed. It's even written into the Constitution, as the cherished, very First Amendment. But having the right to believe something doesn't mean one need try to impose all our personal beliefs on others. Most especially when you are acting as the former President of the United States for all Americans, one of its perceived ambassadors to the world.
We make our choices. It defines who we are.
When President Jimmy Carter left office, he began Habitat for Humanity, and started the Carter Center to "advance human rights and alleviate suffering" throughout the world.
When President Bill Clinton left the White House, he started the Clinton Global Initiative to find creative solutions to the most pressing problems in the world, and has thus far impacted the lives of 430 million people.
When President George Bush left office, he has been painting pictures of puppies and raising money to convert Jews to Christianity.
It's always nice to see consistency.
Robert J. Elisberg's comic novel, A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge, just reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list for Humor/Parody. It is available in paperback or Kindle ebook edition.