China

I have to say first that I am always surprised and aghast at most of George W says in public as I strongly disagree with his political views and could go on for about 30 pages on my soapbox about how terribly wrong I think the past eight years has gone, but this one really through me off a little.

I would also like to state that I am not a christian or a muslim or a buddist or a member or any other organized religious group, but I hold my personal spirituality very close to me. I grew up going to church with my family every sunday and have a good grasp on what christian values are all about, although that is not where my spiritual beliefs lie anymore. I also fully agree that anyone should be able to worship and believe whatever it is that they feel is right, but for God’s sake, keep it out of my government and don’t push your beliefs on me.

The way this country is moving and the fact that a very large portion of the American population believes that God created humans in his image less than 10,000 years ago when scientific research clearly shows over and over again that that is just ludicrous, scares me to death. But again, I digress and that is not what this post is about.

This post is about the George W and Bob Costas interview last night. The way that George W sees every situation through the lense of christianity simply just freaks me out. When asked pretty straight forward questions about the state of political affairs in China and the influence of the Olympics on that, he answered several questions with random unrelated statements about religion.

Here are a few exerpts…

Costas: If these Olympics are as successful as they are shaping up to be, most people believe this only further legitimizes the ruling party in the minds of most Chinese citizens. And even absent true liberty as we understand it, the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese people are much better than they once were. Therefore, what’s the party’s incentive to reform?

Bush: Well first of all, if you are a religious person you understand that once religion takes hold in a society it can’t be stopped. And secondly I think the Olympics are gonna serve as a chance for people to come and see china the way it is, and let the Chinese see the world and interface and have, you know, the opportunity to converse with people from around the world. This is very positive development in my view for peace. You know, who knows how China’s going to progress. They have been through some very difficult political times, the Cultural Revolution for one, where the leadership actually created violent anarchy as the society turned on itself. All I can tell you is it’s important for the United States to be active in this part of the world, with all countries, and to stay engaged with China.

I do agree that it is important that we actively engage with countries, even if we disagree with their actions, but what does religion have to do with this. Yes, religious freedom is one of the many liberties missing in China, but interesting how this is at the forefront for Mr. Bush and that he makes such a bold religious statement at such a moment.

And after discussing Joey Cheek and China’s relationship with Sudan…

Costas: As you attempt to press these points with them, do you find Hu Jintao not just warm to you personally, but is he receptive? Do you sense any movement?

Bush: Yeah, it’s hard to tell. I mean, all I can tell you is that it is best to be in a position where a leader will listen to you. I went to church here. And I’m sure the cynics say ‘Well, you know, it was just a state sponsored church.’ On the other hand, and that’s true, it gave me a chance to say to the Chinese people, religion won’t hurt you, you ought to welcome religious people. And it gave me a chance to say to the Chinese government, ‘Why don’t you register the underground churches and give them a chance to flourish?’ And he listened politely. I can’t read his mind, but I do know that every time I met with him, I pressed the point.

Huh? What does that have to do with the question? When you don’t know how to answer the questions, just talk about how you would like Christians to be able to push their religion on the Chinese people just like they do everywhere else in the world?

Sigh, I just don’t even know what else to say.

Full Interview Transcript