Anyone who maintains a public position as a religious person has a responsibility to live up to the standards of that religion.
George W. Bush, more than any previous president, uses his religion as both a mantle of authority and as justification for many of his actions, but how well does he really live up to the principles he claims to believe in? A close analysis of his actions as president and the Ten Commandments reveals that he has not broken one of them.
That one is the seventh commandment. His record on the other nine reveals a dismal failure.
Commandment I: "You shall have no other gods before me."
In his actions and in his leadership of the "party of greed," Bush has shown that the real center of his worship is money and wealth. His god is Mammon. He glorifies the wealthy and as president has done everything in his power to make the rich even more wealthy. While the average American has struggled with obscenely high energy prices, Bush made sure that the oil interests (which are also his and his family's interests) would reap huge rewards. In one three-month period, oil companies earned $39 billion in profits and at the same time received a $17 billion Bush-sponsored tax cut. And while Jesus commanded that we "feed the hungry," Bush pushed through reductions in feeding programs so that his rich friends and his own family could get even richer.
Commandment II: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image."
While minting of money is presumably acceptable ("Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's"), the worship of the engraved coin and the printed dollar bill definitely comes under the heading of "bowing down to them and serving them." Bush and his cronies have made idols of the "almighty dollar" in direct violation of the second commandment.
Commandment III: "You shall not take the name of God in vain."
Bush has consistently used the name of Jesus and of God as justification for his actions, and his holier-than-thou actions and deliberate lies have made a mockery of everything Jesus stood for and taught. In fact, the unctuous hypocrisy of Bush in ostentatiously practicing public prayer before launching an aggressive war has to remind one of the "scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites" that Jesus railed against in his day. Using the name of God to violate God's commandments is surely taking it in vain!
Commandment IV: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
Bush's violation of this commandment is a common one. The commandment plainly says, "The seventh day is the Sabbath," and most Christians worship instead on the first day, the holy day of the sun god and the sacred day of Emperor Constantine, which is why it's still called the "Lord's (Emperor's) Day." But where the majority of Christians -- the Roman and Orthodox Catholics -- have a good excuse for this, believing that their church has the right to countermand the laws of the Bible, Bush and other Protestants have no such excuse. They claim to believe that the Bible is the only authority for belief, yet the Bible nowhere authorizes Sunday worship. Instead, both Jesus and the Old Testament consistently called for worship on the Sabbath, which after all is simply the Hebrew word for Saturday.
Commandment V: "Honor thy father and thy mother."
Now I can't really say how well Bush honors his mother, but he certainly didn't honor his father, who at least had the wisdom not to put thousands of American lives at risk by advancing on Baghdad. Had Bush honored his father, thousands of US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians would be alive today. (See the next commandment.)
Commandment VI: "You shall not kill."
George W. Bush has more blood on his hands than any mass murderer in American history. To protect his family's oil interests and to salve his own ego, he launched an aggressive war on a nation that was not a threat to the US (as events later proved). As a result, many thousands have died needlessly, including nearly 3000 Americans who were jerked from their homes and sent to be slaughtered in a hopeless war in Iraq. At the Judgment Day, I think the one question asked of Bush will be: "What part of 'thou shalt not kill' don't you understand?"
Commandment VII: "You shall not commit adultery."
Despite rumors to the contrary, I have personally seen no credible evidence that Bush has violated this commandment.
Commandment VIII: "You shall not steal."
As the modern "Robin Hood in reverse," Bush has made a career of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. Programs benefiting the middle classes and the poorer classes have been consistently cut so that the wealthy could get even wealthier. His vaunted tax cuts put billions in the coffers of rich Americans and gave the average American a reduction equal to about a six-pack of beer a week, not nearly enough to cover the massive increases in gasoline prices.
Commandment IX: "You shall not bear false witness."
This is certainly the most obvious of Bush's failings. He lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He lied about his service in the Air National Guard. He lied about his cocaine use. He lied about his DWI record. During the period when he was authorizing electronic surveillance of Americans without judicial oversight, he consistently denied that it was taking place, actually saying that no surveillance would be possible without court-authorized warrants. If Bush were Pinocchio, his nose would stretch from Washington to Baghdad. At the very least.
Commandment X: "You shall not covet."
This, of course, is the crux of Bush's problem. Greed, after all, is the extreme state of covetousness, and George W. Bush is not only an extremely greedy man, he is the high priest of greed. Perhaps it's a national vice he exemplifies, for more and more people seem to be driven to covet more and more wealth. Jesus' words about money being a root of evil and that a rich man "shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven" have been forgotten and the modern Gospel of Greed has taken its place.
George W. Bush aptly fits Jesus' description of the hypocrites of his time. Outside like a whitewashed sepulcher. Inside filled with dead men's bones.
Rel Davis of Big Fork, Ark., is a former Peace Corps volunteer and retired Unitarian minister.
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