In this morning's WaPo Alan Cooperman, has a quote from Richard Land, Bush said he was moved to run by a sermon delivered by his friend Mark Craig, a Methodist minister, in 1999 during his second gubernatorial inauguration. "I believe God wants me to be president," the Rev. Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, quoted Bush as saying.
Cooperman apparently missed Land’s more complete statement,
exctracted here from my May 3 posting.
""The day he was inaugurated for his second term as governor in 1999, there were several of us who met with him at the governor's mansion. Among the things he said to us was: 'I believe that God wants me to be president.'"....
The problem is that the statement was not all of what Land said about the comments by Bush. By editing his statement the way they did, Land said PBS "distorted the meaning and the whole ethos behind the quote."
"What the president said was, 'I believe that God wants me to be president, but if that doesn't happen, that's OK. I am loved at home, and that's more important,"
Bush noted he had "seen the presidency up close and personal" and recognized it as a "sacrifice, not a reward," Land continued.
"I don't need it for personal validation," Land recalled Bush saying. He said he remembered the governor's statement word-for-word because he was "so struck by the humility of it" as well as the "combination of conviction and humility."
Land goes on to quote from Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural address:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all and with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in and bind up the nation's wounds," …
"Lincoln was going to move forward, seeking God's will and seeking an understanding of what God wanted him to do," Land explained. "He was going to do the right as God gave him the light to see the right. That's exactly the perspective that George W. Bush has on his service as president and on his life and on his service to the country.
"That's a very humble position," Land added, noting those who are "uncomfortable with categories of good and evil and of absolutes and of the fact that some things are always right and some things are always wrong, that may come across as arrogant, but people who are relativists are likely to confuse moral conviction with certitude every time.""
I want a President who seeks God’s guidance daily. If, like many who have not seen Bush’s entire statement, I thought that Bush was absolutely convinced that he knew God’s will, I would be worried. Instead his statement displays a humility and open-mindedness, that is reassuring.