Friday, June 25, 2004

And Jesus? He Wants To Go To Venus

On yesterday's O'Franken Factor, Ron Reagan Jr. raised a good point. Does President Bush believe that the thousands of innocent civilians killed in Iraq are in heaven?

Bush once said that only people who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior could enter heaven, retracting the statement after a 1998 visit to Israel. “I believe that God decides who goes to heaven,” he said. ”Not George W. Bush.”

"I believe that God decides who goes to heaven," is an artful way of avoiding this issue, yet still indirectly stating the obvious - Bush believes God believes only those who have accepted Christ as their personal savior can enter heaven.

I remember one phone call prior to a meeting with evangelical Christians, in which I warned him about the trick question. James Kennedy would often ask candidates a trick question. He would say, "If you were to die and go to heaven and to appear before St. Peter, or Jesus or whoever, and they were to say, 'Why should I let you in,' what would you say?"


In 1998 or 1999 -- maybe it was even earlier than that, before his re-election as governor, but I think it might've been 1997, before his re-election as governor -- George W. Bush was going to meet with some evangelical leaders. I called him to warn him of this surprise question that they occasionally pop. I repeated the question, which is, "If you were to die and suddenly appear before the pearly gates, and Peter said, 'Why should I let you in?' what would your answer be?"

He cut me off. He interrupted me before I even finished the question, and said, "I know, I know, I know. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ and because of his death for my sins," which is the argument evangelicals make -- that no one can be good enough to go to heaven, that the death of Christ is a sacrifice for our sins and you accept it in faith.


Evangelicals view Bush as one of them, on a very personal level. They just feel like he understands their personal experience. He's had it. He's been on the same journey that they have. And there's a tremendous bond between evangelical voters, many of them, and Bush, for that reason.

Many, if not most, of the innocent civilians killed in Iraq had, presumably, not accepted Christ as their personal savior. Where does President Bush believe their souls have gone?