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Hidden passages.

Bush's inaugural address contained several explicit references to God, but there were even more masked references to the Bible that may have been lost on many of his audience, as they were on me. Then I did some research, with help from Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Internet website BibleGateway.com, and I discovered a subtext of his speech.

Here are a few of the hidden passages.

When Bush thanked the American people for granting him patience in "good measure," he was echoing Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure...."

When Bush talked of the "ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever," he was echoing Hebrews 13:8, which says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

When Bush talked about the "untamed fire of freedom" in a passage that included the phrase "hope kindles hope," he was echoing passages from Jeremiah. For instance, Jeremiah 17:27 says: "I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem." And Jeremiah 50:32 says: "I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her."

There are many other passages in the Bible that have a raging fire in them. For instance, Isaiah 33:14: "The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: 'Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?'"

When Bush talked about the day when "the captives are set free," he was echoing a common Christian phrase that "Jesus set the captives flee." And specifically he was alluding to Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18, which talk about Jesus liberating "captives."

When Bush said, "History also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty," he was being none too subtle. But he was also cribbing from Acts 3:15 ("You killed the author of life") and Hebrews 12:2 ("Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith").

Toward the end, when Bush said, "Freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul," he was echoing Psalm 107: "For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness ..."

In these passages, Bush may have been intent on sending a coded thank you note to his evangelical base. But Bush also is a true believer.

As Bill Moyers noted in a recent powerful speech, "The delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington."

If you follow Bush's metaphors and allusions to their logical ends, you realize that Bush was cloaking our secular values of freedom and liberty and justice in distinctly Christian garb. "The Author of Liberty" is "the Author ... of our faith," and that author is Jesus. The "ideals of justice and conduct" equate with Jesus, since both are "the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow."

Both freedom and Jesus satisfy the hunger and the longing of the soul. For Bush, they are one and the same. In his America, there is no distinction between our public, secular values and his private, religious faith.

For those who don't share his faith--and for those who do but who also appreciate the need to separate church from state--America is becoming an increasingly inhospitable place.
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Title Annotation:president's inaugural speech
Author:Rothschild, Matthew
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
Words:600
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