James Forsyth

How much should a politician’s faith be scrutinised?

How much should a politician's faith be scrutinised?
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Today both George W. Bush and Barack Obama find their faith under scrutiny. A new book questions Bush’s conversion narrative and suggests that Bush is highly aware of the political benefits of his faith. While Obama is under fire for some extreme statements from his preacher. 

I must admit that reading an extract from the book and watching the video segments on Obama’s pastor, I felt rather queasy. It seems rather under-hand to attack a man for his religious beliefs. I know that people argue that both Obama and Bush have exploited their faith for votes but it still strikes me as an out of bounds attack.

The coverage of both men’s faith also has a rather unpleasant whiff about it. In Bush’s case it is the constant desire to sneer at him or at the very notion of belief itself. While with Obama there is a definite hint of racism in some of the talk about his faith, a belief that Obama is too good to be true—that there must be some hidden secret to be revealed that will show him to be no different from Al Sharpton.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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