i'm following montgomery brewster's advice today by voting for "NONE OF THE ABOVE!"* however, that does not mean that i am disinterested in political issues and the general direction of our country. i've stumbled across a couple of excellent pieces about politics and evangelical interactions in politics lately that i would like to share.
first, i recently finished state of denial, which is the third volume in bob woodward's bush at war series. there are so many things that i could say about this rather massive tome, but i will limit my loquaciousness by offering a few blunt, opinionated reflections:
1) according to woodward, donald rumsfield has almost completely ignored the joint chief's perspectives on the military actions in iraq and in afghanistan. this has led to our almost criminally deficient deployments of troops and has shielded the executive branch from the realistic assessments of the soldiers in the field.
2) i had no idea that bush pushed out one of america's finest soldiers out of the secretary of state role so that he could employ an over-matched russianist who had failed to effectively fulfill her last government post. i have to agree with george herbert walker bush when he states that condi is a "real disappointment."
3) on account of either his natural optimism or his absolute belief in his failed foreign policy, bush has never wavered from his decision to invade iraq and will probably never authorize a strategic retreat from that morass. in this volume, bush is portrayed as a good natured, energetic, political fundamentalist. i suspect that this portrayal would have been more nuanced had bush agreed to be interviewed for this work like he allowed himself to be interviewed for plan of attack.
second, kellie forwarded me this excellent article by wheaton alumnus and former bush speechwriter michael gershon, in which the author suggests some healthy ways forward concerning a new "faith-based agenda." gershon's conception focuses more on global poverty and health issues that internal, american social issues and he suggests a manner in which candidates on both sides of the aisle can learn to connect with american christians who are no longer solely concerned with prayer in schools, idols in state courthouses and abortion.
third, andy crouch conducted an intriguing interview with former faith based initiatives staffer david kuo concerning kuo's new work tempting faith. crouch is his cantankerous, contrarian self in this interview and works hard to uncover kuo's intentions concerning this work. the result is an edgy, informative interview which talks about such issues as evangelical naivete in american politics and the need for evangelicals to undergo training and perhaps even a type of political ordination before heading into the partisan fray.
finally, gordon macdonald offers some helpful reflections concerning the haggard scandal and hints at the dangers of evangelical political accommodation.
* if you are tempted to lecture me about my democratic responsibilities please refrain. i think quite a bit about politics, but usually (i.e., when bush is not running for president) refrain from voting in local, state or national elections. i would like to think that my tendencies are rooted in the anabaptist tradition, but there is a good chance my choice is the result of my deep cynicism concerning the political process and/or appalling apathy.