Former Vice President Al Gore has compared President Bush’s Christian faith with fundamentalist Islam, saying it emphasizes “vengeance” and “brimstone.”
In an interview with the New Yorker, Gore, who says he’s a Southern Baptist, expressed disdain for Bush’s public declaration of his faith.
“It’s a particular kind of religiosity,” he told the magazine. “It’s the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common.
“In a world of disconcerting change, when large and complex forces threaten familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impulse is to grab hold of the tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life and never question the possibility that it’s not going to be the source of your salvation. And the deepest roots are in philosophical and religious traditions that go way back. You don’t hear very much from them about the Sermon on the Mount, you don’t hear very much about the teachings of Jesus on giving to the poor, or the beatitudes. It’s the vengeance, the brimstone.”
Gore also slammed Bush’s leadership in the White House, calling him a “weak man.”
“I wasn’t surprised by Bush’s economic policies, but I was surprised by the foreign policy, and I think he was, too,” Gore told the New Yorker. “The real distinction of this presidency is that, at its core, he is a very weak man. He projects himself as incredibly strong, but behind closed doors he is incapable of saying no to his biggest financial supporters and his coalition in the Oval Office. He’s been shockingly malleable to Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the whole New American Century bunch. He was rolled in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. He was too weak to resist it. …
“I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he’s a coward when confronted with a force that he’s fearful of. His reaction to the extravagant and unbelievably selfish wish list of the wealthy interest groups that put him in the White House is obsequious. The degree of obsequiousness that is involved in saying ‘yes, yes, yes, yes, yes’ to whatever these people want, no matter the damage and harm done to the nation as a whole?that can come only from genuine moral cowardice.”
Last month, Gore’s former boss, Bill Clinton, also took aim at Bush’s faith. At an appearance at a Harlem church service, the ex-president said Bush was a “good Christian” but that it “doesn’t mean that he doesn’t see through a glass darkly.”