March 19, 2015

CORRECTING THE IDIOCY OF JFK AND MITT:

Jeb Bush, 20 Years After Conversion, Is Guided by His Catholic Faith (MICHAEL PAULSON, MARCH 17, 2015, NY Times)

Twenty years after Mr. Bush converted to Catholicism, the religion of his wife, following a difficult and unsuccessful political campaign that had put a strain on his marriage, his faith has become a central element of the way he shapes his life and frames his views on public policy. And now, as he explores a bid for the presidency, his religion has become a focal point of early appeals to evangelical activists, who are particularly important in a Republican primary that is often dominated by religious voters.

Many of his priorities during his two terms as governor of Florida aligned with those of the Catholic Church -- including his extraordinary, and unsuccessful, effort to force a hospital to keep Terri Schiavo on life support, as well as less well-known, and also unsuccessful, efforts to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a developmentally disabled rape victim and to prevent a 13-year-old girl from having an abortion. He even, during his first year in office in 1999, signed a law creating a "Choose Life" license plate.

He differed from his church, significantly and openly, over capital punishment; the state executed 21 prisoners on his watch, the most under any Florida governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. But he has won praise from Catholic officials for his welcoming tone toward immigrants and his relatively centrist positions on education -- two issues in which he is at odds with the right wing of his party.

"As a public leader, one's faith should guide you," Mr. Bush said in Italy in 2009, explaining his attitude about the relationship between religion and politics at a conference associated with Communion and Liberation, a conservative Catholic lay movement.

"In the United States, many people think you need to keep your faith, put it in a security box, if you're an elected official -- put it in a safety deposit box until you finish your service as a public servant and then you can go get it back," he added. "I never felt that was appropriate."

Like his brother George W. Bush, who established the White House office on faith-based initiatives, Jeb Bush was a champion of religion-based social services. As governor, he established what he said was the nation's first faith-based prison, encouraging religious activity -- of any faith tradition -- in an effort to reduce criminal behavior. And he has said his religious beliefs helped inform his concern about child welfare and other issues.

"You hear people say, 'I don't want to impose my faith,' " Mr. Bush told the newspaper The Florida Catholic days after leaving office in 2007. "Well, it's not an imposition of faith. It's who you are."

Posted by at March 19, 2015 5:14 PM
  

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