Hitchens: Karl Rove an Atheist

Cross posted at Democratic Courage blog.

According to ex-liberal neo-con Bush administration buddy Christopher Hitchens, Karl Rove is an atheist. Here's an excerpt from his interview with  New York magazine's Boris Kachka:

Has anyone in the Bush administration confided in you about being an atheist?
Well, I don't talk that much to them--maybe people think I do. I know something which is known to few but is not a secret. Karl Rove is not a believer, and he doesn't shout it from the rooftops, but when asked, he answers quite honestly. I think the way he puts it is, "I'm not fortunate enough to be a person of faith."

What must Bush make of that?
I think it's false to say that the president acts as if he believes he has God's instructions. Compared to Jimmy Carter, he's nowhere. He's a Methodist, having joined his wife's church in the end. He also claims that Jesus got him off the demon drink. He doesn't believe it. His wife said, "If you don't stop, I'm leaving and I'm taking the kids." You can say that you got help from Jesus if you want, but that's just a polite way of putting it in Texas.

While I can't say Team Bush's hypocrisy is exactly surprising, their cynicism continues to shock. It suggests that to Rove at least, the Bush administration's promotion of the Christian fundamentalist agenda was pure and simple a political gambit without much belief in it at the core of the Bush administration. It must have made it all the more painful for Bush to throw Harriet Miers overboard when evangelicals objected to her nomination because of some ambiguity over exactly how hard right her views were.

But maybe the Christian evangelical surge in the Republican Party isn't all bad. One of the most interesting moments during Thursday night's presidential debate was when born-again Christian Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (who later in the night, along with Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo, said he didn't believe in evolution) was asked what he thought about global warming:

JIM VANDEHEI, POLITICO.COM: Governor Huckabee, this question comes from Curtis Waldman (sp) from Boca Raton, Florida. Thousands of reputable scientists have concluded with almost certainty that human activity is responsible for the warming of the Earth. Do you believe global warming exists?

GOV. HUCKABEE: The most important thing about global warming is this: Whether humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the scientists, but it's all of our responsibility to leave this planet in better shape for the future generations than we found it. It's the old Boy Scout rule of the campsite; you leave the campsite in better shape than you found it.

I believe that even our responsibility to God means that we have to be good stewards of this Earth, be good caretakers of the natural resources that don't belong to us; we just get to use them. We have no right to abuse them.

Huckabee's concept of "creation care" is a growing force in religious circles: many fundamentalists are starting to realize that being loyal to God means not destroying His creation.

My sister-in-law works for Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, part of a national network of organizations that works with churches, synagogues, and mosques. She goes around to religious institutions in the DC area and makes presentations to them about global warming, and gets them to do everything from incresasing energy efficiency inside the church, distributing low-cost energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs to members, hosting a churchwide "Inconvenient Truth" showing - some very traditionally religious people are now evangelicalizing for saving the planet. And the environmental movement is making increasing efforts to reach out to all sorts of religious people. On Earth Day (which fell on a Sunday this year), the number one activity that Sierra Club recommended on its web site to its members was to reach out to area churches. And it published this Earth Day sermon guide.

You could see this spirit not just in Huckabee's global warming response, but also in McCain's response when asked whether or not he believed in evolution. He answered with a straight yes, but went on to talk about it in a way that connected his belief in evolution with his belief in God:

SEN. MCCAIN: I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

What a beautiful image! And it gives one hope that in the unlikely event McCain becomes president, he'll prove that one can be a conservative Republican of faith and not be a complete idiot 100 percent of the time (maybe he'll keep it to 90 percent).

Tags: atheism, atheist, Brownback, Bush, Christian, Debate, Environment, Evolution, fundamentalism, Global Warming, grand canyon, Huckabee, mccain, New York, Primary, Republican, Republicans, Rove, Sierra Club, Tancredo (all tags)



I've heard things about this before

I think maybe it was buried somewhere in a Rove biography I read a couple of years back.

Anyway, given Rove's strategy of pandering to the religious right, he's either a complete and total bigot, or he's cynical beyond belief. Maybe both.

by cdale77 2007-05-04 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: I've heard things about this before

The republican party has been playing religious conservatives for fools for years now. I don't think there's that many true believers in the upper ranks.

by Quinton 2007-05-04 10:27AM | 0 recs
Rove is giving us a bad name!

by faithfull 2007-05-04 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Hitchens: Karl Rove an Atheist

The neocons all believe in God. But they all worship His Adversary. The existence of Bohemian Grove should enlighten y'all.

by blues 2007-05-04 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Hitchens: Karl Rove an Atheist

Great, now I get to be compared to Stalin AND Karl Rove.... I don't know which one is worse...

by voodoochile78 2007-05-04 12:57PM | 0 recs
No question


by Korha 2007-05-04 02:25PM | 0 recs
An atheist?

The key to understanding the Bush Administration is that they're true believers on one subject only, the Global War on Terror. Everything else is just politics. It's not news that the christian right isn't taken seriously in White House--that's been clear for many years. Bush is a genuine man of faith, but the extent to which religion drives his actions is greatly, greatly exxagerated. Cheney is a a fatalist, and Rove has never pretended to be religious. The higher levels of the executive branch are filled with either neocons or Bush loyalists; religious fundamentalists have basically no true representation up there.

I don't think it's particularly interesting that Rove is, supposedly, an atheist. It doesn't make him a better or worse person than he was before--just means that he all cared about is growing the republican base and winning. Which we already knew. Atheism and religion aren't necessarily in conflict, not when they have shared secular goals. If there's one thing the current Republican party was good at, it was overlooking hypocrisy and difference to work at those common goals.

by Korha 2007-05-04 03:00PM | 0 recs


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