U.S. President George W. Bush thanks members of the St. Patrick's Cathedral choir for performing during an event marking the "National Day of Prayer" in the East Room of the White House May 1, 2008 in Washington, DC. The National Day of Prayer is a day designated by the U.S. Congress when Americans of all faiths are requested to pray together in the own manner. (Getty Images)more pics »With no elections to worry about and no Karl Rove looking over his shoulder, President George W. Bush gave an interview to ABC's Nightline where he admitted that he thinks the Bible is "probably not" literally true.
I don't think [cre- ationism is] incom- patible with the scien- tific proof that there is evolution. - George W. Bush
on ABC's Nightline
That puts him out of line with the Fundamentalist Christian base that helped get him elected twice. Surprisingly enough (to me at least), it also puts him out of line with a majority of Americans, 54 percent of whom believe the Bible to be literally true, according to a 2006 Rasmussen survey. I honestly didn't realize that percentage would be so high.
That means whenever you meet a random fellow American, there's better than a 50/50 chance that they believe Jonah really spent three days hanging out inside a whale before being spit out and sent on his way.
Over on the Washington Post, blogger John Ward relays one pertinent message he received: "I already have an e-mail from a former Bush administration official who writes, "This just completely alienated his evangelical supporters."
Bush went on to further alienate hardcore fundamentalist Bible-thumpers by saying he doesn't see why evolution and creationism can't coexist.
Here's a nice chunk of the interview:
MCFADDEN: Is it literally true, the Bible?
BUSH: You know. Probably not ... No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament, for example is ... has got ... You know, the important lesson is "God sent a son."
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible...
BUSH: That God in the flesh, that mankind can understand there is a God who is full of grace and that nothing you can do to earn his love. His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior.
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can -- it's not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.
BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life and ...
MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?
BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.
MCFADDEN: But what about ...
BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution. Honestly, Bush seems a little taken aback by the line of questioning and I think ABC might have just caught him with his guard down in an uncharacteristically candid (though not necessarily eloquent) moment.
What do you think? Are you surprised Bush would say the Bible isn't literally true? Vote here.
Or do you think the Bible is literally true? Vote here.