Mr. Bush and the Lord
In his good July 2 article on President Bush ["A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease," front page], Peter Baker attributed to me a view (although, thank goodness, not in quotes) that the president sees himself as doing the Lord's work. I would not have put it that way, because no one is ever sure that he is doing that, and I would not attribute that view to President Bush.
With Mr. Baker I used the analogy of a conscientious journalist or a conscientious historian. You know in advance that you will take criticism one way or the other, and you know that your own judgments will be legitimately disputed by others. But if in the quiet of your conscience you know you are doing the best you can, even when faced with intense opposition, you can find in that a kind of inner liberty and even peace.
But that does not mean that you see yourself as doing the Lord's work, only doing the best you can in the storm, while entrusting the outcome to Him.
Or, in the case of those who do not pray, in the fair judgment of history.
The writer holds the George Frederick Jewett chair in philosophy, religion and public policy at the American Enterprise Institute.