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Religion in the Oval OfficeThe Religious Lives of American Presidents$
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Gary Scott Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391394.001.0001

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George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush

“One Nation under God”

(p.293) 9 George H. W. Bush
Religion in the Oval Office

Gary Scott Smith

Oxford University Press

George H. W. Bush was raised in a devout Episcopalian family and remained affiliated with this denomination for almost all his life. However, Bush’s theology and social policies had more in common with evangelicals than with more liberal Protestants. Bush’s faith was very important to him and helped shape a number of his presidential policies. He continually exhorted Americans to seek God’s aid to deal with the nation’s challenges and problems. No other chief executive argued as often as Bush that the United States was “one nation under God” and was accountable to Him. Bush frequently accentuated faith, morality, service, and family values. He maintained generally cordial relations with many leading evangelicals by supporting the sanctity of life, voluntary school prayer, religiously based child care, and parental control of education. Bush’s faith substantially influenced his policy in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991, most notably Operation Desert Storm’s liberation of Kuwait.

Keywords:   George H. W. Bush, one nation under God, Episcopalian, evangelicals, presidential policies, Billy Graham, school prayer, Operation Desert Storm

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