Ethics & Public Policy Center

Works and Days

Published in Commentary on January 1, 2008



Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America's Faith-Based Future
by John J. DiIulio, Jr., University of California. 326 pp. $24.95.

In a Republican primary debate in December 1999, the six GOP candidates for President were asked to state their favorite political philosopher. Orrin Hatch named Abraham Lincoln. Steve Forbes chose John Locke. George W. Bush answered: “Christ, because he changed my heart.”

Bush's reply, an instance of his tendency to refer to his Christian faith, made waves on both sides of the American debate over church and state, as secularists hyperventilated about a coming theocracy and Christian conservatives hailed the prospect of a counteroffensive in the culture wars. Once Bush was elected and assumed office, both the fears and the hopes were heightened further by one of his signature policy proposals: the creation of a White House office of “faith-based and community initiatives.”

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