The Passing of Public Integrity

“The other party took words to put together their platform, but left out three simple letters: G-O-D.” ~ George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush grew up in the home of devout Episcopalian parents. According to an article in The Morning Call, his father Prescott, a Republican senator from Connecticut, and his mother Dorothy led family worship every morning, using readings from the Episcopal “Book of Common Prayer” and “A Diary of Private Prayer” by Scottish Presbyterian theologian John Baillie. They modeled for their children how the Bible applied to daily life, and George adopted their faith as his own. While flying a combat mission for the Navy in September 1944, Bush’s plane was severely damaged on a bombing mission, forcing him to parachute into the Pacific Ocean south of Japan. Hunted by the Japanese, he was rescued when a U.S. submarine picked him up. Bush thanked God for saving his life and asked, “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?” Some years later, George and Barbara’s three-year-old daughter Robin’s battle with and eventual death from leukemia both tested and deepened Bush’s faith. “Our faith,” Bush testified, “truly sustained us.”

President Bush affirmed that Jesus was God’s divine Son and frequently referred to Christ as “our Savior.” Bush seasoned his speeches with biblical quotations and stories to make his point. He began his 1989 inaugural address by praying, “Heavenly Father, we … thank You for Your love.” Strengthen us “to do Your work.” Make us “willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: ‘Use power to help people.'” Bush’s Cabinet meetings always began with prayer. The Bushes prayed together every night before going to sleep.

I mourn the passing of public integrity and character. When moral strength is no longer expected or demanded, the foundation of civilization dissipates into a faint remembrance—the stuff of museums. The moment decency and justice atrophy and principle fades into nostalgia, society is doomed. While liberals herald the end of moral absolutes, conservatives fiddle with second-rate concerns. There is but one moral compass, a single litmus test of right and wrong. That immovable and irreducible crucible is God Himself as revealed in the Holy Bible. Let women and men debate Scripture but never relinquish hold on its Author as ground of all being. Our constitutional forefathers had in mind such a mooring, and though it is no longer in vogue, our future depends on returning to our past.

“We asked for God’s help; and now, in this shining outcome, in this magnificent triumph of good over evil, we should thank God.”

~ George H. W. Bush

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