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George H.W. Bush

Faith, Presidency, and Public Theology

Kjell Lejon

This book is the first to explore the religious dimension of President George H. W. Bush. Also, the author re-conceptualizes the common use of civil religion in order to understand more fully the religious dimension of Bush’s presidency, and thus argues for the need to highlight the religious rhetoric of President George H.W. Bush as a public theology, or more specifically, a presidential public theology.
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Chapter 3: Political Journey from Houston to Washington


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Chapter 3 Political Journey from Houston to Washington

Texas had for a long time been a state where Democrats ruled. When John Tower was elected Senator as a replacement for Lyndon B. Johnson, who had became vice president in 1961, Tower was the first Republican senator since the Reconstruction.113 “The rightward future of the state was emerging” with this election, if we listen to Bill Clinton.114

In 1962, the year Bush’s father Prescott Bush retired from the Senate, George Bush was asked to run for the chairmanship of the Republican Party in Harris County. He was elected in February 1963 and became a success as a hard-working chairman, even though members of the John Birch Society criticized him for being too eastern and too moderate.

Bush decided to make another move in politics. He ran for the Senate in 1964, against Democrat Ralph Yarborough, a liberal who was Texas’s senior senator. Bush won the Republican primary and came out as a very conservative frontrunner, espousing “responsible conservatism.”115 Nevertheless, he almost turned out to be as politically conservative as Barry Goldwater, the person on the top of the Republican presidential ticket, but lost the election to his Democratic opponent. Bush had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, denounced the United Nations, called the Democrats soft on the Vietnam War, proposed arming exiles from Cuba in order to overthrow Fidel Castro, and even argued against a treaty for a nuclear test-ban....

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