+George Herbert Walker Bush+

Image result for george hw bush

On Friday, November 30, the 41st President of the United States died at the age of 94 years, five months, and 18 days. He was born in Milton, Mass., and died at home in Houston, Tex.

At the time of his death he was the third-longest-lived vice president, and the longest-lived president in U.S. history. Since the day he died, U.S. news sources have highlighted his career and family, including wife Barbara, who passed away earlier this year; son George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President; and son Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor. George H.W.’s personal life was accentuated by boating and parachuting activities that extended into his ninth decade.

President Bush was raised in the Episcopal Church and expressed his faith publicly in numerous ways, including his Thousand Points of Light speech, his support for prayer in public schools, and his pro-life views. His faith was also reflected in the music he chose for the arrival of his body in Washington D.C. to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. The selections played by a military band were Beautiful Savior and A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

People of all ages and physical conditions waited for hours in the Washington cold to enter the Rotunda. Memorable sights were many, including a Boy Scout standing at attention and saluting for an extended period of time; 95-year old former U.S. Senator Robert Dole, in a wheelchair, with great effort standing and saluting the casket with a crippled left hand; and numerous world famous professional sports and political figures.

Yesterday the casket was moved to Washington National Cathedral for a memorial service clearly reflecting President Bush’s Christian faith. The service featured powerful Christ centered preaching, with numerous inspirational hymns and dynamic choral presentations. It was seasoned with both serious reflections and humorous comments from family members and political personalities.

Another memorial service will be held today at 10:00 a.m. CST at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. From there his body will be transported to College Station, Tex., where he will be laid to rest at the Bush Library on the campus of Texas A & M University next to his wife Barbara and their three-year-old daughter Pauline Robinson Bush (Robin), who died of leukemia 65 years ago.

Of particular note to me this week have been the broad and non-partisan expressions of respect and even love for this man, particularly at a time of hugely partisan political division in America. It was also quite encouraging to hear again the clear expressions of his Christian faith.

The New York Times reported: His [Bush’s] longtime friend and former Secretary of State, James A. Baker III, arrived at his Houston home on Friday morning to check on him. Mr. Bush suddenly grew alert, his eyes wide open. “Where are we going, Bake?” he asked. “We’re going to heaven,” Mr. Baker answered. “That’s where I want to go,” Mr. Bush said. Barely 13 hours later, Mr. Bush was dead.

Fox News Sunday reported: Baker, who called Bush his best friend, discussed his peaceful final day. “He had a very gentle and peaceful passing,” Baker said.  “They made arrangements for all of his children to call in to in effect tell him goodbye. His son former President George W. Bush called in to say ‘Dad, I love you, I will see you on the other side’ and President Bush said ‘I love you, too’ and those were his last words. He had a very gentle and easy passing, the kind we ought to all hope we have.”

Guy Benson, Political Editor for Townhall.com, concluded: Death is an inevitability, so perhaps this is the best way to go: Saying final, loving goodbyes to everyone who matters in your life before dying at a ripe old age, after living an incredibly full and consequential life. Bush was a war hero, a Congressman from Texas, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Republican National Committee Chairman, Director of the CIA, Vice President of the United States, and President of the United States.

And I add: “George Herbert Walker Bush, rest in peace. Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Islam’s Future in America—Part V

Muslim PrayerThis is the fifth part of a series resourced by Dr. Adam Francisco’s article cited in Part I.

In the last two decades of the twentieth century Islamist presence increased in the United States and across the globe. In U.S. political circles Islam was not seen as posing a challenge or threat but was accepted and even embraced. Political leaders with names like Clinton, Bush and Obama made efforts to disassociate Islam from violence.

“However, especially after September 11, 2001, many average Americans began to see things differently.” Even before that, during the 1990s, others “were warning Americans in print and other media about the deleterious influence and potential violent consequences of Islamism left unchecked.” There was, and still is, much American ambivalence towards Islam.

Some individual Muslims thickened the plot by living lives of “dissimilation and deception.” They gave the outward impression of responsible, peaceful behavior that in fact masked a life devoted to violence. Some served for a while as religious leaders in respected U.S. institutions, only to defect to places in the Middle East, connecting with violent al-Qaeda activities there.

While that was going on, other Muslims endeavored to “take back Islam from those who have allegedly corrupted it.” Some have made “remarkable contributions toward efforts to educate and expose the proliferation and danger of Islamist ideology amidst a significant number of American Muslims and their organizations.”

Some of these more moderate Muslims lacked the knowledge, credentials and credibility necessary to speak authoritatively and persuasively. Some even attempted to “deconstruct the classical (and exclusivist) politicized theology of Islam and reconstruct in its place an Islam that has never existed—one that champions constitutional government, tolerance, pluralism, etc.” While some progress has resulted, Muslims have been instructed by their authorities not to listen.

For Americans, one of the most penetrating questions about Islam is “what it means to be Muslim in societies that are not.” Historically and legally Muslims are required by sharia law to reside in “the abode of Islam, where Muslims dominate the population and Islamic law informs the institutions and preserves the mores of society.” The territory outside the center of Islam is “the territory into which the abode of Islam is to expand in what Muhammad described as a perpetual jihad that should take place until the day of judgment.” More about this next week.

As previously stated, my goal with this series of articles is to be as objective and accurate as possible, being neither unnecessarily alarmist nor gullibly naïve about the potential impact of Islam’s future in America. Stay tuned for next week’s conclusion of this series. God bless you!