CNN guest: Bush Bible comment shocked evangelicals
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday December 11, 2008

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George W. Bush's recent statement that he believes the Bible is "probably not" literally true has apparently left many Christian conservatives reeling in shock.

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network told CNN"s John Roberts on Thursday, "I think a lot of social conservative evangelicals were surprised -- probably grabbing the smelling salts as we speak."

Bush made the controversial statement during a Monday interview on ABC's Nightline. When asked whether he thinks the Bible is literally true, he replied, "Probably not. No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it."

One blogger at the conservative Washington Times, commented the next morning, "I already have an e-mail from a former Bush administration official who writes, 'This just completely alienated his evangelical supporters.'"

Bush further stated in the interview, "I think that God created the Earth ... and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution."

Brody suggested that Bush may have merely been referring to what creationists call "microevolution" -- small-scale changes that do not rise to the level of creating new species. However, he didn't appear altogether confident, telling Roberts, "The problem was, the president didn't seem all that -- if you want to use the word -- coherent on the subject."

Brody, who has written that Bush would "have had to go into damage control mode" after these comments if he were still running for office, said that the remarks definitely "would have been an issue" in 1999, when Bush was actively seeking the support of the religious right in his bid for the presidency.

Brody concluded by suggesting, with what appeared to be a note of bitterness, that "George Bush has always been -- quote -- 'good' on the 'life' issue with social conservatives and good with the marriage issue. And it seems that he had cover because he had the public policy positions down."

Some evangelicals, however, claim they were not surprised by Bush's remarks. A blog titled "The Moral Collapse Of America" pointed out after the interview that "George W. Bush's religious beliefs are not compatible with evangelical Christianity," because "Bush has openly said many times that Christians, Muslims and all other religions pray to the same God."

"Evangelical Christians were conned into thinking that Bush was 'one of them,'" the Moral Collapse blogger concluded. "the reality is that he isn't one of them and he never was."

This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast Dec. 11, 2008.

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