Republican contenders for president met in Iowa recently to talk about politics and a testimonial broke out. When asked to identify his favorite philosopher-thinker, George W. Bush responded, “Christ, because he changed my heart.” Gary Bauer concurred. Senator Orrin Hatch covered the more obvious political bases by naming Lincoln and Reagan, but took care to cite Christ as well.
From the time that George W. Bush declared Jesus his favorite political philosopher to the day Joseph Lieberman joined the Democratic ticket quoting the Book of Chronicles, religion was in the limelight during the 2000 presidential campaign. And when it was all over, Bush entered office amidst a flurry of worship services, clerical blessings and religious consultations.
Mexico’s popular culture is Catholic, but its politics and state are secular. Vast majorities demonstrate both immense respect for the Roman Catholic Church and firm opposition to the political involvement of religious leaders or symbols. During the recent presidential campaign, Vicente Fox Quesada raised hackles by waving the flag of the Virgin of Guadalupe.