June 24, 2005

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Faith of our fathers is evident in presidency

In my two decades of writing for The Criterion, I have never blatantly recommended a television program. However, I do now. I suggest that readers tune their TV sets to PAX-TV on June 28 at 9 p.m. ( EDT ), 8 p.m. ( CDT ).

I learned about this program through e-mail from Grizzly Adams Productions ( GAP ), Inc., which for ten years has made family-friendly films. GAP ’s message offered a preview DVD about “faith in the White House.”

When I found the actual DVD ’s full title to be “George W. Bush: Faith in the White House,” my fear was this might be political propaganda; but it is not about politics. It is about faith, not only in the White House currently but with an historical overview about the faith of past presidents.

Also, I learned this: Every American president has mentioned God in his inaugural speech. (Of course, I then wondered why the name of God in prayer is tolerated in such a public setting but frowned upon when used in legislative sessions or public schools. But that’s another story.)

The DVD taught me more than I ever knew about President Bush and his background. It also gives previously unknown insight into the spiritual life of America’s leader in the Oval Office, as well as that of his family and associates. Special, too, are the interviews with people of varied ages and religions who have witnessed Bush’s faith-in-action. One is a poignant but happy segment about a faith-filled seriously ill boy getting his wish to meet the president.

BBC correspondent Justin Webb sums up some of the program well: “Nobody spends more time on his knees than George W. Bush. The Bush administration hums to the sound of prayer. Prayer meetings take place day and night. It’s not uncommon to see White House functionaries hurrying down corridors carrying Bibles.”

However, this revealing behind-the-scenes documentary is not all roses. It also frankly reveals the president’s not so exemplary past life, including the reason he made a personal decision to change at age 40.

I encourage readers to see this June 28 PAX-TV program no matter what political views are held. As I said before, this is not about politics. It is about faith.

Readers wanting a DVD or additional information can do so through Grizzly Adams Productions, Inc: ­ www.grizzlyadams.tv or 800-811-0548.

Faith in the White House reminded me of writer Frederick William Faber’s well-known words for the hymn, “Faith of our Fathers.” The original third stanza reflected Faber’s Catholic roots: “Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers/Shall win our country back to thee …” That reminds us to also place our nation’s future into the loving care of Christ’s Blessed Mother.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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