Bush’s Inaugural Address contained many explicit references to God, but there were even more hidden allusions to the Bible that may have been lost to many in his audience, as they were to me, before I did some research.
Here are a few of the hidden passages.
When Bush thanked the American people for granting him patience in “good measure,” he was echoing Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure. . . .”
When Bush talked of the “ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever,” he was echoing Hebrews 13:8, which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
When Bush talked about the “untamed fire of freedom” in a passage that included the phrase “hope kindles hope,” he was echoing passages from Jeremiah. For instance, Jeremiah 17:27 says: “I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem.” And Jeremiah 50:32 says: “I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her.”
There are many other passages in the Bible that have a raging fire in them. For instance, Isaiah 33:14: “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’ ”
When Bush talked about the day when “the captives are set free,” he was echoing Ephesians 4:7-9, which says: “He led the captives free.”
When Bush talked about the day “the unjust encounter justice,” he was echoing Job 27, which states, “May my enemies be like the wicked, my adversaries like the unjust.” (This section of Job says that the unjust and the wicked and the ruthless will meet a grisly fate: “However many his children, their fate is the sword; his offspring will never have enough to eat.”)
When Bush talked about the need to “surround the lost with love,” he was echoing the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15.
When Bush said, “History also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty,” he was being none too subtle. But he was also alluding to Acts 3:15 (“You killed the author of life”) and Hebrews 12:2 (“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”).
Toward the end, when Bush said, “Freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul,” he was echoing Psalm 107: “For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness. . . .”
Our First Amendment says that there shall be “no establishment of religion.” In his speech, Bush was clearly establishing religion. He was denying a place in the United States for those without faith. And while he waved at those of other faiths, his repeated allusions were mostly to the Christian Bible.
If you follow his metaphors and allusions to their logical ends, you realize that Bush was cloaking our secular values of freedom and liberty and justice in distinctly Christian garb.