Irony Thick in Bush Interview with Focus on the Family

Sometimes, irony gets so thick you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry about it. I did a little of both while reviewing former President George W. Bush’s interview with Focus on the Family President Jim Daly.

In the interview, ostensibly about his new book Decision Points, Bush did what he has always done best: talk out of both sides of his mouth without realizing the hypocrisy of his words. Daly, similarly, did what he and Focus does best—not getting that the message they’re putting out starkly reveals their own hypocrisy.

For example, Bush tells Daly: “I don’t believe you can lead by demonizing somebody. I believe you lead by convincing somebody,” he says. “And in my case, I was unable to convince (some people) on different issues. I understood that.”

Here’s where tears of frustration begin. While Daly, who took over from founder Jim Dobson, has softened his organization’s rhetoric against gays and lesbians—even ending its “ex-gay” ministry—Focus has long been on the forefront of the demonization of gays and lesbians. However, it continues to preach about the sinfulness of homosexuality and continues to spread shame and encourage others to demonize or hate gays and lesbians.

Bush goes on the make the remarkable suggestion that Matthew 7:3 is the best scripture for politicians to remember: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Oh, that Bush would have actually paid attention to the plank in his own eye. Perhaps we would not be embroiled in two wars, an economic disaster, and the most polarized political climate in recent memory. Perhaps if Daly and other anti-gay crusaders would check that plank in their own eye they would understand the devastating discrimination faced by gays and lesbians instead of ranting about how they need to “change” or repress their true selves.

There’s more. Bush, the war president, still has the temerity to talk about a “culture of life” after starting two wars that has left more than 48,000 people dead in Afghanistan and 1.6 million dead in Iraq.

“I think the role of a leader is to understand there are differences on the issue of promoting a culture of life,” he says. “In other words, (we need to) convince people that we’re a more noble society if we honor life, without somebody castigating somebody based upon a differing opinion.”

Then again, the only “life” that matters to Bush and Focus on the Family is that of the unborn. Once you’re here—you’re fair game—and war on you becomes a “noble” pursuit.

Perhaps I can laugh through the tears.