As if we needed more evidence that George Bush is out of touch with reality to an extent that borders on the delusional, the Washington Post reports that at a recent United Nations interfaith conference he said:
"We may profess different creeds and worship in different places, but our faith leads us to common values."
Right. Common values like freedom of speech. (Oh, wait, Islam does not believe in freedom of speech.) Like equal rights for women. (Oh, wait, Islam does not believe in equal rights for women.) Like freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. (Oh, wait...)
OK, well, the common values that religion leads us to are what has led the Sunnis and the Shia to get along so well. (Oh...)
All right, surely faith can lead us to agree that people should not be discriminated against because of the color of their skin (Oh, wait...) or their sexual orientation...
The sad fact of the matter is that there is not a single common value that "people of faith" all share. Not one. This is because faith undermines our evolved moral intuitions which lead us to know instinctively that, for example, it's a bad idea to kill a fellow member of your own species unless you have a damn good reason. This is why in the history of the world there has never been a violent conflict between two secular groups over ideology. Not once. But the pages of history are red with the blood of people who died for religious ideology.
"Faith leads us to common values" is not just wrong, it is perversely wrong.
Bush does offer up a clue as to how someone who is not overtly psychotic can come to believe such nonsense:
Bush said religious belief "changed my life" and "sustained me through the challenges and joys of my presidency." He also suggested faith can transform relations between nations and cultures.
No doubt the pressures of the Presidency of the United States (and the overwhelming magnitude of Bush's failure upon abject failure) are easier to deal with if one indulges in self-delusion. And long-time readers of my blog will know that I have a certain amount of sympathy for that position. But there is a huge difference between saying, "My faith helped me" (which can be true) and saying "Faith leads people to common values," which is manifestly, brazenly, and staggeringly false.