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The Resistance Prays

December 1, 2018
By Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

Today's Top Story
George Bush had been fading in the last few days. He had not gotten out of bed, he had stopped eating and he was mostly sleeping. For a man who had defied death multiple times over the years, it seemed that the moment might finally be arriving.

His longtime friend and former secretary of state, James A. Baker III, arrived at his Houston home on Friday morning to check on him.

Mr. Bush suddenly grew alert, his eyes wide open. “Where are we going, Bake?” he asked.

“We’re going to heaven,” Mr. Baker answered.

“That’s where I want to go,” Mr. Bush said.

Barely 13 hours later, Mr. Bush was dead. The 41st president died in his home in a gated community in Houston, surrounded by several friends and members of his family. As the end neared on Friday night, his son George W. Bush was put on the speaker phone to say goodbye. He told him that he had been a “wonderful dad” and that he loved him.

Read more from the New York Times: "‘I Love You, Too’: George Bush’s Final Days. 
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
Read George's Lips and Die
I started paying attention to politics during the presidency of George Bush Jr. I remember his father, who was president when I was born in 1989, always being described as the better Bush president. That wasn't high praise in my progressive family and activists circles but shaped my understanding of the elder Bush. Sandwiched on either side by Reagan and his son as GOP Presidents, Bush Sr. seemed like the best Republican.  

Why am I sharing how my view of Bush Sr. was shaped? Because it informed my tweet this morning where I highlighted one recent moment I remembered about him. "George H.W. Bush served as a witness at a same-sex marriage in 2013. His own Christian denomination—the Episcopal Church—has also affirmed same-sex marriage in several stages since 2006." I used the photo (below left) in my tweet. I tweet frequently about public figures and the views of their denominations. I also try to point out good things in the wake of a public figure's death out of respect.

My tweet led to an immediate response: "Not sure we should really be giving him credit here when his administration was notoriously anti-LGBT and put fuel on the AIDs crisis." My Twitter follower linked to the photo of an ACT UP poster (below right).

I thought about deleting my original tweet and posted a revised one that mentioned AIDS and Bush's role in our nation's horrific response. Realizing it was Worlds AIDS Day made my omission in a tweet about Bush and LGBT rights even more glaring. But instead, I left the interaction public as it happened. The Twitter follower and I even continued our discussion in private. It made me grateful to be in community with so many other people wrestling with faith and public life. 

I regret my tweet, but not the interaction. We are sharpening each other as followers of Christ to better live out our callings in community together. Towards that goal, I'd like to invite you to push back on any prayer newsletter that you receive and want to criticize. We welcome your criticism. You can email me at and I'll make sure your reaction gets to the correct writer. Criticism is not always comfortable, but we are called to hold each other accountable.
I mean what I wrote: let us know when you disagree or want to question something in these prayer newsletters. Just hit reply and we will help sharpen each other!
God of All Comfort, grant George H. W. Bush eternal rest in heaven. May we learn from his life in politics how we can better work toward the common good, acknowledging both the good and evil that characterized his life and our own. On this World AIDS Day, may we have a revolution of values that lead to a society where we uphold the dignity of every person and brings about an end to AIDS and anti-LGBT discrimination everywhere.  Amen. 
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