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Home > News > Report

German leader slams 'God fearing' Bush

October 23, 2006 17:08 IST

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Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has come down heavily on US President George W Bush and the role of religion in the US.

In his 544 page memoir, Decisions, My Life in Politics , slated to be released Thursday, he says that Bush would constantly refer to his Christian beliefs, and "again and again in our private talks it became clear how God-fearing this President was and how ruled he was by what he saw as a Higher Power."

"The problem begins when political decisions seem to result from a conversation with God. If you legitimise political decisions in this way, then you cannot respond to criticism or suggestions by changing policies or introducing nuances, because doing that would be to betray God's orders received during prayer," says the former Chancellor, whose decision against sending troops to Iraq in 2002 won him a re-election but strained German ties with America.

"We rightly criticise that in most Islamic states there is no clear separation between religion and the rule of law," he said. "But we fail to recognise that, in the US, the Christian fundamentalists and their interpretation of the Bible have similar tendencies. If both sides claim to be in possession of the only valid truth, then there is no room for manoeuvre."

While asserting that he was not anti-American -- he recalls weeping when the US was attacked on September 11 2001 -- Schroeder, 62, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview that "it's a problem that isn't unique to Bush and the United States. When (a leader) takes political action directly from prayer, in other words from a dialogue with God, it can be problematic for a democracy."

He also took pot shots at his successor Angela Merkel, hinting that she lacked leadership qualities.

In another interview with Der Spiegel, he said that he was not contemplating a return to German politics. "I want to ease everyone's mind of that fear. For me there will be no return to politics."


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