Obama Praises Bush as 'Man of Faith'

President Barack Obama praised former President George W. Bush's faith in an interview for Cathedral Age.

"I didn't agree with former President Bush on many issues, but I did respect him as a good husband, a loving father, and as a man of faith," Obama said.

Obama also speculated that Bush's faith influenced his policies on immigration and AIDS in Africa. Bush is a United Methodist, which is a mainline Protestant denomination.

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"I don't know how he would have approached the issue of immigration reform or AIDS in Africa if he were not a man of faith," Obama said.

Cathedral Age, a magazine published by the Washington National Cathedral, interviewed Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney about religion and politics, and how their personal faith influences their policy views.

Both were asked the same set of questions. Romney's answers tended to be short, whereas Obama went more in depth with his answers.

Obama and Romney have both dealt with controversy over their faith. A myth has been developed in some circles that Obama, a protestant Christian, is secretly a Muslim. And some have called Romney's church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a cult.

"Some people have questioned the sincerity of your faith and your Christianity. How do you respond to those questions?" Cathedral Age asked both.

Obama answered that there is not much he can do about it and his job of president does not involve convincing people of the genuineness of his faith.

"I do my best to live out my faith, and to stay in the Word, and to make my life look more like His," Obama said.

Romney said that every religion "has its own unique doctrines and history," and these differences "should not be basis for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance."

"Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree," Romney added.

When asked to name a favorite passage in Scripture, prayer or other words of wisdom, Romney cited the King James Version of Matthew 25:35-36: "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me."

Obama answered Psalm 46 and Isaiah 40:31: "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (NIV).

Obama also said that he receives a daily devotional from Joshua DuBois, head of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which may contain Scripture or writings from Christian authors, such as C.S. Lewis or Howard Thurman.

Obama and Romney also spoke about how their faith plays an important role in their daily lives. The full interview can be found on the National Cathedral website.

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