Leaders Shouldn’t Separate Faith and Politics, Catholic Governor Jeb Bush States

By Elizabeth O’Brien

ATLANTA, Georgia, August 9, 2007 ( - Republican governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, brother of President George Bush, described his "faith journey" to audiences at a Catholic conference this summer, emphasizing that faith and politics should not be separated.

The devout Catholic and pro-life politician received a standing ovation from a crowd of families, children, priests and young people before he even began his speech at the 11th Youth and Family Encounter conference at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The event was sponsored this July by the international Catholic lay movement Regnum Christi.

He underlined the fact that leaders should not separate their faith from their political careers. "I don’t know how one can do that," he said. "As governor I didn’t do that. I tried not to."

"I don’t think you can separate your personal faith from your public actions, and I don’t think you need to. I think transparent, openly expressing your faith is a good thing."

He also stated, "Jesus was my best political advisor."

Describing the narrow Republican win for the State of Florida in the 2000 Presidential Elections, Bush said that he prayed while the voting was taking place. "I prayed in the governor’s mansion at 2 o’clock in the morning when it was total chaos," he said as the crowds broke into applause.

"For a public servant, you are constantly tested, and if I did not have my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I would have been exhausted in the first year of service," he said.

Bush spoke about the fact that the government provides millions of dollars towards abstinence programs and crisis pregnancy centers. In addition, he encouraged partnership between the government and faith-groups, stating, "One of the first lessons I learned as governor was partnership  where you can tear down barriers that allow people to act on their faith is important," he said. He also emphasized the importance of respecting the rights and dignity of immigrants, the disabled and people of all ages.

Jeb Bush was closely involved in the case of Terri Schiavo in 2004 as governor of Florida. Putting his own words into practice, Bush signed Terri’s law - a move approved by the State legislature - that would remove her from her husband’s authority and thereby protect her life. Bush also appealed the Supreme Court to change its mind when it struck down the law (see”>

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