A significant news morsel buried in the middle of a ho-hum article about a meeting with President Bush in the Savannah Morning News deserves attention. In an interview with author Bruce Feiler, Larry Peterson went with the metro news headline stating that local boy makes good and meets with leader of the free world.
Eleven paragraphs into the story about Feiler, who met with Bush after the president praised Feiler’s book Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, we’re told the following:
In response, he said, the president portrayed himself as “a man of faith” who remains open to people of different faiths.
“I was surprised that he is so committed to the idea of separation of church and state,” the author said. “He said he tries to serve God but knows he doesn’t speak for God.
“He said he doesn’t feel he’s in a position to impose his faith on others and … never wanted people to vote for him because of his faith.”
Nowhere in the article is there any indication that Feiler’s account of this meeting was verified with sources other than Feiler. Not that there is any reason to doubt Feiler, but when writing about a man who historians will scrutinize for decades after any of us are here, it’s always to make sure that your facts and details are verified.
There’s also the problem that we’re not given any details on what this book is about other than its title. I’m not asking for a book review, but give us at least something. I will grant that the article is heavily hyperlinked, which gives online readers plenty of places to go for more information, but what about print subscribers?
Consider also that Bush is said to have committed to the concept of “separation of church and state,” but no mention is given on what that means or how this view works with his faith-based initiatives. It’s especially frustrating since the article tells us up front that they had a 20-minute conversation about it. I wish I could get my hands on a recording or a transcript.