The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston officiated at Jenna Bush's lakeside wedding at the President's Crawford home Saturday. In January the "longtime spiritual adviser to the president said he had decided to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kirbyjon introduced Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention and gave the benediction at both of his inaugurations."
"Those who know Bush, even the ones who hate him, will tell you he and his family are genuinely colorblind," writes The Anchoress, contemplating the difference between class and no class:
That is something the Clintons never were. They talked color, used color, played color, and to some extent that is coming back to bite them now, with Obama’s candidacy, as Hillary makes a weird reference to “hard-working white Americans” …
The over-conscious Democrat president promised a cabinet that “looked like America,” but that promise didn’t hold. Contrast that with Bush’s cabinet. There’s talking, and then there’s walking.
We loved the sentiments of Anchoress commenter gcotharn:
Seeing the photo [of the young couple and Rev. Caldwell, above] and reading your post reminds me of a long ago article about the two-man architectural team who designed the houses on Bush’s property. Both architects were gay, both worked and met extensively with Laura and Governor Bush — whom they described as completely gracious and welcoming, as well as completely interested in the most up-to-date methods of making their structures eco-friendly.
As you mentioned: the President’s and Laura’s sense of decorum and grace is quite opposite from the Clintons’.
That sounds SO George Dubya, something he would have learned at Barbara Bush's knee.
"I was absolutely shocked when [Jenna] called," the affable, easygoing Rev. Caldwell told a local TV reporter. "She said 'I'm getting married, and I'd like you to perform the ceremony.' I said 'Okay. I can do that' … If you did not know that it was a daughter of a President getting married, you would not know that by being there." Watch video here.
"And you have to remember as well, I knew the president when he was governor," Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell told a Beliefnet interviewer shortly after GWs 2004 reelection:
Sometimes people ask me, "Has he changed?" Well, we all change. But his core DNA remains rock-steady and virtually the same. He's the same reliable, dependable guy with a great sense of humor, who enjoys life and wants to do the best he can as president of the United States.
In fact, he told me last week he's gonna work until his term is up. He is not going to be a kick-up-your-boots on the desk second-term president. He wants to do what the people have elected him to do.
"Bush admired Caldwell's work in using faith-based programs run out of his church to meet social needs," notes the interviewer:
Over the years, they became friends, even though Caldwell is not a Republican. Why? Both are Texans. Both are Methodists. Both earned MBAs from renowned business schools. And both have a passion for faith-based programs. Beyond that, they both are known as straight-shooting CEO types who don't get tangled up in a lot of introspection.
Googling around a bit for clues that might shed light on Rev. Caldwell's decision to endorse Barack Obama, we stumbled upon something both the pastor and the presidential wannabe participate in called the Saguaro Seminar, "an ongoing initiative of Professor Robert D. Putnam at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University" that focuses on "the relationship between social capital, diversity and equality, and on religion and public life." Putnam is the political scientist who suppressed the unexpectedly politically incorrect results of his own diversity research last year. John Leo at City Journal described Putnam's dilemma:
His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.
But even as academics like Putnam may "get tangled up in a lot of introspection," the "straight-shooting CEO types" like Rev. Caldwell are rolling up their sleeves. According to Wikipedia:
One of the major themes of Caldwell's preaching has been the need for his congregation to follow Jesus Christ's lead by being actively involved in community service [akin to the Catholic Church's "subsidiarity"?]. Taking the lead, Caldwell has transformed the Windsor Village United Methodist Church into an all-purpose community help center … The mission of the Power Center is to create jobs in the low-income neighborhood and to teach members of the neighborhood how to create wealth. The Center's motto is from Isaiah 61.4: "They shall repair the ruined cities and restore what has long lain desolate."
What a breath of fresh air compared to Barack Obama's lately spurned spiritual mentor, the "audaciously hopeful" Jeremiah Wright, with his "Black Value System" and "disavowel of 'middleclassness,' a selfish pursuit of money and status without giving back to the larger black community." Kirbyjon Caldwell's can-do spirit puts the lie to Rev. Wright's willful misreading of the legendary generosity of middle-class America, black or white.