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G. Tracy Mehan, III, served at EPA in the administrations of both presidents Bush.
Rush Limbaugh interviewed Bill Buckley in the mid-'90s for his radio show. I remember listening, but now after more than a decade I recall only one comment. Discussing his faith, Buckley affirmed that, yes, he was a Christian. But that he thought perhaps he wasn’t a very good one. He wasn’t being coy. The thing that struck me was the humility of it.
Though his first book addressed the encroachments of atheism in academia, Buckley never shoved his faith in the face of others. The reason was simple enough. He claimed that was he wasn’t evangelistically inclined or theologically expert. But his faith informed his life and work nonetheless. Limbaugh interviewed Buckley in part to promote his then-latest novel Brothers No More, a morally charged tale of love and hubris, faith and sin. And wasn’t the very act of standing athwart history yelling “Stop!” rooted not in fears of technology or progressive plots, but rather in his knowledge that modernism was rolling over values and obligations that transcended the passing of time, values that Buckley believed emanated from Christian truth?
But always with humility. Asked after the publication of his book Nearer, My God, about the steadfastness of his faith, why he never succumbed to doubt or skepticism, his answer was simple: “Grace.” Characteristic of this amicable nature, he could on the one hand say that “the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world” (God and Man at Yale), and still affirm that Christians could welcome the company of atheists because “faith is a gift and that, therefore, there is no accounting for the bad fortune that has beset those who do not believe or have the good fortune that has befallen those who do” (The Jeweler’s Eye).
Now Buckley is with God, the same God that sparked his imagination, informed his thoughts, and peeked through his prose. And as a model for integrating belief into vocation, for folding faith into one’s work, I think perhaps that he was a very good Christian indeed.
Joel Miller is the Business and Culture publisher for Thomas Nelson Publishers.
He was larger in life than anyone I’ve known. As a practical matter, it’s safe to say if not for him I’d not be here, nor would this publication, and who knows about our readership. But because he was so alive for everyone, we could all take him for granted, secure and content that he was a constant presence who made us all look better, a giant intellect, a princely, kindly human being, the perfect gentleman, and a fearless and brilliant defender of all that was important.
Death is never more perfidious than when it arrives at the cruelest time. For many decades, this time of year would have found Buckley in Gstaad, Switzerland, where as only he could he would combine skiing and work for what I always hoped were many blissful weeks on end. It was heartbreaking to read several years ago that for reasons of health he would no longer be able to winter in Gstaad. If there was one man on earth who should never have been deprived of what he had earned, it was he.
His life was a study in tirelessness and unimaginable productivity. If only I had kept count of the many conservative dinners and other gatherings at which I heard him speak, though always the next night he had another conservative event to attend and honor with his presence, often in a town or city hundreds if thousands of miles away. Cruising Speed and Overdrive chronicled that style of life in the most irresistible manner. In writing it down, he was perhaps trying to find a way to keep up with himself. Regardless, beyond the camaraderie, bonhomie, and joie de vivre conveyed in those books, one could detect in them the real purpose of his activity — the building and nurturing of conservative institutions and conservatism as such. He was not only an American original. He was an American Founder.p> Wlady Pleszczynski is editorial director and website editor of The American Spectator. br> /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?