A new book on former President George H.W. Bush explores his views on faith and morality, per Baptist News.

Bush had a long career in the public sector, which included serving as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993, according to his biography from the White House. He pledged to make the country “a kinder and gentler nation” as well as a “force for good.”

Character Matters: And Other Life Lessons from George H. W. Bush” features 150 essays on the former president’s beliefs.

Author Jean Becker, Bush’s longtime chief of staff, shares her own experiences and those of Bush’s loved ones and political colleagues.

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George H.W. Bush book

“Character Matters” brings together a diverse array of people, including former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, members of the Bush family and other friends, allies and former opponents of Bush, per Baptist News.

But the book is built around the experiences of Becker, who worked with Bush following his presidency up until his death in 2018. She had 25 years’ worth of insights into his personal and professional life.

“I wrote his friends, his colleagues, former staff, members of the family of course, and I said, ‘Can you tell me a story? Can you write an essay that illustrates either President Bush’s character or something that you learned from him?’” said Becker, per Baptist News. “It’s everybody from a couple of his head-of-state peers, men such as John Major from Great Britain, to former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, to Secretary James Baker, who wrote the foreword. Dan Quayle wrote the epilogue. It also included Democrats like former President Clinton to Nancy Pelosi, to the young man who mowed the yard at Walker’s Point.”

Contributors go into detail about their memories of Bush’s views on faith, morality and equality, from his effort to stand up for Rice in front of Mikhail Gorbachev to his oft-shared favorite quote, believed to have first been said by St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

How Bush used faith in his career

Bush was a devout Christian who wove his Episcopalian beliefs into his political career, per Religion News Service.

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He supported many policy positions held dear by more conservative Christians, including limits on abortion access and voluntary school prayer. His stances won him support from many faith leaders and their congregations, per Religion News Service.

“No other chief executive argued as often as Bush that the United States was ‘one nation under God’ and was accountable to Him,” wrote historian Gary Scott Smith, author of “Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents.”

In addition to drawing on his faith during his political career, Bush practiced his beliefs during his personal time, too.

“His faith was amazing,” Becker said, according to Baptist News. “This won’t surprise you, but it was very touching. He was not afraid to die. I called the last chapter, ‘A New Beginning.’ And that’s the chapter where the subtitle is ‘Faith.’ I called it ‘A New Beginning’ because that’s truly how (George and Barbara) both viewed dying. They had such a deep faith in God and a deep faith in heaven. Toward the end, they both were ready to go, and they were very open about it.”

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