Search - With God on Our Side - George W. Bush and the Rise of the Religious Right in America on DVD

With God on Our Side - George W. Bush and the Rise of the Religious Right in America
With God on Our Side - George W Bush and the Rise of the Religious Right in America
Actors: Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham
Director: David Van Taylor;Calvin Skaggs
Genres: Drama, Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 41min

What makes George W. Bush tick? While much of the world is confounded by his righteous rhetoric and his boundless certainty, Bush's story makes perfect sense to one group: America's conservative evangelicals...also known a...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham
Director: David Van Taylor;Calvin Skaggs
Genres: Drama, Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Religion, Religion & Spirituality, Television, Politics
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/25/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 01/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The real danger is that someday the evangelicals will gain so much power that they will turn this country into a theocracy. You can believe that the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Robison and others, if given the choice of a country under their power or a country under the power of the people, would not hesitate to install themselves or someone who would do their bidding.

Well, would this be a bad thing for America? The astonishing thing is that many people would say "No, it wouldn't be a bad thing for America." The more amazing thing is, it could happen.

Democracy and the rule of law, the idea of equal rights for all citizens and a government of checks and balances is actually something new in the world if one takes a long view. Throughout most of human history most rulers were tyrannical and told the people that they derived their power and authority from God. Whether they were European kings, Japanese emperors, Islamic ayatollahs or Easter Island chieftains, they all spoke for and were to spoken to in a privileged way by God. It is only in the last two centuries or so that democratic leaders have risen to rule their countries without the claim that they rule by the authority of God. Thanks to the Enlightenment and the rise of education for the masses it has become increasing difficult to persuade the majority of people that any individual should rule because that individual (and his supporters) say he is God's choice. After all, who decides who is God's choice, and how can we know? Who speaks for God?

That is the real question. In Iran the ayatollahs speak for God. In America it is often the TV evangelist. But they speak in different tongues and they say diametrically opposed things. Both have the Truth and the Light. Both have God on their side.

Today's evangelical Christians claim that it is they who speak for God and it is they who know God's will. Ah, to know God's will. Such arrogance. And in their arrogance they would turn this country into a theocracy in which their will would be done in the name of God.

The problem with having God on your side is that you can't be wrong. Not only that but with God on your side it is easy to persuade yourself that the ends you believe in justify the means you will use to achieve them. If someone is against you, it is easy to see that they are against God. Since you can't be wrong, why should there be any discussion? Why should anyone be allowed to stand in your way?

This is why it is dangerous for the rest of us to allow the evangelics to take over the Republican Party on their way to taking over the country. You can be sure, given the power, they will usher in an Age of Ignorance and Superstition to rival that of the Middle Ages and (by the way) initiate an apocalyptic war with Islam and any other religion or creed that tries to oppose their Truth. After all, to them this life on earth is only a brief period of time before the Judgment. And those who do not follow their beliefs will be in eternal damnation anyway. So what does it matter what we do today or tomorrow or the next when the Rapture is coming and Christ again and the day of judgment?

Question: By what authority does Pat Robertson speak for God?

Answer: By the same authority that Osama bin Laden speaks for God.

This documentary--like no other documentary that I have ever viewed--will appeal simultaneously to both the evangelicals and those who oppose them. Both sides will see in this documentary evidence that supports their point of view. The evangelicals will see their glorious and upstanding heroes triumphant, and others will be disgusted at the very sight on screen of the carefully coiffured liars and hypocrites and those who lust for power. It will also explain why George W. Bush became the President of the United States, and send a warning. What sort of man might the evangelicals elect next?"
A good objective look at the situation
Daniel Killman | Nashville, TN USA | 01/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Whether you're on the side of the Christian right or suspicious of it, this film successfully gives nothing more than the facts about the conservative/fundamentalist's political agenda and its influence on the U.S. political scene over the last several decades. It never resorts to taking a stand. Those on the right will find nothing to disdain, and those on the opposite side will perhaps be more informed about what they fear. The movie gives the entire scenario, much of which I've either forgotten, or perhaps never was aware of, regarding the Rev. Billy Graham's unfortunate support of Nixon, President Reagen's Supreme Court nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor and her "disappointing" track record (to those on the right), the presidential bid of Pat Robertson and his scarey jump start in the early primaries, and how conservatives feel that George W. is finally, definitely their man. All very interesting and informative."
Illuminating, but hollow
Jean E. Pouliot | Newburyport, MA United States | 07/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"WGOOS is an examination of the rise of conservative Christians (especially the Moral Majority) as a political force in America over the last 40 years. It uses interviews with some of the movement's heavy hitters -- Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Chuck Colson, Ralph Reed and others -- to discuss the movement's ups, downs and political maturation. The film seems intended as a critique of the movement. In this it fails, depicting these men (and they are all men!) on their turf, with no agenda other than to bring Christ to the nation. But there's little examination that the "Christ" they are talking about is pro-American, pro-capitalism and pro-conservative. If there's a lack of balance in the film, it's that there is almost no voice to oppose the self-sanctifying stories these men tell of themselves. It would have been helpful to the ordinary viewer, for instance, had voices from the religious center or left be added to challenge the conservative interpretation of Jesus and the gospels. It would have been helpful too had the film shown more clips from the TV shows these men run. Falwell's claim that the ACLU and lesbians (among others) were to blame for 9/11 was included, but little other spectacular and disturbing material. As it is, the men seem quaint and passionate about their faith, but little more.

The second part of the movie focused on the rise of George W. Bush as the latest hope of religious right to push their agenda. The movie makes a strong case for Bush's sincerity as a believing Christian. After seeing Bush praying and preaching and talking about God, it's hard to believe him to be completely cynical on the subject. The film buttresses the case for Bush the believer, but fails to note behaviors or positions at odds with that image. Bush's consistent support for tax cuts for the wealthy, for instance, ought to strike Christians as a bit out of the gospel mainstream. Indeed, the film is so careful about the topic that it comes across as almost worshipful - inadvertently providing us with an idyll to George W. Bush as God's choice for America.

The film was strongest when it put the viewer inside the mind of conservatives as they watched the parade of recent presidents. It was painful to watch Jimmy Carter, a man of strong morals and deep evangelical convictions, try to support a woman's right to choose. With religious conservatives equating abortion with murder, his embrace of this party's pro-choice plank must have seemed positively scandalous. The footage of Ronald Reagan with beaming conservative religious leaders showed their giddiness at having achieved power -- just before they realized that while Reagan used them to get elected, he would follow his own path. The film also scored when it portrayed the bewilderment of the media establishment when faced with a longstanding movement they knew nothing about. It was hilarious to see anchor John Chancellor talk about evangelicals as though they were a newly-discovered tribe of headhunters from the mountains of Borneo.

All in all, WGOOS provided interesting insights into a movement that has done much to shape the political debate in the United States. Its greatest blunder is to allow the movement's own leaders to define the film without adequately depicting the context in which the movement exists. Its greatest missed opportunity was to neglect a discussion of the brand of Christianity that informs these men, to ask why it is so popular, and to discuss why people of good will might disagree."
Religion in the white house and as a campaign tool...
Francis Urquhart | 01/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fabulous doco...

Explores various religious aspects across more than a quarter of a century.

The documentary discusses the importance of religion in modern politics and its place as a modern campaigning tool - using rare footage from Carter onward.

The other focus of the program is on the president and his personal embrace of religion. Though some are cynical, the program enables a better understanding for those unfamiliar with some of the personal history of Dubya.