"W." – With God On Our Side

If you remain in your seat to watch the ending credits of Oliver Stone’s latest film, “W.” – you’ll hear the old familiar and awkward melody of Bob Dylan’s “With God On Our Side” playing as the credits roll.

Indicative of the tone of the movie, “W.” is brilliantly portrayed by Stone as a cowboy called by the Almighty.

On an afternoon running trip after a night of heavy birthday drinking, W falls in the brush on the side of the running trail, and Stone simulates a “Road to Damascus” experience with careful use of camera focus and natural light. Several scenes follow with the “born again” W receiving support and counsel from his evangelical preacher (Earle Hudd, a composite character sketch of several evangelical preachers).

Most importantly, Earle Hudd returns later in the film, while W is governor of Texas. In a heart to heart chat, W announces to Earle that he feels called to the presidency.

“I’ve heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president.” I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen, and, at that time, my country is going to need me. I know it won’t be easy, on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”

(The dialogue for this scene comes from “The Faith of George W. Bush,” by Stephen Mansfield, pages 108-109) http://www.wthefilm.com/

Earle Hudd looks startled at first, then supportive of W’s aspirations for the presidency – seemingly with God on his side – and he prays for W.

Public servants have often attributed their dedication to service with a value system that includes a solid faith structure. But does “God on our side” grant us permission to do the unthinkable? Does God become the scapegoat for the hubris of humanity?

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Please share!

Photo: Josh Brolin as “W.”
Photo credit: IMDB

© 2008 J. Dana Trent

With God On Our Side
But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side.

Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

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