NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs did not hesitate to voice his support for President Bush when the two shared the stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville recently, and he said it’s because he values Bush’s faith and integrity even at a time when the president’s popularity is waning nationwide.
“I’m not ashamed to share the stage with our wonderful president,” Skaggs said Feb. 1 at the Opry before Bush delivered a speech. “I’m not ashamed to be seen with him. I may not be politically correct. I don’t care. I love him. I pray for him. He’s God’s man for this time.”
Skaggs told Baptist Press he and his family have supported Bush for many years because they recognize his character and his ability to lead the nation in a more positive direction.
“Long before he was elected, we just had a feeling in our heart that he was the right person. We heard him speak. We heard things about him. We knew he was a Christian man,” Skaggs said. “We knew he was someone that loved God and tried to do the right things, tried to make the right decisions. And I felt like that was who I certainly wanted to get behind and support, especially in light of what we had had eight years before in the White House.
“It was a stark contrast between the two, and I just know as a Christian and as a father looking at the future for my kids and my grandchildren, that’s the kind of man that I wanted in the White House to be able to bring dignity and honor back to the office,” Skaggs said.
The winner of 10 Grammy Awards, Skaggs said he became acquainted with the current president’s father, George H.W. Bush, back in the 1980s when he was playing more country music than bluegrass and the former president showed an interest in Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry.
“They spent their 50th wedding anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry, and I said, ‘Anyone that loves country music like that, they can’t be all wrong,’” Skaggs told BP.
So when opportunities opened up to support George W. Bush in his first and then second bid for the presidency of the United States, Skaggs was eager to help. He said he has performed at least a dozen times at events supporting Bush. The general manager of the Opry called him when Bush was scheduled to kick off a series of post-State of the Union speeches at Nashville’s historic auditorium, and Skaggs joined the Oak Ridge Boys, the Del McCoury Band, Lee Greenwood and others on stage to entertain the audience before the president’s address.
“We certainly said yes because we always want to support him every chance we can, every time we can,” Skaggs said. “I know it means a lot to him when artists support him because there are a lot of artists that don’t want to be seen with him. They’re afraid it will hurt their careers, or they’re afraid it’s a politically incorrect event for them to be around. So we try to support him whenever we can.”
Skaggs said his comment that day on stage was not meant to chide various musicians who choose to keep their distance from the president; it was merely a statement of his own beliefs.
“It wasn’t a slam to the artists that didn’t show up, but as for me and my house, we’re going to support him,” Skaggs said. “My son is almost 17 and he would have voted for him last time if he could have. My 21-year-old daughter did. That was her first time to get to vote.”
The connection between the Bible and current events is too vivid to miss, Skaggs said, and Christians should take the time to pay more attention to what certain events mean. His opinion of Bush is closely tied to that outlook, he said.
“We look at him from a biblical perspective, not a worldview. That’s the difference that Christians ought to be looking at. Christians ought to be looking at Israel, Christians ought to be looking at the situations that the Bible looks at and talks about and see how all of this plays out,” Skaggs said. “Instead of just reading the newspaper or watching CNN or whatever and getting the gloom and doom and that liberal bias that gets slanted against the president, we should be praying, we should be seeking God, we should be looking at the Scriptures because the Scriptures are like reading the news.”
What’s told in the Bible is Good News, Skaggs said, but it’s also insight into what God is doing in the world today. If Christians would read it and ask God to open their minds to His purposes, he said, they’d not be so fearful when negative reports are splattered across the evening news.
“I think you’ll have a whole lot more peace in your heart and you won’t be so upset with so-called ‘illegal wiretaps,’” he said, adding that he believes the president has absolute authority to do whatever it takes to protect the American public in a time of war.
“I don’t have anything to hide on my telephone. I’m not out doing illegal things. It’s the people that do things in the darkness that are feeling threatened,” he said.
Skaggs said one of the most meaningful times he has had with Bush was this past Christmas when he and his family were invited to participate in the Pageant of Peace corresponding with the lighting of the White House Christmas tree. Afterwards, they were invited inside what Bush calls “the people’s house.”
“It was just really sweet to go there and get to be in the White House during Christmas and see all the beautiful Christmas trees and everything that they decorate the White House with. There’s no doubt about it, you can tell it’s a Christian family that lives there,” Skaggs said.
After watching the president so closely for several years and interacting with him at various rallies, Skaggs is certain Bush is on the right track in his inner core, and he is grateful that the highest office in the land is occupied by so solid an individual.
“It’s just a great thing to know that he loves the Lord, that he seeks God for decisions,” Skaggs said. “The wind of controversy and public opinion does not blow him to the left or to the right. It does not move him one way or the other, and I pray that it doesn’t. That’s what I’ve come to know about him and appreciate and admire about him very much.”