[FOUNTAIN]Going down to Pharaoh's landThe person who exercised the most influence on U.S. President George W. Bush was his mother, Barbara Bush. The dream of becoming president of the United States was formed when Mr. Bush was re-elected governor of Texas in 1998 with 65 percent of the vote.
At a celebration party, one pastor brought up the story of Moses, the hero of the Biblical book of Exodus. Listening quietly to the pastor's preaching, Barbara whispered into her son's ear: "It's all about you."
Often when pastors talk about Moses, they portray him in two lights. One is as a weakling who tried to avoid God's orders, and the other is as a great leader who led the exodus of the Israelis from Egypt. Both examples serve to show the will of God. An ailing 80-year-old shepherd, Moses tried to avoid the heavy burden of saving the Israeli people from the merciless Egyptian rulers when he first heard the voice of God ordering him to do so. Only after five calls from the Almighty did Moses submit to the angry Lord and decide to stand up against the evil forces to take the Israelites out of Egypt.
Barbara inspired her son's dream of becoming the leader of the most powerful nation on earth by making a comparison with Moses.
It is probably hard to determine how much of the Moses comparison made by his mother Mr. Bush took to heart, but coincidentally, the age when both began a new life was the same. Moses grew up in the Egyptian royal household but then realized his roots as an Israeli.
By killing an Egyptian and breaking his ties with Egypt, Moses began his quest for freedom at the age of 40. Mr. Bush decided to quit drinking in 1986. Soon he jumped into his second race for governor at age 40.
The person who turned around Mr. Bush's life was Billy Graham.
"He sowed the seeds in my mind. I started to change," said Bush of his mentor.
The call of Billy Graham was not the same as the direct voice of God that Moses heard, but there is a parallel to Moses, whom God guided to a new life.
The Bush family originally came from Scotland in search of religious freedom. They are a truly devoted Christian family, and that is probably why they put a strong emphasis on the distinction between good and evil.
Hence, having grown up under such influences, it is not too strange to find a religious flavor when Bush declares war on terrorists without fear or hesitation.
The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo deputy culture news editor.
by Oh Byung-sang