In an island across from what counter-inaugural protesters called the “got freedom? Inaugural Ball,” held outside Union Station downtown, stood about a half dozen fundamentalist Christian preachers, each of them holding up a sign that read, “President Bush 4 More Years. Trust Jesus Forever.”
One of them is Reuben Israel, whom I’d first interviewed at an anti-gay-marriage demonstration in Boston last spring. At the time, Israel had stood out among the thousands of anti-gay protesters by wearing a giant storyboard that trumpeted “GAY” in vertical block letters and “God Abhors You” in horizontal ones.
This evening, he told me that he came to D.C. from Los Angeles to “preach to these young, rebellious ingrates, who blame Bush for everything.” He and his fellow street preachers, some from Ohio and others from Florida, spent Inauguration Day along the parade route doing what they could to “thank President Bush for putting his hand on the Bible.” As he explained, “We want a believer in office.”
The day’s added bonus? “We got to protest these protesters,” he said.