RIPope at CProbes has an interesting reading of Bush's evangelicalism. He writes:
After being asked to explain his opinion on certain characters suggesting that Democrats are prejudiced against people of faith, Bush stated that the `great thing about America' is that one could be of any denomination, or none at all, and still be just as patriotic. `Religion is a personal matter', he stated. So, if one is to take him at his word, there is still a clear separation of Church & State in America. As he said, uncategorically, he views the opposition against his judicial nominees not as a matter of faith but of `judicial philosophy'.
But of course we know this not to be true. The point, though, is that he can't out and out say that he is running the country from the standpoint of his Evangelical faith. That has to be communicated via side channels, the backdoors of Power. In Lacanian terms, his Evangelizing Mission takes the form of the obscene superego that cannot be publicly and explicitly asserted. It can only be hinted at by him, for others to pick up and realize. It is the obscene support of his Power, but it only works insofar as he does not fully assert it explicitly. As the dirty secret of his reign, however, it provides his supporters with meat to chew on, jouissance to be consumed. It gives his followers a Mission, and this is what makes them so scary.
In the fascinating debate in the comments, Adam Kotsko rejects the idea that Bush's evangelicalism functions as an obscene superego.
I agree with Adam. Bush's discourse seems to me to be perverse: he makes himself him into the instrument of the Other, carrying out the Other's desire. He speaks not as a Master, but as an instrument. The Other may be God, America, Freedom--the three blend together in Bush's language. He is a force, a power, in the service of an Other. (For more on this, here is a paper--needs revision; I've let through some inconsistencies that need to be removed etc: Download lch_draft3.doc )
And jouissance? Again, primarily perverse. So, in the first instance, through the pain and pleasure of being the one who has to do the dirty work, of being willing to go the distance when the rest are clearly too weak, lacking in faith. One gets jouissance by giving it up and by hating those who won't give it up, who revel it, who flaunt it, who stand for it.
Obscene supplement: torture, cooperation with Dafur (in today's LA TImes), arms dealing, accepting campaign contributions through media and gambling companies whose products certain legislators claim to find morally repugnant.
(Thanks, Alain, for alerting me to the debate at CProbes)