Pray for George W. Bush






from George W. Bush

(page 2 of 2)


continued from page 1


I could not be governor if I did not believe in a divine plan that supersedes all human plans. Politics is a fickle business. Polls change. Today's friend is tomorrow's adversary. People lavish praise and attention. Many times it is genuine; sometimes it is not. Yet I build my life on a foundation that will not shift. My faith frees me. Frees me to put the problem of the moment in proper perspective. Frees me to make decisions that others might not like. Frees me to try to do the right thing, even though it may not poll well... The death penalty is a difficult issue for supporters as well as its opponents. I have a reverence for life; my faith teaches that life is a gift from our Creator. In a perfect world, life is given by God and only taken by God. I hope someday our society will respect life, the full spectrum of life, from the unborn to the elderly. I hope someday unborn children will be protected by law and welcomed in life. I support the death penalty because I believe, if administered swiftly and justly, capital punishment is a deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives. Some advocates of life will challenge why I oppose abortion yet support the death penalty. To me, it's the difference between innocence and guilt.


Today, two weeks after Jeb's inauguration, in my church in downtown Austin, Pastor Mark Craig, was telling me that my re-election was the first Governor to win back-to-back, four-year terms in the history of the State of Texas. It was a beginning, not an end.... People are starved for faithfulness. He talked of the need for honesty in government. He warned that leaders who cheat on their wives will cheat their country, will cheat their colleagues, will cheat themselves. Pastor Craig said that America is starved for honest leaders. He told the story of Moses, asked by God to lead his people to a land of milk and honey. Moses had a lot of reasons to shirk the task. As the Pastor told it, Moses' basic reaction was, "Sorry, God, I'm busy. I've got a family. I've got sheep to tend. I've got a life. Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt? The people won't believe me," he protested.  "I'm not a very good speaker. Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person," Moses pleaded. But God did not, and Moses ultimately did His bidding, leading his people through forty years of wilderness and wandering, relying on God for strength and direction and inspiration.


"People are starved for leadership," Pastor Craig said, "starved for leaders who have ethical and moral courage. It is not enough to have an ethical compass to know right from wrong," he argued. "America needs leaders who have the moral courage to do what is right for the right reason. It's not always easy or convenient for leaders to step forward," he acknowledged. "Remember, even Moses had doubts."

"He was talking to you," my mother later said. The pastor was, of course, talking to all of us, challenging each one of us to make the most of our lives, to assume the mantle of leadership and responsibility wherever we find it. He was calling on us to use whatever power we have, in business, in politics, in our communities, and in our families, to do good for the right reason. And his sermon spoke directly to my heart and my life.... There was no magic moment of decision. After talking with my family during the Christmas holidays, then hearing this rousing sermon, to make most of every moment, during my inaugural church service, I gradually felt more comfortable with the prospect of a presidential campaign. My family would love me; my faith would sustain me, no matter what.


During the more than half century of my life, we have seen an unprecedented decay in our American culture, a decay that has eroded the foundations of our collective values and moral standards of conduct. Our sense of personal responsibility has declined dramatically, just as the role and responsibility of the federal government have increased. The changing culture blurred the sharp contrast between right and wrong and created a new standard of conduct: "If it feels good, do it." and "If you've got a problem, blame somebody else"... "Individuals are not responsible for their actions," the new culture has said. "We are all victims of forces beyond our control."  We have gone from a culture of sacrifice and saving to a culture obsessed with grabbing all the gusto.  We went from accepting responsibility to assigning blame. As government did more and more, individuals were required to do less and less. The new culture said: If people were poor, the government should feed them. If someone had no house, the government should provide one. If criminals are not responsible for their acts, then the answers are not prisons, but social programs....


For our culture to change, it must change one heart, one soul, and one conscience at a time. Government can spend money, but it cannot put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose in our lives. But government should welcome the active involvement of people who are following a religious imperative to love their neighbors through after school programs, child care, drug treatment, maternity group homes, and a range of other services. Supporting these men and women - the soldiers in the armies of compassion - is the next bold step of welfare reform, because I know that changing hearts will change our entire society.


During the opening months of my presidential campaign, I have traveled our country and my heart has been warmed. My experiences have reinvigorated my faith in the greatness of Americans. They have reminded me that societies are renewed from the bottom up, not the top down. Everywhere I go, I see people of love and faith, taking time to help a neighbor in need... These people and thousands like them are the heart and soul and greatness of America. And I want to do my part. I am running for President because I believe America must seize this moment, America must lead. We must give our prosperity a greater purpose, a purpose of peace and freedom and hope. We are a great nation of good and loving people. And together, we have a charge to keep.

[ home ]


This button will open a new window