Subject:     Fw: George W. Bush on FAITH
Sent:        25/06/1920 0:13
Received:    24/06/2000 19:56
From:        Kathryn Cooper,
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-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Sanderson <>
To: Sanderson Distribution List <>
Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 11:08 AM
Subject: FW: George W. Bush on FAITH

>A good friend of mine passed this along to me today.  I
>thought you might like to have a copy.  It is lengthy, but
>worth reading.  It may give you a new picture of George W.
>-----Original Message-----
>  Governor George W. Bush on Faith:
> "Actually , the seeds of my decision had been planted the year before, by
>the Reverend Billy Graham.  He visited my family for a summer weekend in
>Maine.  I saw him preach at the small summer church, St.Ann's by the Sea.
>all had lunch on the patio overlooking the ocean.
> One evening my dad asked Billy to answer questions from a big group of
>family gathered for the weekend.  He sat by the fire and talked. And what
>said sparked a change in my heart. I don't remember the exact words. It was
>more the power of his example. The Lord was so clearly reflected in his
>gentle and loving demeanor.
> The next day we walked and talked at Walker's Point, and I knew I was in
>presence of a great man.  He was like a magnet; I felt drawn to seek
>something different.  He didn't lecture or admonish; he shared warmth and
>concern. Billy Graham didn't make you feel guilty; he made you feel loved.
> Over the course of that weekend, Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in
>my soul, a seed that grew over the next year.  He led me to the path, and I
>began walking.  And it was the beginning of a change in my life. I had
>been a religious person, had regularly attended church, even taught Sunday
>School and served as an altar boy.  But that weekend, my faith took on a
>meaning. It was the beginning of a new walk where I would recommit my heart
>to Jesus Christ. I was humbled to learn that God sent His Son to die for a
>sinner like me. I was comforted to know that through the Son, I could find
>God's amazing grace, a grace that crosses every border, every barrier and
>open to everyone.
> Through the love of Christ's life, I could understand the life-changing
>powers of faith. When I returned to Midland, I began reading the Bible
> Don Evans talked me into joining him and another friend, Don Jones, at a
>men's community Bible study.  The group had first assembled the year
>in spring of 1984, at the beginning of the downturn in the energy industry.
>Midland was hurting. A lot of people were looking for comfort and strength
>and direction.  A couple of men started the Bible study as a support group,
>and it grew. By the time I began attending, in the fall of 1985, almost 120
>men would gather.
> We met in small discussion groups of ten or twelve, then joined the larger
>group for full meetings.  Don Jones picked me up every week for the
> I remember looking forward to them. My interest in reading the Bible grew
>stronger and stronger, and the words became clearer and more meaningful.
>studied Acts, the story of the Apostles building the Christian Church, and
>next year, the Gospel of Luke. The preparation for each meeting took
>hours, reading the Scripture passages and thinking through responses to
>discussion questions.  I took it seriously, with my usual touch of humor.
> Laura and I were active members of the First Methodist Church of Midland,
>and we participated in many family programs, including James Dobson's Focus
>on the Family series on raising children.  As I studied and learned,
>Scripture took on greater meaning, and I gained confidence and
>in my faith.  I read the Bible regularly. Don Evans gave me the "one-year"
>Bible, a Bible divided into 365 daily readings, each one including a
>from the New Testament, the Old Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.
> I read through that Bible every other year.  During the years in between,
>pick different chapters to study at different times.  I have also learned
>power of prayer. I pray for guidance.  I do not pray for earthly things,
>for heavenly things, for  wisdom and patience and understanding.
> My faith gives me focus and perspective.  It teaches humility.  But I also
>recognize that faith can be misinterpreted in the political process.
>  Faith is an important part of my life.  I believe it is important to live
>my faith, not flaunt it.  America is a great country because of our
>freedoms.  It is important for any leader to respect the faith of others.
> That point was driven home when Laura and I visited Israel in 1998.  We
>traveled to Rome to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter, who was attending
>school program there, and spent three days in Israel on the way home. It
>an incredible experience.  I remember waking up at the Jerusalem Hilton and
>opening the curtains and seeing the Old City before us, the Jerusalem stone
>glowing gold.  We visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy
>Sepulcher.  And we went to the Sea of Galilee and stood atop the hill where
>Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.  It was an overwhelming feeling to
>stand in the spot where the most famous speech in the history of the  world
>was delivered, the spot where Jesus outlined the character and conduct of a
>believer and gave his disciples and the world the beatitudes, the golden
>rule, and the Lord's Prayer.
> Our delegation included four gentile governors-one Methodist, two
>and a Mormon-and several Jewish-American friends.  Someone suggested we
>Scripture.  I chose to read "Amazing Grace," my favorite hymn.  Later that
>night we all gathered at a restaurant in Tel Aviv for dinner before we
>boarded our  middle-of-night flight back to America.
>We talked about the wonderful experiences and thanked the guides and
>government officials who had introduced us to their country.  Toward the
>of the meal, one of our friends rose to share a story, to tell us how he, a
>gentile, and his friend, a Jew, had (unbeknownst to the rest of us) walked
>down to the Sea of Galilee, joined hands underwater, and prayed together,
>bended knee. Then out of his mouth came a hymn he had known as a child, a
>hymn he hadn't thought about in years.
> He got every word right: Now is the time approaching, by prophets long
>foretold, when all shall dwell together, One Shepherd and one fold.
> Now Jew and gentile, meeting, from many a distant shore, around an altar
>kneeling, one common Lord adore.
> Faith changes lives. I know, because faith has changed mine.  I could not
>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
>genuine; sometimes it is not.  Yet I build my life on a foundation that
>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
>from our Creator.  In a perfect world, life is given by God and only taken
>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
>protected by law and welcomed in life.  I support the death penalty because
>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
>penalty; to me, it's the difference between innocence and guilt.
> Today, two weeks after Jeb's inauguration, in the church in downtown
>the pastor Mark Craig was telling me that my reelection as the first
>to win back-to-back four-year terms in the history of the state of Texas
>a beginning, not an end.... People are starved for faithfulness.
> He talked of the need for honesty in government; he warned that leaders
>cheat on their wives will cheat their country, will cheat their colleagues,
>will cheat themselves. The minister 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?"
>people won't believe me," he protested.  "I'm not a very good speaker. Oh,
>Lord, send, I pray, some other person," Moses pleaded.  But God did not,
>Moses ultimately did his bidding, leading his people through forty years of
>wilderness and wandering, relying on God for strength and direction and
> People are starved for leadership," Pastor Craig said, "starved for
>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
>the moral courage to do what is right for the right reason.  It's not
>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
>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
> The 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 the rousing sermon to make most of every moment
>my inaugural church service, I gradually felt more comfortable with the
>prospect of a presidential campaign.  My family would love me, my faith
>sustain me, no matter what."...
> During the more than half century of my life, we have seen an
>decay in our American culture, a decay that has eroded the foundations of
>collective values and moral standards of conduct.  Our sense of personal
>responsibility has declined dramatically, just as the role and
>of the federal government have increased.  The changing culture blurred the
>sharp contrast between right and wrong and created a new standard of
>"If it feels good, do it." and "If you've got a problem, blame somebody
> Individuals are not responsible for their actions, the new culture said,
>are all victims of forces beyond our control.  We went 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
>  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
>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
>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
>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
>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."
> George W. Bush
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