January 27, 2001
TO HAVE A SPIRITUAL PRESIDENT
This has been
such a week of joy. As I stood with my wife and son, Adam, 500 yards
from where President George W. Bush was inaugurated as President, I
could not see him. But I was uplifted by the simple eloquence of his
He asked his
supporters to reach out to those who are hurting, those who opposed him:
''While many of
our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise - even the justice - of
our own country....Sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we
share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will
not allow it. Our unity, our union is the serious work of leaders and
citizens in every generation.''
''And this is my
solemn pledge. I will work to build a single nation of justice and
opportunity. I know this is in our reach, because we are guided by a
power larger than ourselves, who creates us equal in his image.''
Thus, he placed
his hope and the nation's hope - on the source of all hope, on God.
president to speak of poverty for decades in an Inaugural, he said: ''In
the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty
is unworthy of the nation's promise. And whatever our views on its
cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. Abandonment
and abuse are not acts of God. They are failures of love.''
great responsibilities....Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not
just a government. And some needs and hurts are so deep they will only
respond to a mentor's touch or a pastor's prayer....I can pledge our
nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the way to
Jericho, we will not pass by on the other side.''
We now have a
President who not only uses Scripture to guide him, but to inspire us.
On the morning of his Inaugural, Bush took time for his daily
read-through of the Bible in a year.
George Bush and 3,500 friends worshiped at an ecumenical service at the
National Cathedral, with prayers from Washington's new Catholic
cardinal, a rabbi, a female Episcopal bishop, a Greek Orthodox
Archbishop, various Protestant pastors and singing by Michael W. Smith
as well as the cathedral choir of men and boys.
What was most
moving was the sermon by Rev. Franklin Graham, substituting for his dad,
Billy Graham. Like George W., Franklin lived for some years on the wild
side in his youth, but has directed Samaritan's Purse, an international
relief agency, for 25 years.
He told the
story of David, ''who from the time he was a small boy tending his
father's flocks, inquired of the Lord what he should do, regardless of
whether the decision was great or small. David did not test the
political winds of his day to see which direction he should go. David's
only concern was to find the will of God for his life - and THEN DO
IT.'' He predicted God would bless our President and nation ''if we
humble ourselves before the Almighty and seek his will - and THEN DO
''We witnessed the entire nation coming together here in this great city
to inaugurate our President and Vice President. When David was anointed
King, all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. He came to the
throne after a great struggle and great controversy. King David united
the country of Israel by 'inquiring of the Lord.'''
urged, ''Prayer should be a daily habit for everyone - whether elected
officials or private citizens; whether before or after a difficult
experience, whether in victory or defeat.''
On Monday, Bush
energized a crowd of 100,000 gathered for the annual ''March For Life,''
on the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, by sending a message: ''We share
a great goal to work toward a day when every child is welcome in life
and protected by law.'' Equally important, he reversed an Executive
Order of President Clinton, and will block U.S. funds from being used by
family planning groups that give abortion counseling overseas.
On Tuesday, he
submitted his first legislative initiative, an overhaul of federal
education policy, requiring states to test students annually. Schools
would be rewarded or punished based on results, a plan that dramatically
improved reading and math scores of the poor in Texas.
As he said in
the Inaugural: ''We will reclaim America's schools before ignorance and
apathy claim more young lives.''
Thus, Bush has
moved from soaring rhetoric to action, using Scripture to guide him.
It was a good
week for America.
Copyright 2001 Michael J.