Bush Challenges Senate to Pass `Faith-Based' Legislative Package. (People & Events)

Article excerpt

President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans are continuing pressure on the Senate to secure passage of the "faith-based" initiative before the November elections.

Speaking at the First African Methodist Episcopal Renaissance Center in Los Angeles April 29, Bush called for passage of the measure, remarking, "I don't want government to be the church, and I don't want the church to be the government. But government should not fear faith and faith-based programs. I know what faith can mean in somebody's life. That's why I remind people I'm just a humble sinner who sought redemption."

The next day, Bush spoke in San Jose, mentioning similar themes. "In overcoming poverty and dependence, we must also promote the work of charities and community groups and faith-based institutions," Bush said. "These organizations, such as shelters for battered women or mentoring programs for fatherless children or drug treatment centers, inspire hope in a way that government never can. Often, they inspire life-changing faith in a way that government never should."

Continued Bush, "Our government should view the good Americans that work in faith-based charities as partners, not rivals. We must provide new incentives for charitable giving and, when it comes to providing federal resources to effective programs, we should not discriminate against private and religious groups."

A few weeks later Bush raised the issue again while addressing the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Speaking of the need to pass the initiative, Bush told the crowd, "We know how important faith can be, and we know that faith without works, without action, is dead. True faith is never isolated from the rest of life. It proves itself through actions and sacrifice, through acts of kindness and caring for those in need."

Bush frequently lapsed into snippets of Spanish during his remarks, and at one point told the gathering, "Prayer reminds us that a great people must be humble before God, searching for wisdom, constantly searching for wisdom from the almighty Dios. …