Bush thanks So. Baptists
Lauds 'good works,' 'leadership'
SAN ANTONIO (BP)--President Bush praised Southern Baptists for their humanitarian efforts and thanked them for their Christian witness and support of religious liberty during a satellite address to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 13.
"I appreciate your many good works that make our nation a stronger and more hopeful place," Bush said. "You've contributed millions of dollars to fight world hunger and logged countless hours in disaster relief and rebuilding.
"Every day Southern Baptists are giving back to their communities and ministering to those in need," he said.
In his nine-minute address, Bush expressed gratitude for Southern Baptists' support of military personnel and their families.
"I know you pray for their safety as they defend our people and extend the hope of freedom to the oppressed across the globe," Bush said. "Just like our troops, you have the gratitude of the commander-in-chief as we do the hard work necessary to defend our country and at the same time lay the foundation of peace."
Bush commended the convention for understanding "the importance of fair-minded and impartial judges to our democracy" and pledged to "nominate good judges who will interpret the law and not legislate from the bench."
Southern Baptists are a group committed to building a culture of life, Bush said, adding his promise to veto any bill from Congress that violates the sanctity of human life.
"I believe building a culture of life in our country also means promoting adoption and teaching teen abstinence, funding crisis pregnancy programs and supporting the work of faith-based groups," Bush said. "In defending the lives of the weakest and the most vulnerable members of our society, we reflect the compassion and humanity of America, and we will continue to work toward the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law."
In addition to their efforts in the United States, Bush also expressed his appreciation for the work of Southern Baptists around the world. He cited Baptist efforts to provide medical care in Africa to those with malaria and AIDS, as well as the SBC-sponsored True Love Waits campaign in Uganda that promotes sexual abstinence until marriage.
Because of that campaign, Bush said, Uganda has made progress against AIDS.
"And now you're building on the success by expanding this important program to six more countries in Africa," Bush said. "By dealing with infectious diseases, we can make the world a better place, and that helps us here at home. I also believe that helps lift our soul and lifts our spirits when we help those who suffer among us."
Addressing the genocide in Darfur, Bush condemned the Sudanese government that is "complicit in the bombing, rape and murder of innocent civilians" and said the world has a responsibility to end the genocide and hold those accountable who are perpetuating the violence.
"The people of Darfur are crying out for our help, and the Southern Baptists and the United States will not turn away, because we believe what matters overseas matters here at home," Bush said.
Because God has blessed the United States with prosperity, Bush said the country should use its resources to help those in need -– both at home and abroad.
"This is a central part of the work of the Southern Baptist Convention," the president said. "You're rising to meet the challenges of broken souls in a broken world with compassion and courage. You're living out the call to spread the Gospel and proclaim the Kingdom of God, and I thank you for your leadership."