Although political assessments of President George W. Bushs fourth State of the Union address was widely divided among party lines, reviews from the Christian evangelical and pro-family front were overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.
"The president delivered a powerful, moving speech this evening, speaking to the most important issues of the day with forcefulness and confident cadence, said Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family and one of the nations most influential Christian figures, in a statement released Thursday.
While most of Wednesdays address centered on freedom, democracy and social security, Dobson and other evangelicals took particular affection to Bushs statements regarding marriage, the culture of life, and the election of impartial judges.
Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, said Bush, amid thunderous applause.
Bush also stood by his earlier vow to promote a culture of life by working against stem-cell research.
To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others, said Bush. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity.
America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical.
Touching up on the critical issue of judicial nominations, Bush said he will nominate men and women who will deliver impartial justice.
Because courts must always deliver impartial justice, judges have a duty to faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench, said Bush, alluding to the rising tide of activist judges who rule their liberal views in the courts. As President, I have a constitutional responsibility to nominate men and women who understand the role of courts in our democracy, and are well-qualified to serve on the bench -- and I have done so.
To the delight of the evangelical value-voter base that helped him gain re-election victory last November, Bush acknowledged that Americans have the responsibility to pass on such traditional values to the next generation of leaders.
Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them, said Bush.
Dobson, whose evangelical radio program reaches millions each day, said he especially appreciated that he reaffirmed his commitment to the culture of life and his refusal to back down on restoring order to the federal courts."
Roberta Combs, President of Christian Coalition of America, stated, President Bush rightly showed respect for the right to life, born and unborn, in a country which is increasingly becoming more pro-life.
Christian Coalition of America also supports the presidents statement that our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them at home."
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ and one of Time Magazines top 25 evangelicals, also applauded Bush for working on issues that are of great concern to the American family.
"This is a President who understands that the American people are very concerned about the values issues shaping our nation," said Sekulow, on Thursday. "We're delighted the President included remarks reaffirming his support for marriage between one man and one woman, continuing his commitment to build a culture of life, and renewing a call for the Senate to end judicial filibusters and give his nominees an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. This is a President who is committed to working on issues that are of great concern to the American family - issues that make-up the cultural fabric of our society."
Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, commended the President for emphasizing the need to advance the three core principles: The Sanctity of Human Life, the Sanctity of Marriage and the Family and the Public Acknowledgement of God.:
"In his State of the Union address, President Bush plainly put our three most important principles on the national agenda and announced that they would guide his polices over the next four years. Our thousands of members in all 50 states look forward to supporting and encouraging the President in this direction for the betterment of our country and our world," said Rev. Schenck, whose group represents millions of protestant evangelical, catholic and orthodox Christians.
Meanwhile, pro-gay groups reacted with anger to Bushs speech, saying he contradicted his recent remarks that a proposed amendment may not be necessary this year, according to Planet Out, a LGBT newspaper outlet.
"Once again, President Bush contradicts himself," said Steven Fisher, communications director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to Planet Out. "Sadly, once again he valued the extremism of a few over the greater good of protecting all Americans, including LGBT families whose well-being are jeopardized by this proposal."
However, Dobson said the speech showed otherwise.
He [President Bush] was bold in his assertion that Congress must pass the Federal Marriage Amendment. In fact, he endorsed it more strongly than during his recent re-election campaign, proving wrong liberal pundits who suggested his support for protecting marriage had cooled, said Dobson.
The full text of President Bushs State of the Union address, delivered on Wednesday, February 2, 2005, can be viewed at: www.whitehouse.gov.