Bush's Speech Praised by Some Evangelicals

President Bush's final State of the Union address Monday night featured few surprises for the general public, but drew applauds from some evangelical leaders.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC) praised Bush for challenging Congress to act on issues important to American families and the nation.

"A high mark came when the President explained how advances in science have made embryonic stem cell research obsolete and then called on Congress to pass a comprehensive cloning ban, ensuring as he put it, 'that all life is treated with the dignity it deserves,'" Perkins said.

Bush was also applauded by FRC for voicing a "list of pro-family policies" that included creating educational scholarships and protecting faith-based groups and donations.

Another evangelical leader, the Rev. Jim Ball of the Evangelical Environmental Network, welcomed the President's announcement that the United States will commit $2 billion over the next three years to a new international fund to promote clean energy technologies and fight climate change.

"Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources," Bush said, according to Reuters.

Furthermore, the President expressed commitment to working with the United Nations and the international community to develop a pact to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

"We are delighted to learn that President Bush has answered this call and is demonstrating leadership with a $2 billion international clean technology fund as announced in his State of the Union address," Ball exclaimed.

He highlighted that more than 115 senior evangelical leaders are part of the Evangelical Climate Initiative organized by Ball, which has called on the U.S. to help poor countries address climate change.

Other key points of the speech included the $150 billion stimulus plan agreed on last week in hopes of reviving the slumping economy, the success of the troop surge in Iraq; and his efforts in creating a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

Bush highlighted that more than 20,000 U.S. troops will be returned home from Iraq in the coming months, but any further withdraw is based on the situation there and the recommendations of military commanders in Iraq.

FRC's Perkins called on the Democratic-led Congress to take action on Bush's pro-family challenges which he said the majority of Americans support.