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The President's State of the Union address only briefly touched on issues for which conservative evangelical groups have lobbied. The more than 5,000-word speech, which took nearly an hour to deliver, spent about 500 words discussing marriage, building a "culture of life," "activist judges," the faith-based initiative, and AIDS.

President Bush said,

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.
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.

He then addressed bioethical issues and, obliquely, abortion. "Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life," Bush said. "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."

Faith-based community groups "bring hope to harsh places," the President said. He proposed an initiative to keep young men out of jails and gangs. And he urged focusing AIDS prevention efforts "on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, African American men and women."

The issues the President spent most of his time on—Social Security, spreading democracy, and homeland security—have moral implications, and they are addressed in our editorial about the speech. However, evangelical political groups responded almost exclusively to ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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February 2005

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