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After one term, George W. Bush is turning out to be the most consequential U.S. President since Ronald Reagan. We're hoping he can show equal initiative regarding the great moral issues that face our nation.

Even opponents recognize Bush has accomplished a great deal already: implementing the Department of Homeland Security, launching democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, reforming education, cutting taxes, and shepherding the economy out of recession. Conservatives have been pleased that he signed the first piece of federal legislation to restrict abortion since Roe v. Wade, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (now tied up in the courts), and that he also pushed to remove barriers to federal support of faith-based charities.

Now he wants to accomplish even more. Last night, in the annual State of the Union address, he laid out an ambitious second-term agenda. Two items of note:

First, Bush praised the Iraqi people and American soldiers for their heroism in making democracy possible. The President noted, "The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom."

Fortunately, the President is the commander in chief, not the theologian in chief. Political rhetoric aside, Christians know that human freedom cannot bring lasting peace and prosperity—only the sovereign Lord of history can do that. Nor can freedom fill our greatest need, which is peace with God. That being said, we rejoice in the spread of political freedom around the world and pray it will lead not only to shalom with neighbor but increased opportunities for shalom with God.

Second, Bush spoke on saving Social Security. In this, he has shown unusual boldness. Most politicians have feared to touch ...

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February 2005

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