Not only have presidents regularly addressed the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, those speeches are sometimes important to presidential agendas. It was at the 1983 convention, for example, that President Reagan gave his famous "Evil Empire" speech. (One major exception was the NRB's refusal to invite President Clinton to address the convention.)
Most of these speeches are political in nature, as one would expect from the President of the United States, but President Bush's address yesterday was deeply religious in tone. Much of his speech touched on ecclesiological matters that have little to do with public policy. "Christian media outlets like yours reach 141 million people every year. That's a huge audience, and it's a responsibility that I know you take seriously," he said (audio | video | photos).
This nation has got a lot of wealthy and caring congregations, and we've got a lot of churches in low-income areas that need help, too. Your voices reach them all; you can communicate with them, rich and poor, alike; suburban church and urban church, alike. And you can help bring them together to serve those who hurt, so we can achieve a more just and generous society.
It's been said that 11:00 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated hour in America. We all have a responsibility to break down the barriers that divide us. In Scripture, God commands us to reach out to those who are different, to reconcile with each other, to lay down our lives in service to others. And he promises that the fruits of faith and fellowship, service and reconciliation will far surpass the struggles we go through to achieve them.
Suburban churches are often just a short drive away from brothers and sisters who are facing great ...1
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