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At the Foot of the Cross: A story you haven't heard
Prison Fellowship Ministries ^ | January 6, 2004 | Charles Colson

Posted on 01/06/2004 10:40:03 PM PST by philsoc

Angel Tree, our Prison Fellowship program for prisoners’ children, is one of the great unheralded volunteer outreaches in America. Over the Christmas holidays these past few weeks, approximately 100,000 volunteers delivered Angel Tree gifts to more than 525,000 children of inmates.

You didn’t read about this in the newspapers, nor would I expect that you should. It’s not really that newsworthy that Christians help people in need. But there are two of our volunteers, who delivered forty presents, that I think you should have read about but didn’t. For reasons best known to themselves, the media ignored the fact that two of the volunteers were President and Mrs. George Bush. And they delivered gifts to forty inner-city kids in a church basement three days before Christmas.

President and Mrs. Bush arrived at three-o’clock, Monday, December 22, at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Now, presidents don’t move anywhere without a great deal of fuss. The police were out, the roads blocked, and Secret Service were roaming around the church. And when the president arrived, he was accompanied not only by his own team, but also by a pool of reporters, forty or so members of the press. For ten minutes they popped their flashbulbs, scribbled their notes, and then were ushered out.

I remember from my days with President Nixon what photo opportunities are: Get the picture and leave. So I thought the Bushes would shortly depart, but they didn’t. They stayed long after the cameras were gone to greet every child, to have their picture taken with them, their mothers, and their grandmothers, to talk with them, and to ask questions. Though the press didn’t report it, I noticed that both the president and Mrs. Bush talked to the Hispanic children in Spanish.

Just before the president left, I introduced him to Al Lawrence, a member of our staff. I told the president that I had met Al more than twenty years ago in a prison. Jesus had got hold of Al’s life, and he’s been working for us ever since. Then I told the president that Al’s son was now a freshman at Yale. At that point the president stopped, exclaimed, “We’re both Yale parents,” and threw his arms around Al Lawrence—an African-American ex-offender being embraced by the president of the United States in a church basement. The ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross.

I tell you this story because it’s a wonderful Christmas story, and you probably haven’t heard it. With all those reporters who crowded into that basement, the visit resulted in almost universal media silence.

I suppose there are many explanations for this, but I’ll offer mine. The president is a Christian who really cares for “the least of these,” who does this not for photo ops, but because he’s genuine. That is something that his detractors in the media simply can’t handle. Conservatives caring for the poor? Never. It dashes the stereotypes.

But surely Christians ought to be rejoicing that the most powerful man in the world and his wife, a couple of days before Christmas, had a wonderful visit with the most powerless people in our society.

After all, that echoes the Christmas message, doesn’t it? The most powerful came to be with the least powerful to give us hope.

(Excerpt) Read more at pfm.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bias; bush; charlescolson; christianity; christmas; media; religion
No matter what you think about GW, you should be willing to admit he's a good man! (w/ a good wife!)
1 posted on 01/06/2004 10:40:04 PM PST by philsoc
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To: All
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2 posted on 01/06/2004 10:41:39 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)
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To: philsoc
No, the media didn't say a freakin' word. Let Clinton trot around with a Bible and it's headline news. Let President and Mrs. Bush do something Christian (and not just for a photo-op) and there's silence.

It should make me feel good but I'm ANGRY! Why didn't this story make Fox at least????
3 posted on 01/06/2004 10:43:33 PM PST by Triple Word Score
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To: philsoc
welcome to FR
4 posted on 01/06/2004 10:44:10 PM PST by cyborg
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To: Triple Word Score
FOX?? No Kobe, no MJ no.... well you get the idea
5 posted on 01/06/2004 10:45:08 PM PST by GeronL (Ah daunt yous spiel cheekier ether)
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To: philsoc
This is the first I heard that W and Laura were involved. Guess I gottta spend more time on FR.
6 posted on 01/06/2004 10:45:10 PM PST by lizma
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To: Luis Gonzalez; rdb3; Trueblackman; mhking; blackie; Howlin

7 posted on 01/06/2004 10:48:58 PM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: philsoc; My2Cents; PhiKapMom; Tamsey
Welcome to FR. :)

Not surprising our left-wing media ignores so many GOOD stories, particularly when it's a heart-warming, down-home story about POTUS and First Lady, Laura.

8 posted on 01/06/2004 10:52:03 PM PST by onyx (Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.)
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To: philsoc; CovenBuster
ping! Because the gift of Christmas can make you warm every day of the year.
9 posted on 01/06/2004 10:52:15 PM PST by DesertDreamer (A wise man's heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool's heart toward the left. --Ecc 10:2 RSV)
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To: onyx
You know they didn't do it for the photo-op.

But I'm hoping that there's some comeuppance for the editors, etc., who sent someone there to do reporting, then spiked the story.

The White House has to have ways of punishing these fools. Who gets to be on Air Force One NEXT time there's a surprise jaunt somewhere?
10 posted on 01/06/2004 10:56:14 PM PST by Triple Word Score
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To: philsoc
Bookmarked. Thanks for the post.
11 posted on 01/06/2004 11:03:48 PM PST by VxH
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To: Triple Word Score
Excellent points. I agree with you. They managed to bury it --- event took place on December 22, 2003. Damn agenda driven media.

You a Scrabble champ?
12 posted on 01/06/2004 11:05:36 PM PST by onyx (Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.)
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To: philsoc
A great post. Many thanks!
13 posted on 01/06/2004 11:16:24 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: rintense; MJY1288; RedBloodedAmerican; twyn1; kitkat; justshe; ladyinred; lonestar; ...
I tell you this story because it’s a wonderful Christmas story, and you probably haven’t heard it. With all those reporters who crowded into that basement, the visit resulted in almost universal media silence.

Ping to a nice story

14 posted on 01/06/2004 11:17:15 PM PST by Mo1
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To: philsoc
And Chuck Colson is right. I did a search on Yahoo news and while maybe there were a lot of photos taken in that church on that day, none of them are being published, at least not on Yahoo.
15 posted on 01/06/2004 11:23:46 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Mo1; philsoc
I found this picture on the White House web site. I'm pretty sure it was posted on The Day in the Life thread for that date but it probably came from whitehouse.gov and not any of the media.

philsoc ~~~ Thanks for the story .... and welcome to FR!


16 posted on 01/06/2004 11:28:37 PM PST by kayak (Have you prayed for our President and our troops today?)
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To: philsoc
"...he's a good man!..."

GW and Laura are good people. They do things like this because they ARE good people. Same is so for Chuck Colson, and Al Lawrence, both ex-cons whom our Lord chose for a very special prison ministry.

I met Chuck some years ago, I think maybe in the spring of '77 or '78 at a breakfast meeting in Akron, Ohio where he spoke. This was shortly after he began his prison ministry, and still a very much disgraced former member of the Nixon team.

The press has no regard, will refuse to publicize the activities of God's people like GW, Laura, Chuck and Al unless they have been tainted by showing human frailties. Let the dark side people like Ex-42 or Dr Diablo, er I mean Dean wave a Bible in their face and the Leftist Media is all over it, proclaming their "goodness". Hmmm, aren't we all glad that God knows!
17 posted on 01/06/2004 11:30:49 PM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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To: kayak
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 22, 2003

Remarks by the President in Visit with Angel Tree Children
Shiloh Baptist Church
Alexandria, Virginia



3:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Reverend Lee. Thank you so much for having us here. Lee, thank you very much. Merry Christmas to everybody.

We are so honored to be here to celebrate the Angel Tree Christmas. This is a program in which people who love you a lot want you to have a merry Christmas. And I want to thank Chuck Colson and Mark Earley of the Prison Fellowship program, which has been hosting and organizing the Angel Tree program since 1982. Six million boys and girls have received their gift on Christmas. And I want to thank you very much for doing that. (Applause.)

Our attitude is, I know the Reverend here at Shiloh shares this attitude, that we change America one heart and one soul at a time; that everybody matters, everybody counts; that every child has got a hopeful and bright future; and each of us has a responsibility of loving that child with all our heart and all our soul. And it's important that all of us during this time of -- joyous time, this holiday, recognize that probably the greatest gift you can possibly give is to love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.

And that's what we're doing today. We're honoring that call to love and the call to service. And so Laura and I are thrilled that you're here. We look forward to joining the good Reverend here as we pass out some of the gifts to the boys and girls.

REVEREND EARL: Absolutely. And thank you for the gifts that you provided.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. We're honored to be here. (Applause.)

We want to wish you a merry Christmas. And we've got some gifts to give out, don't we, Laura?

MRS. BUSH: Yes, we have a lot of gifts to give out.

THE PRESIDENT: Where do we want to start? Right over here? Okay, good.

END 3:23 P.M. EST

18 posted on 01/06/2004 11:38:06 PM PST by kcvl
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To: cyn; BlessedAmerican; DittoJed2; Fawnn; alnick; Davea; padfoot_lover; esther2; Azbushgal; ...
The president is a Christian who really cares for "the least of these," who does this not for photo ops, but because he’s genuine.
19 posted on 01/06/2004 11:39:52 PM PST by kayak (Have you prayed for our President and our troops today?)
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To: philsoc
Part of the media's effort to surpress the Christian celebration of Christmas.
20 posted on 01/06/2004 11:45:46 PM PST by pbear8 (no complaining...Thanks be to God)
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To: onyx
Thanks for the ping. I thank God every day (often more than once!) that this man is our President.
21 posted on 01/06/2004 11:50:36 PM PST by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again...")
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To: philsoc
BTTT!!!!!!!
22 posted on 01/06/2004 11:50:54 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (Support Free Republic! End the Freepathons! I have SEWING to do!)
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To: kayak; Lead Moderator
It's hard to believe that among the dozens of apoplectic posters on the various immigration threads who are claiming that this man is the worst and most ruinous traitor since Ghengis Khan can really be very sincere or thoughtful people.
23 posted on 01/06/2004 11:56:48 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
Amen to that!
24 posted on 01/07/2004 12:19:13 AM PST by kayak (Have you prayed for our President and our troops today?)
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To: kayak
My state representative, a conservative Christian, tells a story about the faith based programs initiated in TX several years ago.

He had spoken to a country Black church, with less than 40 members, in his district about faith-based initatives.

He got a call one day that the preacher from his district was going to be on Oprah.

As the elected official described it, in a group of friends, not in a campaign speech, "While I was running around having my picture taken with Gov. Bush and my church was spending $3000 painting our sanctuary, this little country church had quietly initiated a very successful program with members of the congregation providing homes for needy children. And taught me a lesson by reminding me what's important."

25 posted on 01/07/2004 6:01:05 AM PST by lonestar (Don't mess with Texas)
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To: onyx
You a Scrabble champ?

I probably could be. Most of my friends and family won't play it with me anymore, so I don't get much practice now. They know when I play a 2 or 3 letter word with no apparent sign of regret that I'm setting them up. There's this eye-rolling and big sigh and a futile attempt to block me from whatever I'm going to do.

Then I swoop down and empty my rack directly onto the board. "B-R-A-N-D-I-E-D. Double triple word score, fifty point bonus..." I've had scores on one word that my opponent didn't match in the whole game. I could get away with anything because nobody has ever successfully challenged one of my words, so they don't even try any more. My diplomatic skills disappear at such moments and I gloat. I don't suppose that gloating is very acceptable in tournament play! Nor are the house rules I cherish like being able to retrieve a blank.

I've never learned to lose on purpose, alas. They know when I play, I'm playing more or less against my own high scores.
26 posted on 01/07/2004 6:26:08 AM PST by Triple Word Score
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To: Cultural Jihad
I did a Google search using Bush + Shiloh Baptist Church. Found over 900 hits. Out of the first 100 hits, the below - with one exception - deals with the visit:

news.corporate.findlaw.com/prnewswire/ 20031219/19dec2003170513.html - 35k - -

www.mclean411.com/church-baptist2.htm - 60k - -

religion.surfwax.com/files/Baptist_Church.html - 49k - -

www.inboxrobot.com/newsletter.php3?brief_id=9300 - 52k - -

www.beliefnet.com/story/137/story_13774_1.html - 47k - -

nwc.edu/radio/wnwchome/news.htm - 22k - -

www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/12/23/bush.hanukkah.ap/ - 43k - -

www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/ 20031222-1540-bush-hanukkah.html - 25k - -

www.seacoastonline.com/2000news/10_30_w1.htm - 15k - -

At Shiloh Baptist Church, the Rev. Wallace Charles Smith told congregants in a letter that people who think there isn't much difference between Gore and Bush are "dead wrong." "Probing beneath the surface we see that their policies would take the nation in very different directions," Smith said, citing the candidates' positions on civil rights, education, judicial choices, and Social Security, where he said Bush's call for partial privatization is "a considerable gamble."

www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/ 20031222-051422-9966r.htm - 50k - -

www.latimes.com/.../politics/whitehouse/ la-na-bush23dec23,0,4093512.story?coll=la-news-politics-white_house -

www.infoplease.com/ipa/0/8/7/3/8/6/A0194030.html - 51k - -

www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0767372.html - 30k - -

www.pfm.org/ - 46k - -

www.sacbee.com/24hour/politics/ story/1094545p-7648093c.html - 39k - -

www.demossnewspond.com/at/ - 39k - -

www.demossnewspond.com/at/releases/ bushchristmas122203.htm - 25k - -

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/12/ images/20031222-2_d122203-515h.html - 31k - -

www.talkradionews.com/news/article.php?articleID=116 - 10k - -

www.c-n.com/news/c-n/story/0,2111,863056,00.html - 29k - -

www.out2.com/copyroom/ home.asp?ctn=Boca+Raton&cityid=16 - 58k - -

www.ifa-usapray.org/AvantGo_IFA/PDA_Onwatch.htm - 20k - -

The one exception I included deals with an old story whereas Clinton visited the same church in 2000 and the minister came out against Bush. You would be surprised at how many hits included this church and the dismissive remarks of Bush by the various ministers. In a few moments, I am going to call them and ask them about this.

27 posted on 01/07/2004 6:37:25 AM PST by 7thson (I think it takes a big dog to weigh a 100 pounds.)
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To: philsoc
Already posted here.
28 posted on 01/07/2004 6:40:36 AM PST by TomServo ("She wouldn't have me on a silver platter." "How about on an air mattress slathered with butter?")
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To: philsoc
Yes, I read somewhere over the holidays about President and Mrs. Bush visiting with prisoners' children. But it was nothing like this. I have tears in my eyes. Thanks for posting.
29 posted on 01/07/2004 6:43:48 AM PST by Quilla
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To: Triple Word Score
I like to play Scrabble and thought I was pretty good, until I played my wife. She is extremely cutthroat in the game and taught me to be so. One game - after the first pick of letters - I drew two blanks, the q, the x, and the z. After my wifes initial turn and using what she put down I was able to put down Q-U-I-X-O-T-I-C. It garnered me 104 points and enabled me to coast to victory - BY ONLY TWO POINTS! I told you, she is good!
30 posted on 01/07/2004 6:44:26 AM PST by 7thson (I think it takes a big dog to weigh a 100 pounds.)
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To: philsoc
The media may attempt to silence these things, but we manage to find out about them anyway. You're right, he IS a good man.
31 posted on 01/07/2004 6:54:03 AM PST by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader-Have you donated yet?)
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To: philsoc
I didn't read this is my local liberal rag, but I just sent it from the source, to everyone on my e-mail list. You all can do the same. We will get the story out there.
32 posted on 01/07/2004 6:56:33 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Southack
"The ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross" ~ Bump!
33 posted on 01/07/2004 8:01:04 AM PST by blackie
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To: Ditter
I did the same thing Ditter.
34 posted on 01/07/2004 8:11:05 AM PST by blackie
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To: Mo1
Morning M01! thanks for the ping to a great story :)
35 posted on 01/07/2004 8:19:07 AM PST by Libertina (If it moves, tax it. If it doesn't move it's a sitting duck - tax it TWICE!)
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To: Faith
Faith, forgive me if you've seen this article before. If not, you will deeply enjoy it. Brought tears to my eyes.
36 posted on 01/07/2004 8:59:26 AM PST by Texagirl4W (You should not confuse your career with your life.)
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To: Explorer89
Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.
37 posted on 01/07/2004 9:23:44 AM PST by MrConfettiMan (Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?)
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To: Cultural Jihad
"It's hard to believe that among the dozens of apoplectic posters on the various immigration threads who are claiming that this man is the worst and most ruinous traitor since Ghengis Khan can really be very sincere or thoughtful people."


Double Amen!
38 posted on 01/07/2004 9:49:21 AM PST by DrDeb
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To: My2Cents
"Thanks for the ping. I thank God every day (often more than once!) that this man is our President."


I couldn't agree more!

39 posted on 01/07/2004 9:52:06 AM PST by DrDeb
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To: philsoc
What a great story. What great people in our Whitehouse. This story just reminded me that I need to send in my yearly donation. I buy Christmas cards from them every year that the children make. EEEK haven't sent my donation in as of yet but that will be done friday. I promise.
40 posted on 01/07/2004 2:11:21 PM PST by GUIDO
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