Skip to comments.DeLay's Statement Supporting National Day of Reconciliation
Posted on 11/03/2001 4:50:12 PM PST by maranatha
CBN.com - WASHINGTON, DC
-- House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) delivered the following statement on the House floor yesterday in support of HCR 184, providing for a National Day of Reconciliation. The bipartisan resolution passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
We have seldom seen a time in which it would have been more fitting than the present moment for Americas leaders to come together as a unified body before God and demonstrate that we seek grace, guidance, wisdom, and reconciliation for our nation.
In the work ahead, the old labels and divisions over which we have quarreled must be set aside to accomplish the larger purpose to which we are called as a nation. We believe that this resolution has the capacity to draw us together and to cultivate the meaning, direction, and inspiration needed to achieve our special potential in the destiny of nations.
I have from time to time disagreed vigorously with my colleagues across the aisle. We have had honest disagreements and crossed swords over both practical and philosophical points. But I speak from my heart when I say that my firmest friends and most committed adversaries can all join me in supporting this initiative because it is solely designed to advance the nation toward a goal all of us share.
Every Member should approach this resolution with fresh and open eyes. This resolution is without any partisan aspect, motivation or effect. Its aim is the betterment of every American as our country draws closer to the high aspirations our Founders outlined for us.
It was specifically drafted to include everyone and to exclude no one. The National Day of Reconciliation acknowledges that we are all equal before God and, consequently, it is tailored to accommodate the specific faiths of every Member. It is ecumenical in substance and universal in its aspiration. Everyone can confidently embrace the spirit and purpose of reconciliation we advance with this proposal. We make way for all faiths.
Our goal is to have every Member join us in seeking reconciliation. Our victory is to see every Member and Senator taking part in keeping and practice with their own personal faith, judgment, and beliefs. Our fondest wish is for every elected representative to gather and petition God for His blessings, stewardship, and forgiveness. We want to approach Him to reconcile our country.
And while all are welcome and encouraged to take part, no one is obliged, under this resolution, to do anything at all. The National Day of Reconciliation compels no action of any kind. Participation is entirely voluntary. Let me reiterate that point to dispel any misguided concerns: Members can support this resolution with the certain knowledge that it places no obligations on anyone.
All it will do is to permit Members and Senators to come together voluntarily in private fellowship within the House Chamber to seek repentance and reconciliation for our nation. What we seek is an open climate of communal prayer and repentance.
So many of us have gathered meaning and direction for our own lives through the power of prayer. Both Houses of Congress acknowledge this by beginning each legislative day with an invocation. We started work on this resolution many months ago. We were looking for a way to reconcile our country. Recent events have only deepened our conviction that reconciliation is needed and necessary. In the wake of September 11, the imperative underlying a Day of Reconciliation takes on a heightened sense of urgency and weight.
In the past, the American governments have responded to periods of danger and uncertainty by seeking Gods blessing and forgiveness.
One of our greatest presidents healed a horrible national wound by leading us toward the pathway to reconciliation. He explained that, by embracing our founding principles and seeking Gods blessings, our nation could overcome a great crisis. Abraham Lincoln held the nation to account in 1863 as he urged Americans to reflect on all we had inherited and what was expected of us:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and reserving grace, too proud to pray to the God thus!
It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness. If we want America to be united under the fellowship of reconciliation, we must humble ourselves before God and ask to be healed and brought together.
We have heard suggestions that other spaces within the Capitol would be a more fitting and appropriate venue than the House Chamber. I couldnt disagree more strongly. Let me explain why.
Our House Chamber is the symbolic heart of American democracy. It is here that we do our work. It is here that decisions bearing heavily on our destiny are decided. It is here that all three branches of our government assemble during moments of great national gravity.
From here, Presidents speak to America. And in here we can come together to demonstrate to the country that Americas leaders have the strength, compassion, and courage to seek guidance and forgiveness. We shouldnt be afraid to admit that Americas work requires Gods interest, assistance, and guidance.
Our purpose in introducing this resolution is threefold. We believe that by setting aside a day for the leaders of the nation to come together in prayer we will enhance our unity, send a powerful petition for guidance and wisdom, and by humbly gathering, send a strong message to the American people that their leaders earnestly wish to bring about a national reconciliation so that we can go forward as a united people.
Members should also know that this resolution raises no constitutional barriers. It has been vetted thoroughly and poses no challenges to law.
To alleviate another concern, Members should know that we intend the entire scope of the Day of Reconciliation to occur without broadcast. Members should have no fear that this format could breach their privacy. Privacy in worship will be respected by this gathering because it will not be recorded. It is a chance for Americas leaders to approach God.
We know we have all fallen short of our potential. We know that our nation has also failed to achieve all that it could. Members can take a firm step toward realizing those twin objectives by supporting this resolution.
Remember, all we ask is that willing Members be permitted to gather to humbly seek the blessings of Providence for forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, and charity for all people of the United States, thereby assisting the Nation to realize its potential as the champion of hope, the vindicator of the defenseless, and the guardian of freedom.
A National Day of Reconciliation will be good for each of us as elected officials and men and women, but it will be even better for America. Its time to come together. And I believe this resolution will be an immeasurable help in solidifying our country.
Who is Providence? I checked Strong's Concordance, and it only came up once - small p.