June 18, 2005


President Attends National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast (George W. Bush, Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington, D.C., 6/16/05)

We come from many faiths. In America, every religion is welcome. That's the great thing about our country: every faith is important. In America, people of faith have no corner on compassion, but people of faith need compassion to be true to the call to "Ame al projimo como a sí mismo," love your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself. That's a universal call.

For Hispanic Americans, a love of neighbor is more than a gospel command -- it's a way of life. We see the love of neighbor in the strong commitment of Hispanic Americans to family and the culture of life. For Hispanic Americans, families are a source of joy and the foundation of a hopeful society. We're working to support and defend the sanctity of marriage and to ensure that the most vulnerable Americans are welcomed in life and protected in love. (Applause.)

We see the love of neighbor in the tireless efforts of Hispanic American faith-based and community organizations that work daily to bring hope to harsh places. In Boston, the León de Judá Congregation mentors inner-city teens so they have a chance to realize the great dreams of America. In St. Louis, Acción Social Comunitaria helps immigrants and their children adapt to American life. In the archdiocese of Miami, Catholic Charities ministers to people with HIV/AIDS; inner-city Philadelphia, Cortés runs a fantastic program to help lift the spirits of every single child. (Applause.)

"In America, people of faith have no corner on compassion, but people of faith need compassion to be true to the call to "Ame al projimo como a sí mismo," love your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself. That's a universal call," said the President. White House photo by Eric DraperMany in the Hispanic community understand that by serving the least of -- nuestros hermanos y hermanas -- that we're serving a cause greater than ourselves. And by doing so, we're helping all citizens have an opportunity to realize their dreams here in America.

Finally, we see the love of neighbor in tens of thousands of Hispanics who serve America and the cause of freedom. One of these was an immigrant from Mexico named Rafael Peralta. The day after Rafael got his green card, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Think about that. While serving in Iraq, this good sergeant wrote a letter to his younger brother. He said, "Be proud of being an American. Our father came to this country, became a citizen because it was the right place for our family to be." Shortly after writing that letter, Sergeant Peralta used his own body to cover a grenade an enemy soldier had rolled into a roomful of Marines.

This prayer breakfast, we remember the sacrifices of honorable and good folks like Sergeant Peralta, who have shown their love of neighbor by giving their life for freedom.

Hispanic Americans answer the call to service willingly, because you understand that freedom is a divine gift that carries with it serious responsibilities. And as you go about the work of repairing broken lives and bringing love into the pockets of hopelessness and despair, be strong, because you're sustained by prayer. Through prayer -- (applause.)

One of the most powerful aspects of being the President is to know that millions of people pray for me and Laura. People that I'll never have a chance -- (applause.) Think about a country where millions of people of all faiths, people whom I'll never have a chance to look face-to-face with and say, thank you, take time to pray. It really is the strength of America, isn't it? Through prayer we ask that our hearts be aligned with God's. Through prayer we ask that we may be given the strength to do what's right and to help those in need.

I want to thank you for the fine tradition you continue here today. This is an important tradition to continue right here in the heart of the nation's capital. I want to thank you for what you do for our nation. Que dios les bendiga, and may God continue to bless our country. Thank you very much.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2005 6:30 AM

"Ame a su vecino iguales que usted mismo"

Your Spanish is as bad as your math.

Posted by: Brandon at June 18, 2005 10:27 AM

No new constituent left behind.

Posted by: at June 18, 2005 9:08 PM

I took high school Spanish with OJ....I can attest that he doesn't know a word of it...although he did a hell of a report on Ed Figueroa once.

Posted by: Foos at June 19, 2005 12:00 AM

I guess we'd have heard about it if the face of Jesus had miraculously appeared on George's pancake?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 19, 2005 4:10 PM