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Posted 29 Sep 2001   For week ended September 28, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 25Sep01

By Rosemary Pollock

Pres. Hinckley, National Religious Leaders Meet Bush

WASHINGTON, DC -- President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended an hour long prayer meeting Thursday evening in Washington, D.C., along with 27 other religious leaders at the White House, to give his blessing and support to President Bush prior to Bush's address to the nation. According to a report from President Hinckley's office Bush told the group, "I have never felt stronger, and that strength comes from God."

A joint statement was issued following the meeting that echoed Bush's call for tolerance. The statement, "Deny Them Their Victory: A Religious Response to Terrorism," has since been endorsed by 1,500 clergy and has been sent to President Bush and federal lawmakers and administration officials.

"This is a struggle against evil. Fortunately, the good is bigger than the evil. We have an opportunity to find some good out of the rubble. This campaign will create a spiritual renewal in America," Bush said. As each leader met personally with President Bush, President Hinckley said, "I just want you to know, Mr. President, that we are behind you. We pray for you. We love this 'nation under God.'" Bush thanked him and added, "I'm glad that you could come."

President Hinckly conscientiously avoided reporters prior to and after the meeting. He immediately flew back to Salt Lake City aboard the same private jet, owned by the Huntsman Corp., that had brought him earlier. He was accompanied to the White House by the Church's Washington lobbyist, Marcus Faust, son of President James E. Faust, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and by Donald H. Staheli, President Hinckley's executive secretary.

Prior to the meeting, the religious leaders gathered for a preliminary meeting in the executive office, where Cardinal Bernard Law, archbishop of Boston, offered a prayer and presented a proposed statement that he hoped would represent the feelings of those present. After hearing it read, President Hinckley, "voiced his opinion that it was an excellent statement and that he would not hesitate to sign it." While gathered outside the White House, the group of religious leaders greeted one another. It was reported that, "a Muslim cleric from California indicated that he had recently read President Hinckley's book 'Standing for Something' and was very impressed with the message," the account indicated.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the meeting aimed to "underscore the importance of tolerance as well as to recognize the role of faith in a time of crisis." "Attendance is up dramatically at churches and synagogues and mosques and places of worship....And it's such a strength of this country that we have people from all types of religions who join in one belief, and that is the belief in America," Fleischer said.


LDS Leader Gives Bush His Blessing
Salt Lake Tribune 22Sep01 N1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune

Pres. Hinckley, Bush meet
Deseret News 21Sep01 N1
By Lee Davidson and Carrie Moore: Deseret News staff writer

Bush holds hour long prayer meeting with America's religious leaders
Deseret News 21Sep01 N1
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent

Full text of religious leaders' statement
Deseret News 21Sep01 N1


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