WASHINGTON, May 31, 2004 ( – President Bush gave an interview to religion writers May 26, in which he said that the purpose of his presidency is to “change cultures” and saying that this desire was a motivating principle since he went into politics. He characterized the current American culture of permissiveness, saying the trend is to say, “If it feels good, do it, and if you’ve got a problem, blame somebody else.” The shift the president hopes to inculcate would be one towards a culture of responsibility, “in which each of us understands we’re responsible for the decisions we make in life.”  Bush characterized the new cultural environment as “the era of responsibility” part of which, “is the responsibility that comes with promoting taking care of your bodies to the point where we can promote a culture of life.” Bush called his work with Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus, the prominent Catholic spokesman and editor of First Things magazine, “integral” to the development of the administration’s position on abortion, “which,” he said, “is: Every child welcomed to life and protected by law. That is the goal of this administration.”  Regarding the Bush administration’s faith-based initiatives in social programmes, the president said that government has a role in helping individuals “by standing with those who have heard a call to love a neighbor.” He said, “Government can hand out money, but it cannot put love in people’s hearts or a sense of purpose in people’s lives.”  In contrast to the anti-religious trend in public services in Canada and some European countries, Bush endorses the expression of religious motives by faith-based programmes. He said, “One of the real challenges we’ve had, of course, is to say to the faith community, ‘Come in, the social service money is available for you and oh, by the way, you can keep the cross on the wall or the Star of David in your temple without fear of government retribution.’” He admitted that it has been a “mighty struggle” to get support for this liberal attitude towards religious expression within government circles.  Calling traditional marriage an institution that promotes “hope and stability,” President Bush reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the exclusive union of one man with one woman. He said, marriage “is the commitment between a man and a woman. That shared responsibility is the cornerstone-has been the cornerstone-will be the cornerstone for civilization and I think any erosion of that definition by itself will weaken civilization as we have known it, and as we hope to know it.”  Read full transcript of the interview:


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