Today we thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon this great Country and ask Him to continue to heal our land and meet our needs - and we do so through the power of prayer.
We all understand that compromise is part of the legislative process, yet at the same time, I would submit that wilderness is not for sale.
Today, our actions must be motivated only by our intense desire to achieve a just and lasting peace. The compassion and charity of the American people should be reflected in this legislation, though sadly, they are silenced.
But through world wars and a Great Depression, through painful social upheaval and a Cold War, and now through the attacks of September 11, 2001, our Nation has indeed survived.
Reasonable, even intelligent people can, and frequently do, disagree on how best to achieve peace in the Middle East, but, peace must be the goal of our foreign policy tools, whether they be by the stick or by the carrot.
Peace cannot come from punishing the Palestinian people.
Wilderness is not defined by the absence of certain activities, but rather by the presence of certain unique and invaluable characteristics.
As a people of faith, we know that prayer is a powerful instrument. And as one Nation under God, we know that many times our most powerful tool is prayer.
For hundreds of millions of Americans who believe in God, prayer is our bridge between Earth and Heaven, our way of opening our hearts to the Lord. Through this intimate relationship we find peace and guidance.
Our work to provide equal opportunities for all Americans should be a year-round mission.
A free people, free to believe as we wish, free to speak our minds, free to raise our children as we see fit, will, make no mistake about it, endure.
A resilient people cherishing liberty and equality and the rule of law will endure.
America, 5 years after this brutal attack, is testament that a Nation conceived in liberty and equality will endure. It is a triumph of millions of Americans but it is also the triumph of an idea larger than any one person, larger than any one nation.
I believe that the Framers of the Constitution made their intent clear when they wrote the First Amendment. I believe they wanted to keep the new government from endorsing one religion over another, not erase the public consciousness or common faith.
Madam Speaker, I have spent more than half my life as a member of the Resources Committee. In that time I have supported numerous wilderness designations. In fact, I cannot recall ever opposing a wilderness bill.
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