Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And it is wonderful, it's invigorating to be with all of y'all. Connie thank you for that very kind introduction. My wife Susan is here with me and we feel your prayers, we really do. Thank you all for your prayers, your encouragement, and for your support. It has been a wonderful time for all of us, the last several years that we've been working together on a lot of advancements, and it's great to be with you all, and your four horsemen, President Tony Perkins and Dr. Dobson and Gary Bauer and Dr., excuse me, Rev. Wildmon, and all of you all. We've worked together on principles that are essential. And I was listening to Tony Snow there and he's talking about the essential things that are important here and in fact universal values--the freedom of religion, freedom of expression, private ownership of property, and the rule of law.
And those with the Family Research Council and others of faith care about the persecution, the persecution of people because of their faith. We care about it here, but we care about it abroad as well. When I was in China with Susan last Thanksgiving, we really did give a lot of thanks for the freedoms that we have here in this country. The concept of freedom of religion to the leaders in China, that's a tertiary, frightening or irrelevant matter, and the persecution that goes on with Christians in China should stop, and persecution wherever it may be and now we deplore, we must deplore the bombings of churches and attacks on churches around the world. Here at home many of you all, there are some here from Virginia, some are from all across the country, we've worked together on issues that matter.
You all talk about faith, family and freedom being important and those were important four our family growing up. There were four Fs actually in the Allen family: faith, family, freedom and football. [laughter]. It's important--teamwork and preparation and a meritocracy where you don't care about someone's religion or race or ethnicity, all you care about is that that will help your team win and that's the meritocracy that we aspire to in our society.
But I'll always remember when I was Governor, and this is instructive I think of the wholesomeness of everyone who's here and millions across America. When I was Governor there was effort that was being made to have parents involved when an unwed minor daughter was going through the trauma of an abortion, called the parental notification. I'm for it naturally. We tried to get it through. In my first year as governor a measure finally got through and was amended in such a way that it allowed parental notification but you could bypass parents by notifying an uncle in Las Vegas or an older brother in a frat house somewhere.
And I brought in Kay Coles James, who was part of my cabinet as Governor, and Anne Kincaid [anti-abortion activist] and I asked them what should I do with it. Now this is progress, but it's not a true, honest parental notification bill. And they said, well you can sign it; it'll be progress, but if you veto it I was worried that somebody might say, well, gosh, he didn't keep his word. And they said whatever you do, we'll support you and we'll get the message out. And they left me in that office there in the Capitol in Richmond, and I prayed--closed my eyes and I prayed, asking God, what is the right thing to do? Sign this bill; it'll be heralded as progress, or veto it? And after praying to God, I looked out the window on the third floor of the Capitol, across the grounds, I saw the American flag flying. That was a sign to me of integrity, of honesty, and a sign that I should veto that bill--that it was not a true parental notification bill.
And I vetoed it, and then year after year after year we weren't able to get a bill through. It would always be held up and I would always think, gosh, should I have signed that? At least it would have been some progress. Finally, though, in my last year in office we were able to get a true parental notification bill through and then at the signing ceremony--we invited everyone to the signing ceremony for this true parental notification bill in 1997. It'd been going on for 17 years and there are at least 2,000 who are out there on the South Portico, the South steps of Mr. Jefferson's capitol, and I thought how wholesome. All these people are here not because they want some money or an appropriation from the government or some legislation that'll help their interest or their business; they're here for a principle, for a philosophy, for a value, and that is really rare, ladies and gentlemen, to see people that have that motivation and so[inaud.] and signed that bill, and we shook hands with every--we invited everyone into the governor's mansion. But that to me is the essence of all of you all and the values that we aspire to. It's not for any personal pecuniary interest or any advantage or market share, it was for a value that's the most important in our society, and that is the family and the values of honesty and integrity and that it is vitally important that parents are involved with their children.
And through the years we have worked not just on that issue, but many, many others. And in this campaign, in this year, I'm running in Virginia for re-election, I think it's important that what we do is we motivate and we inspire people through our action--in fact this is an action summit. And people don't just take action without motivation. They take it because it's a cause that they believe in, it's worthwhile to talk to their friends, their neighbors, the folks they commiserate with to make sure that we have folks on our side. And I think of our missions. We have three key missions in our country right now and this election year's all about those missions.
Number one we need to protect our freedom. Number two we need to make sure America's the land of opportunity for all. And number three we need to preserve our foundational values. Now let me explain briefly on all of these why these are important.
Protecting our freedom. We're in the midst of a global war against these radical, maniacal terrorist organizations. This is Islamic Jihad, it's Hezbollah, it's Al Quaeda and many, many others. There are others on the other side that whether its Iraq or elsewhere they'll say we need strategic plans for retreat. My friends we need strategic plans for success. [applause]. And our strategy in this war against terror is: we win, they lose and there's no substitute for victory. [cheers, applause]. We also for our security, we need to secure our borders. The federal government has neglected this too long. [applause]. We need an actual fence, a virtual fence, and we should not reward illegal behavior with amnesty. [applause continues].
Making sure this is the land of opportunity for all. We need less taxation, less taxation on families, like the marriage penalty tax, which should not be reimposed. And we shouldn't allow them to put higher taxes on those with children. We need less litigation. We need more personalized health care options. We need better education in a variety of ways, and we also need energy independence, where more of our energy is grown and developed here in America rather than having to worry about the whims of some dictator in the Middle East or a hostile part of the world for the security of our country. We need energy independence. [applause].
The third mission: preserving our foundational values, ladies and gentlemen, is vitally important. You all are part of a representative democracy. Representative democracy does not run on automatic pilot. It takes people, American citizens, to get involved. The will, the desires, the values of the people are reflected by the people y'all elect in local government, state legislatures, Congress, governors and presidents. But where our values are under attack so often are from these unelected, appointed for life federal judges who ignore the values and the will of the people. You've seen federal judges [a bit of applause], I'm going to keep going on these judges because this is an important issue in this campaign.
The Pledge of Allegiance. When I was Governor, we passed a law saying we'll have the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. Fine, no problem. Well people in California wanted to do that as well, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal said no, you can't have the Pledge of Allegiance in schools because of the words "under God." Meanwhile you have the Supreme Court saying you can desecrate the flag. That's how illogical and contrary the courts are to the will and desires of the people.
You see the Boy Scouts being put under attack by judges. You see them striking down partial birth abortion laws. You see just last year, about this time last year the Supreme Court of the United States allowing those [inaud.] in New London, CT to take people's homes--the American Dream--not for a school, not for a road, but because they wanted to derive more tax revenue off of that property. My friends what the Supreme Court did in that decision was amend our Bill of Rights by judicial decree, and my friends this is why we need more men and women on the Supreme Court of the United States like John Roberts and Sam Alito who understand their roles [applause]. Judges are supposed to protect our constitutionally guaranteed--in fact they're guaranteed because we're human beings, God-given rights, and our Constitution protects those rights--they're to fairly adjudicate disputes, they're to apply the law, not invent the law, and we must have judges who stop legislating from the bench. That is...[cheers, applause, inaud.]
And one key area that I hope y'all will focus on this year and that is the most important institution in our society, more important that any level of government and that is the family. It is the family where young people learn right from wrong, where you learn values, where you learn honesty, where you work together as a family and respect one another and love one another. And the courts, again it is courts that are attacking the family. I firmly believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman here in the United States of America. [applause].
We in Virginia are one of the battleground states on this issue. In addition to my election there is a difference with my opponent and the other party's leadership on this issue. In Virginia we're going to have a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The other side is going to come up with all these convoluted excuses and smokescreens that you've seen before--there are a other couple of dozen states that have addressed this issue. So we need to make sure, we need to make sure the message gets out to the people of Virginia and I know all of y'all are not from Virginia, but to the extent that you can help out in Virginia we welcome you into our Commonwealth of Virginia. And the reason that we need to do this, again is because of judges. It is judges; it's never the legislature, never the people by referendum, but in fact it's judges who are redefining marriage and so I hope that you all will continue your efforts on this [inaud.], on this issue, focusing on Virginia, focusing on other states that have it on the ballot this fall so that we do respect and protect the most important institution in all of our society, the family.
So my friends I'm going to close with this. I thank you all. Thank you all for asking me to speak to you; you have some great speakers here and if you don't get fired up from all these speakers, no one will get fired up. But we're united behind a mission of values, of shared principles, and a shared philosophy of trusting free people and free enterprise, recognizing the foundational value of a family. Most importantly our shared mission is to protect and preserve our God-given rights and those foundational values.
My friends we face a lot of challenges. There are a lot of choices to make and every year they come up in elections, but we are right now in the midst of a war and we're also in the midst of competition and choices and ideas. I hope that you will do as patriots have done throughout history. And I also hope and pray that God will continue to bless our country with people of your character, of your unflinching adherence to foundational values and also of your loving spirit. So count on me. Count on me as I have in the past to be a team mate, an ally, part of your extended family as we work for our shared values, and my friends, as I said, as patriots have done throughout history, learn from history, and I hope that you'll continue to do as patriots have done throughout our history, now matter the choice, no matter the challenge, always stand strong for families, but also stand strong for freedom. Thank you so very, very much. [applause].
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