Bush cites scripture to Calvin College grads: "Love your neighbor as yourself"

June 14, 2005

In a commencement address at Calvin College, President Bush urged graduates of the Christian college in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to serve others as the Bible commands.

In the run-up to the May 21 event, 823 alumni, faculty, staff and students took out a full-page ad criticizing Bush’s policies as violating the principles of the school; about 100 faculty signed another half-page ad voicing the same complaint.

But when he appeared before about 5,000 people—including 900 graduating seniors—Bush was greeted with an enthusiastic standing ovation.

“I ask you to embrace this tradition of service and help set an example for all Americans,” he said, referring to scriptural admonitions to love God and secondly to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Continuing with the idea of service to others, Bush added: “This isn’t a Democratic idea. This isn’t a Republican idea. This is an American idea.” That was perhaps the biggest applause line of his 14-minute speech.

Gaylen Byker, Calvin College’s president and a Bush supporter, was impressed with how well the Bush team researched Calvin for the speech. “The president and his speech-writing staff got a good understanding of the college,” Byker said. –Religion News Service