By Katherine T. Phan, Christian Post     Wed. March 12, 2008,

President BushNASHVILLE – President Bush delivered a rousing speech before an audience of Christian broadcasters Tuesday, saying the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same ideological struggle to protect God’s universal gift of freedom to humanity.

Bush called freedom a “precious gift” that was not America’s gift to the world but God’s gift to all humanity, to which the crowd responded with “amen.”

In his address on the closing day of the National Religious Broadcasters convention, the president invoked faith and the value of human life as he reiterated his commitment to support both countries in securing peace and settling their governments.

“We undertake this work because we believe that every human being bears the image of our Maker. That’s why we’re doing this. No one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave,” said Bush to applause.

His speech comes one week before the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Bush is expected to deliver more talks on terrorism and war policy ahead of the NATO summit in Romania in early April and the upcoming congressional testimony of the top U.S. figures in Iraq – Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

On Tuesday, he stood by decisions to enter Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein.

“No President wants to be a war President,” he admitted. “But when confronted with the realities of the world, I have made the decision that now is the time to confront, now is the time to deal with this enemy, and now is the time to spread freedom as the great alternative to the ideology they adhere to.”

He acknowledged there was “still much work to be done” but maintained his conviction that the effects of a free Afghanistan and Iraq will extend to other countries in the region.

Bush delivered his address during a fundraising stop in Nashville for the Republican National Committee.

His message was well-received with hearty applauses and several standing ovations.

Several hundred convention participants attended the presidential address, including NRB board members and evangelical leaders like James Dobson.

The last time Bush talked to Christian broadcasters was in 2003, when he spoke about his faith-based initiatives.

This year, the president pledged to veto any legislation that would reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine, which requires broadcasters to equal time to all views on so-called controversial issues.

A long-time friend of Billy Graham, Bush rallied prayers for the respected evangelist who is recovering from surgery in North Carolina.

He also praised Christian broadcasters for guiding the faithful and standing up for America’s values, including the right to life.

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