Get ready to hurl.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) delivered an emotional homily yesterday on the need for greater humility in public servants, declaring himself a sinner before a largely Christian audience and warning that pride has brought down leaders throughout history.
“Just think of what we could accomplish if we checked our pride at the door, if collectively we all spent less time taking credit and more time deserving it,” DeLay told the 54th annual National Day of Prayer gathering on Capitol Hill. “If we spent less time ducking responsibility and more time welcoming it. If we spent less time on our soapboxes and more time on our knees.”
DeLay drew appreciative smiles when he added, “For in God, all things are possible, ladies and gentlemen. And even greatness from lowly sinners like you and me — especially me.”
Before DeLay spoke at the afternoon event on Capitol Hill, attendees knelt as a prayer was said for each Cabinet member. The opening prayer was offered by James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family. His wife, Shirley Dobson, is the chairman of the National Day of Prayer. She began working on the event 14 years ago, when it had a $6,000 budget and one volunteer, and she now runs a year-round enterprise with a $1.5 million budget and 40,000 volunteers who held an estimated 50,000 events yesterday.
Dobson said the charges against DeLay seem vague, and said she believes he is a man of faith and good character. “If there’s something there, let’s bring it out and deal with it,” she said. “Otherwise, let’s leave him alone.”
He smiled as he hustled past reporters. A television correspondent asked DeLay how he had chosen his topic, and the lawmaker replied, “Humility is something I work on every day.” Stepping into an elevator, he said he found the audience’s response “very heartwarming.”