President Bush says religious faith and family togetherness are the best antidotes to the drug threat in America.
During visits in Pennsylvania with Amish and Mennonite leaders and young people, Bush wove much of his philosophy about proper lifestyles into discussions surrounding drug abuse.The president listened sympathetically Wednesday as Mennonite leader Elmer Burkholder wondered aloud whether his 4-year-old son would "be able to say no, to maintain his values."
Bush, who traveled to southeastern Pennsylvania as part of his anti-drug campaign, called the religious and tradition-minded Amish and Mennonites of the area "a shining example of what family and faith can do."
Bush reiterated his contention that prayer should be restored in public schools. He also said that while "we want to preserve freedom of expression," he believes much of today's popular music has "really bad lyrics."
Sitting around a table in a classroom of an old, simple one-story Amish school, the president listened as his hosts talked of the increasing pressures brought to bear on young people.
The Amish and Mennonite leaders told Bush that their relative success in child-rearing came from their deep-rooted family and religious values.
Bush marveled at how they had kept drugs away from their doorsteps. He told the Amish and Mennonite leaders to keep "the moral underpinnings of your community, and hopefully others will see your example."
After watching a karate demonstration by young boys and girls enrolled in a program in Wilmington, Del., aimed at keeping kids off drugs, Bush chatted informally about the pressures on today's youth.
"They had drugs around when I was a little guy, but I hate to tell you how old I am," said the 64-year-old president. "It wasn't as much. There wasn't the pressure on kids in schools. It's just kind of come in more lately, you know."
A few moments later he was asked: "What do you do to keep drugs out of your life?"
"Well, kind of getting along in my level of life here, the pressures aren't quite that big," Bush replied. "You don't have a lot of guys coming up to you in daily life saying, `Hey.'
"So I don't have the temptations and the pressures that you've got, like young guys in school and all of that," he added.