From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
April 9, 2007

Contact: Court Koenning
(512) 463-0107 / (713) 876-4444

Text of Personal Privilege Speech Given on Senate Floor

Thank you Mr. President. Thank you members.

I was greatly impacted by what happened here earlier today when our Senate opened with a prayer. I was impacted because it underscores who I believe our nation is, who we are as a state, that we are a Senate body, that we are a state in a nation where anyone under freedom of religion and freedom of speech is entitled to pray and that's remarkable during a time of Passover, of holy week, this week when Jews are practicing their faith and this weekend Christians will be practicing their faith.

It was an extraordinary moment today, it was an extraordinary moment that impacted me because in many parts of the world I know that Jews or Christians would not be given that same right and that same freedom. And it made me proud to think of all those days we sat here on the Senate floor and seen families of soldiers who have died fighting for that freedom. It made me realize that they're not fighting just for Christians, they're not fighting just for Jews, they're not fighting just for Muslims, they're fighting for every American. And the imam who was here today, he was fortunate to be in this great country and I believe, and I hope we believe that. So at the same time I think about how the world looks at us and they must be confused.

We are a nation that is so tolerant of others that we bend over backwards to allow others to pray as they wish, to dream as they wish, to speak as they wish. We are a nation that allows a Muslim to come in with a Quran, but we are a nation that doesn't allow a Christian to take a Bible to school. The world body must be puzzled of us Americans. But I'm not. Today underscored what this is all about. It underscores who we are as a people. We are a nation built on the books of Abraham, the stories of Abraham and Moses and Solomon and David and Matthew and Mark, Paul, the Old Testament, the New Testament. That is the foundation of this nation.

We are a Judeo-Christian nation, primarily a Christian nation. And just as the imam was proud of his state and was bold, and I honor that, I am proud of my state as a Christian. I am proud of our Judeo-Christian heritage and I am proud to be an American today. Because in very few places in the world could we have witnessed what we witnessed today.

Thank God for America. And I wish our Jewish and our Christian friends this week. We pray for their families and be with their families. Thank you Mr. President.

Editor's note: The above is a verbatim transcription of the remarks as delivered. Senator Patrick spoke from his heart not from prepared remarks. Therefore, the above may not read perfectly.

Archived video of the remarks can be found at this link at the 1:45 minute mark.