Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at the Covenant Baptist Church

November 24, 1993

The President. Thank you. First of all, let me say to you, Pastor, and to the whole staff and family of Covenant Baptist Church, I thank you for taking us in here and letting us be a part of what Hillary and I have always done at Thanksgiving, being a part of some ministry to take Thanksgiving to people who would otherwise not have it. I want to also thank the Coalition for the Homeless that's working with you for the work that they have done to try to turn homelessness into a temporary condition by moving people through shelters into having the skills and the strength and the power to take control of their own lives.

I think it's important that the people of America know, all the people of America know, that in our cities where people have many problems, most of the people who live there are good, God-fearing, law-abiding, hard-working people who are doing things like this to help their friends and neighbors and who want things to work better.

So my commitment to you is to do what I can as President to help you succeed here, in your church and on your streets. And I hope that all Americans on this Thanksgiving, including many Americans like me and Hillary and our family who have more than they could ever have asked for, will take some time out to work, as you are working, so that other people who don't have so much can also have something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and throughout the year.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

[At this point, the President and Hillary Clinton were presented with T-shirts.]

The President. Let me say one other thing, Reverend Wiley. I like this church also because you've got a husband and wife team here who are both pastors, both pastors of this church, and making this thing work as a family, along with your distinguished father who preceded you in the pulpit. Reverend Wiley, it's good to see you. And we like to see people working together like this and all of you doing that. I appreciate it and respect it very much. Thank you for your service and your ministry. I'll wear this jogging. Thank you.

Handgun Control Legislation

Q. Mr. President, did you get a deal on the Brady bill?

The President. It looks like the Brady bill is going to be passed any minute, and I am very happy. Right before I left to come over here, it appeared that an agreement could be reached between Senator Mitchell and Senator Dole to end the Republican filibuster of the Brady bill. I am elated. It is a wonderful Thanksgiving present for the American people. It will enable us nationwide for the first time in history to check people who are trying to buy handguns for their age, for their mental health history, for their criminal history. It will be a beginning in what must be a long and relentless assault on the problems of crime and violence in this country. And we are beginning. It's a great Thanksgiving present, and next year I look forward to passing the crime bill and to continuing to do this work for as long as I'm in this job. It's very important.

We're going to rebuild the families, the neighborhoods, the communities, the schools, and safety and security, from the grassroots up. This is the first step. I am very happy. Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:46 p.m. In his remarks, he referred to Dennis and Christine Wiley, pastors, Covenant Baptist Church.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at the Covenant Baptist Church Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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