Jerry Colangelo was in a bit of a fog when President Bush called him at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning. It was Nov. 5, the morning after the Arizona Diamondbacks owner celebrated with his World Series championship ballclub and didn't get to bed until 4 a.m. But he heard Bush's message loud and clear: Great game, great strategy. Colangelo had a message for Bush as well: I appreciate your leadership and I'm praying for you. The 62-year old CEO meant it. Colangelo cited the 1 Timothy 2:1-2 admonition to pray "for kings and all who are in authority," saying, "I think we're seeing a revival of patriotism and people talking about faith and prayer and asking eternal questions. People are concerned about what's really important in life." Colangelo says he and his wife attend weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings, as do Diamondback players such as Randy Johnson and Jay Bell, both evangelicals. Colangelo feels so strongly about the danger facing the country due to terrorism that he recently agreed to become honorary co-chair of a new nonprofit group, The Presidential Prayer Team, with Sen. Jon Kyl, Franklin Graham, and Max Lucado. Though unaffiliated with the White House, the group has already signed up more than 580,000 people to pray daily for the president and his top advisers.
Over the years, Bush and Colangelo-also owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball franchise-have grown close. A long-time Arizona Republican, Colangelo backed Bush in the GOP primaries in 2000 and even raised money for him, despite his longtime friendship with Sen. John McCain. "Bush is outspoken about his faith and his belief in the importance of prayer in his everyday life and I like that," he said. "I got to know him when he was involved with the Texas Rangers.... I supported Bush in the primaries [and] committed to him early, before John [McCain] asked me."
President Bush has invited the World Series champion Diamondbacks to a celebration at the White House. The event is scheduled for Dec. 14. In a campaign to highlight how cruelly the Taliban treats women, President Bush will soon welcome Christian aid workers Heather Mercer, Dayna Curry, and their families to the White House to celebrate their dramatic rescue from Afghanistan (story, page 22). Mercer, Curry, and six other evangelicals were imprisoned by the Taliban for "proselytizing." The president and First Lady Laura Bush closely tracked their plight for months, and White House aides were particularly struck by an e-mail Mercer-a native of the Washington, D.C., area-sent to friends at McLean Bible Church, highlighting the women of Afghanistan. "Please continue to [pray] for the miracles we and this nation so desperately need," the 24-year-old Mercer wrote just two weeks before her rescue. "When this is all said and done, my great desire is that [God] would be more honored and loved and this broken nation restored. The common people of this nation are so precious, so amazing! I believe the lonely women of this country are the true heroes. I've learned so much from them and their many stories." For much of the past year, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr was considering a bid for the U.S. Senate. But now that he's decided to stay in the House, he has a fight on his hands. Redistricting has put both Barr and fellow Republican Rep. John Linder in the same new district-Georgia 7th-setting up what could become the highest profile GOP primary in the country next year. Early polls show the race close, Barr with 44 percent to Linder's 36 percent. But the grassroots dynamic favors Barr, who has been endorsed by conservative leaders, including Ed Meese, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Grover Norquist, and Phyllis Schlafly. In an effort to regain his hearing, Rush Limbaugh will undergo surgery in January to receive what some call a "bionic ear." The conservative radio icon-who in recent weeks has gone 100 percent deaf-will receive a "cochlear implant." The tiny electronic device is embedded in the skull and uses a miniature microphone to pick up sound waves, amplify them, and transmit them directly into the hearing nerve, bypassing damaged portions of the inner ear. About 20,000 cochlear implant surgeries have been performed since first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1985.
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