President Bill Clinton – I Have Sinned Speech

President Bill Clinton – I Have Sinned Speech September 11, 1998
ClintonThank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the White House and to this day to which Hillary and the vice president and I look forward so much every year.

This is always an important day for our country, for the reasons that the vice president said. It is an unusual and, I think, unusually important day today. I may not be quite as easy with my words today as I have been in years past, and I was up rather late last night thinking about and praying about what I ought to say today. And rather unusual for me, I actually tried to write it down. So if you will forgive me, I will do my best to say what it is I want to say to you – and I may have to take my glasses out to read my own writing.

First, I want to say to all of you that, as you might imagine, I have been on quite a journey these last few weeks to get to the end of this, to the rock bottom truth of where I am and where we all are.

I agree with those who have said that in my first statement after I testified I was not contrite enough. I don’t think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned.

It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine: first and most important, my family; also my friends, my staff, my Cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness.

But I believe that to be forgiven, more than sorrow is required – at least two more things. First, genuine repentance – a determination to change and to repair breaches of my own making. I have repented. Second, what my bible calls a ”broken spirit”; an understanding that I must have God’s help to be the person that I want to be; a willingness to give the very forgiveness I seek; a renunciation of the pride and the anger which cloud judgment, lead people to excuse and compare and to blame and complain.

Now, what does all this mean for me and for us? First, I will instruct my lawyers to mount a vigorous defense, using all available appropriate arguments. But legal language must not obscure the fact that I have done wrong. Second, I will continue on the path of repentance, seeking pastoral support and that of other caring people so that they can hold me accountable for my own commitment.

Third, I will intensify my efforts to lead our country and the world toward peace and freedom, prosperity and harmony, in the hope that with a broken spirit and a still strong heart I can be used for greater good, for we have many blessings and many challenges and so much work to do.

In this, I ask for your prayers and for your help in healing our nation. And though I cannot move beyond or forget this – indeed, I must always keep it as a caution light in my life – it is very important that our nation move forward.

I am very grateful for the many, many people – clergy and ordinary citizens alike – who have written me with wise counsel. I am profoundly grateful for the support of so many Americans who somehow through it all seem to still know that I care about them a great deal, that I care about their problems and their dreams. I am grateful for those who have stood by me and who say that in this case and many others, the bounds of privacy have been excessively and unwisely invaded. That may be. Nevertheless, in this case, it may be a blessing, because I still sinned. And if my repentance is genuine and sustained, and if I can maintain both a broken spirit and a strong heart, then good can come of this for our country as well as for me and my family. (Applause)

The children of this country can learn in a profound way that integrity is important and selfishness is wrong, but God can change us and make us strong at the broken places. I want to embody those lessons for the children of this country – for that little boy in Florida who came up to me and said that he wanted to grow up and be President and to be just like me. I want the parents of all the children in America to be able to say that to their children.

A couple of days ago when I was in Florida a Jewish friend of mine gave me this liturgy book called ”Gates of Repentance.” And there was this incredible passage from the Yom Kippur liturgy. I would like to read it to you:

”Now is the time for turning. The leaves are beginning to turn from green to red to orange. The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once more toward the south. The animals are beginning to turn to storing their food for the winter. For leaves, birds and animals, turning comes instinctively. But for us, turning does not come so easily. It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It means breaking old habits. It means admitting that we have been wrong, and this is never easy. It means losing face. It means starting all over again. And this is always painful. It means saying I am sorry. It means recognizing that we have the ability to change. These things are terribly hard to do. But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever in yesterday’s ways. Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning, and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.”

I thank my friend for that. I thank you for being here. I ask you to share my prayer that God will search me and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any hurtfulness in me, and lead me toward the life everlasting. I ask that God give me a clean heart, let me walk by faith and not sight.

I ask once again to be able to love my neighbor – all my neighbors – as my self, to be an instrument of God’s peace; to let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and, in the end, the work of my hands, be pleasing. This is what I wanted to say to you today.

Thank you. God bless you.

Did you like this? Share it:





Tags


Pop Culture News

  • Big Brother Recap for 7/18/19
    Tonight is yet another eviction night on CBS’s Big Brother. We have Cliff and Nicole on the block, a new alliance and a ton of anger and resentment from Nicole, who seems to be the biggest target. Who will be the next to go to Camp Comeback? We are about… Read more »
  • In The Spotlight: Tom Gavin
     Tell me about your career. My professional career started over 21 years ago in residential and commercial real estate finance. During my 18 year span in the industry, I not only wrote loans, but I was responsible for managing a corporate office and 4 out-of-state offices, in addition to overseeing… Read more »
  • July 19 in Pop Culture History
    July 19 in Pop Culture History 64 – Great Fire of Rome occurred, destroying half of the city. Contrary to rumors, Nero did not play the fiddle while it burned, but he did blame “the Christians.” 1553 – Lady Jane Grey was replaced by Mary I of England as Queen… Read more »
  • Batman Beyond to be Released on DVD
    BURBANK, CA (July 18, 2019) – Batman Beyond, the landmark animated television series that illuminated the imagination of a new generation of Batman fans with its creation of an altogether new hero, is celebrating its 20thanniversary – and you get the gift! Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has remastered the heralded… Read more »
  • Real World: Meet Tovah Marx
    MTV’s The Real World is back and better than ever on Facebook Watch! The show is just as good, if not better than the original and has an all new cast of amazing people.  One of the cast members this season is an amazing woman named Tovah Marx. This beautiful,… Read more »
  • FX Announces Cast for Fargo Year 4
    FX has set the extraordinary ensemble cast that will star with Chris Rock in the fourth installment of the Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winning limited series Fargo, it was announced today by Gina Balian and Nick Grad, Presidents, Original Programming, FX Entertainment. Peabody, Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winning Executive Producer Noah Hawley (creator/showrunner/writer/director) and his… Read more »
  • South Park Season 23 to Premiere on Wednesday, Sept 25 at 10pm ET/PT
    Comedy Central today announced that the 23rd season of the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning South Park will premiere on Wednesday, September 25 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. All-new episodes from season 23 will be available to stream in HD exclusively on South Park Studios and Hulu the day after they premiere. Fans will continue to have next-day access… Read more »
  • Celebrate BH90210 with Peach Pit Pop Up Diner
    THIS EXCLUSIVE (AND FREE!) POP-UP OF THE BELOVED RETRO DINER WILL BE OPEN FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY IN LOS ANGELES. THURSDAY, AUG. 1: “Peach Pit After Dark” Evening Hours: 7:00 – 10:00 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 2: Noon – 5:00 PM & “Peach Pit After Dark” Evening Hours: 7:00 – 10:00… Read more »
  • Investigation Discovery Announces Summer and Fall 2019 Schedule
    (New York, NY) – In a move to further establish itself as a leader in true-crime and mystery content across both linear and digital platforms, Investigation Discovery, America’s leading true-crime television network, has announced its upcoming lineup of digital programming for Summer and Fall of 2019.  Never-before-seen offerings include both… Read more »
  • ‘It Chapter Two’ Trailer Launch Kicks Off San Diego Comic-Con
    San Diego Comic-Con launched on Wednesday as New Line unveiled a new look at It CHAPTER TWO, the company’s sequel to the biggest-grossing horror movie of all time. See the trailer below. IT CHAPTER TWO opens Sept. 6th from Warner Bros. and New Line. The post ‘It Chapter Two’ Trailer Launch… Read more »
Loading...