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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told graduates of a Christian college Saturday he refuses to hide his belief in God, which allowed him to endure his contentious confirmation hearings.

"It is only by God's grace and his mighty shoulders that my wife and I endured the unpleasantness of my confirmation," Thomas told 1,300 graduates of Liberty University, the college founded by Jerry Falwell. "In the end, our strategy was to rely on him to endure the agony and then transcend the aftermath of bitterness."During the nationally televised confirmation hearings in 1991, law professor Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexually harassing her while she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Thomas said he will continue to assert his faith in God publicly.

"We are now called upon through pressure and criticism to hide it under a bushel basket," he said. "We cannot turn our backs on the essence of our current sanity and well-being."

But he stopped short of saying that religion will influence his Supreme Court decisions.

"We don't decide cases by referring to the Bible, but as you will see in my speech, what we believe is important," Thomas told the audience of about 9,000. "Though it is not used to interpret the laws of this country, it is a positive document."