Whether it’s 1,000 pastors who throw their hats into the political arena or 1,000 football coaches who “take a knee” after a game, America needs more religious people to step up, speakers told a Virginia training workshop Tuesday.
By Cheryl Wetzstein – The Washington Times
“Politics is a contact sport, but if America is to be saved, men and women of faith must return to the public square, and pastors must re-establish prayer in the churches of America,” said David Lane, founder and leader of the American Renewal Project, which organizes the Issachar training sessions.
The name is drawn from Issachar, a son of biblical patriarch Jacob whose tribesmen were said to have “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”
The vision of the American Renewal Project is to see 1,000 pastors win elected office, whether it is on the local school boards and county councils or state and federal offices.
The nation would benefit not only from the leadership of clergy, but from a more informed citizenry who would be needed to help in the political campaigns, the project says.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, told more than 200 pastors gathered Tuesday in Chantilly, Virginia, that it was time for “the body of Christ” — especially America’s 90 million evangelicals — to stand up for constitutional liberties and the Judeo-Christian values that established America.
“If believers are staying home, if we are allowing our nation’s leaders to be chosen by unbelievers, is it any wonder” that there are assaults on life, marriage and religious liberty every day from the federal government, asked Mr. Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate.
Mr. Cruz recounted the stories of several Christians who have been sanctioned or persecuted for their faith, including Washington high school football coach Joe Kennedy, who is currently suspended for praying on the 50-yard line after a game in defiance of school officials.
“I hope next week we see 100 football coaches go to the 50-yard line I hope the week after that, we see 1,000 football coaches go to the 50-yard line and drop a knee,” said Mr. Cruz. “We’ll see just how prepared these school districts are to cancel their football programs in every school in America.”
Scripture calls Christians to be “salt” and “light,” the senator concluded, “but you cannot be salt if you don’t come into contact with what you are to preserve; you cannot be light if you are hidden under a bushel. We have an obligation to be watchmen on the wall, not hiding in the back room, afraid of the voices of darkness.”
Missouri State Rep. John McCaherty, who attended the training session with wife Chris, said that since 2010 he has navigated his political career with his pastoring at First Baptist Church of Murphy in Fenton, Missouri.
The weeks are busy — legislative duties fill four days and pastoral duties fill the other three, he said. But an associate pastor and other church leaders have filled in so seamlessly that the 120 parishioners “don’t see anything missing,” said Mr. McCaherty. He nodded toward his wife and added that he also makes time for children, grandchildren and “date nights.”
Running for office is a big step for any pastor, but those who are contemplating it should simply pray about it, Mr. McCaherty advised. “If the Lord wants you” to step up, “the doors will open.”
Pastor Rob McCoy of Godspeak Calvary Chapel and now a councilman for the City of Thousand Oaks in California, has been an inspiration for the American Renewal Project. More than 600 volunteers rose up to help him in a hard-fought election he narrowly lost — and they were there for him again when the council seat came open.
He told the pastors about being challenged about church-state issues and trying to serve “God and mammon.” But his reply was: “I’m not serving two gods; I’m serving God in two places — and last time I checked, he’s omnipresent.”
Pastor Marcel Berrios, who attended with wife Millie, said the senior pastor of his church, Healing Waters Worship Center in Carrollton, Virginia, wasn’t able to attend because he just won election to the Isle of Wight board of supervisors and had to begin preparing for his new duties.
The idea of 1,000 pastors elected to public service is “completely doable,” said Mrs. Berrios. “The timing is right.”
“It’s also a matter of commitment,” said Mr. Berrios. During Pastor William McCarty’s recent political campaign, he noted, he was sometimes mocked as “the preacher man,” but he refused to play at that level. “His values spoke louder,” Mr. Berrios said.
Corrogan R. Vaughn, who is not a pastor but is the son of a Baltimore pastor, is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat.
“In this day and time, we have got to begin to put people and principles over party and politics,” said Mr. Vaughn, who said he and his allies were able to register more than 5,000 new Republican voters in Baltimore after the recent riots.
“When you put a minister in a political office, what he is seeking to do politically, legally, socially, culturally, is he is seeking to bring order out of chaos so that everything is restored to its proper order,” noted the Rev. Paul Michael Raymond, who pastors the Reformed Bible Church in Appomattox, Virginia, and is thinking of running for political office in two years.
“It’s a sacred honor,” said Marcy Carter, who attended the training with husband Paster Jim Carter of Riverside Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Their daughter, Rachael Porter, a small business owner from near Lynchburg, came to listen and learn.
“I am interested [in running for an office], but I want to know more,” she said.
Full article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/17/american-renewal-project-aims-to-get-1000-pastors-/