On Religion and Governance...
I have only been asked on a couple of occasions, but have been made aware of several inquires into my religious proclivities...to which I am more than delighted to expound!
I was born into, raised, and baptized in the Christian Church. Now, the first thing folks around here ask, is "which one?". Well, it is the Independent Christian Church of the American Restoration Movement, initiated independently by Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone in the early 1800's to unify the myriad of Protestant denominations under auspices of "Christians only".
That movement was partially successful, as its attempt to preclude denominational division ended up in a 3 way "denominational" split, consisting of the very conservative Church of Christ, the slightly more moderate/less literal Christian Church, and the more progressive Disciples of Christ. So, I am basically indoctrinated into a non-denominational denomination! Whatever, in the larger context, most American denominations can be defined as "Christian", and my background falls pretty much in the middle of that mix.
In Alabama, the Christian Churches are few and far between. I sought one out when I came here in 1991, and that brought me to Hartselle, where I planted my roots. I was extremely active in the congregation, and served as Trustee over buildings and grounds for years until that facility was destroyed by fire in the late 2000's. We had insurance...and, as is often the case when the human factors kick in, dispute arose.
The church opted to not rebuild, and the remaining members dispersed or assimilated into a neighboring church who had its eyes on our remaining assets. Instead, the 3 trustees created a trust with the remaining assets and we have managed those assets ever since with an ambition to provide local financial assistance where needed and within Biblical context.
We are proud of our efforts, and intend to stay the course.
Since that time, I have taken leave from regular congregational attendance. I have taken pause to broaden my scope and perspective, and have found that, at least to some degree, my current active role within Freemasonry gives me opportunity to do just that, where an adherence to and belief in our God is the only mandate (even though we are a fairly homogeneous group locally, believing in the Holy Trinity and Salvation) and the constraints that befall denominational fellowship are overcome. I currently find that environment refreshing and rewarding as I prepare myself to represent ALL of the people, Christian, non-Christian, or even non-religious equally and equitably.
That doesn't mean I can't talk shop! I enjoy religious debate and discussion about as much as any other debate or discussion, and I can certainly hang in there with the best of them!
I have been that guardian and protector of the Holy Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ as I have read and understood them most of my life. As I vie for the charge of Alabama State Representative, please know and accept that I will take that knowledge with me as I debate, guard, and protect the Constitution of the State of Alabama, and the Constitution of the United States, and the rights and privileges afforded within.
In the context of organized religion, I will stand by our First Amendment to assure that we make no law or creed, or otherwise compromise your right as an American to worship our God, your god, or no god, in any manner your or I see fit, insofar as doing so does not infringe on any of the rights of others. This is fundamental to our state, and our nation, as it was the topic of the very first amendment in our Bill of Rights!
Our Christian heritage will be safe with me. I applaud the efforts of our President in some basic posturing, making "Merry Christmas" the holiday greeting of choice, assuring that our children are allowed to pray whenever, and wherever they see fit, and keeping the IRS away from our Churches.
And remember folks..."Where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name..."