By Mark H. Hunter, Regional Reporter
GREENWELL SPRINGS – More than 100 Baton Rouge area pastors, church leaders and several elected officials, including U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R- La., met at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church on Aug. 19, to stand against the corruption of the culture – especially during the upcoming election cycle.
Organized by the Culture Impact Team of Greenwell Springs Baptist, and featuring speakers from the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Wall, Louisiana Family Forum and Freedom Guard, the meeting at times was as enthusiastic as a pep rally.
“I am convinced that if we are going to change America – if we are going to reclaim America – it’s going to be God’s people – the grass roots – rising up,” declared Kelly Boggs, LBC spokesman and Baptist Message editor. “We need to go forward as a church on our knees and be salt and light to make a difference.”
“Liberal activists of every stripe – atheists, homosexual activists, environmental activists – they are beginning to trickle in – drip, drip, drip, drip,” Boggs said. “And we must take a stand.”
Randy Wilson, a field director for Family Research Council and Watchmen on the Wall, said the pastors and churches must cooperate to revive America.
“We believe you (pastors) are our last, best hope,” Wilson said. “Who is running our country today? A minority of people – true? How many of you are all in to bringing change to this country? All we have to do is stand up, walk together and cry out to God and He will come on our behalf.”
Gene Mills, president of Louisiana Family Forum, announced an “All In” prayer meeting for pastors on Sept. 16, at Bethany Church South in Baton Rouge, and encouraged them to prepare messages geared toward the upcoming election to be delivered on “All In” Sunday, Oct. 5.
“Let me assure you the IRS has no jurisdiction over what God has called you to do or what you should speak,” Mills said. “Religious liberty is under assault in America today. One day they’ll tell you Romans chapter 1 is impermissible speech in the public square – tomorrow they’ll tell you it is impermissible speech in the pulpit.”
Vitter agreed saying, “this is the fight we all need to engage in. We need to redouble our efforts in the political sphere.”
Vitter encouraged them to be “cultural warriors and engage the culture.” A lot of times, he said, by the time issues get to a vote in Congress, “the battle has already been lost in the culture – the vote is just the manifestation of that.”
“There is only one thing scarier than the Congress moving in the wrong direction because they are listening to the minority,” Vitter said, “is when the Congress is moving in the wrong direction because it is listening to the majority.”
Vitter said he is running for governor because he wants Louisiana to be an example to other states of “what a positive culture of life and affirmation can look like.”
Vitter took some questions from the floor asked by host pastor Jeff Meyers covering the national debt – “voted against raising it,” common core – “keep the decisions and standards with local and state,” and suggested “continued vigilance” regarding future federal government mandates.
“America is in moral decline,” declared Gina Gleason, executive director of Faith and Family Policy. She told how her home state of California is so corrupt, they are teaching “gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender history in the grade schools.”
“How do you explain to a five and six year old what it means to be trans-gendered?” she asked. “That is wickedness coming from high places.”
Gleason explained how churches can organize a Culture Impact Team and distributed thick notebooks explaining how churches can institute them.
Meyers told the pastors that his church’s Culture Impact team, headed by Hank Hankins, serves a vital function and he encouraged them to also have one.
“They identify key issues within our culture that need to be addressed from a biblical framework then they educate our people on how we as Bible-believing Christians need to respond to those issues,” Meyers said. “They mobilize our people from everything from communicating with elected officials to doing any kind of demonstrations whether they be private or public as necessary and making sure people are registered to vote.”
Mike Johnson, president of Freedom Guard, a newly formed non-profit legal ministry headquartered in Bossier City, told the pastors “you are the ground troops – we are the air cover. We’ve got your back. If you get a call from the IRS – we’ll defend you free of charge.”
“We are literally the remnant of the Christian faith in America,” Johnson said. “We know we have to stand up for these issues. If we don’t defend the truth it will go by the wayside and we’ll lose the next generation.”
Former NFL player and TV sportscaster Craig James, who now works for the Family Research Council, told how he was fired last year from Fox Sports Southwest after being on the air for one hour. Three years earlier, during a political campaign, James said he believed in the biblical view of one man and one woman in marriage, provoking homosexual activists to later flood Fox Sports with complaints.
“They (Fox) said, that position wouldn’t fly in our HR department,” James said. “You talk about employment discrimination – the Texas Workforce Commission has already charged against them.”
He’s engaged the Liberty Institute to represent him. “I’m going full steam ahead,” he said to loud applause. “People said ‘why don’t you let it go?’ Are you kidding me? I believe what I believe and Fox was wrong for what they did.”
“This battle is real and I’ve experienced it,” James said. “America is in a soul crisis. Satan wants to knock you down and knock your churches down. Speak boldly – speak the truth!”
Meyers said he was extremely pleased with the turnout, saying, “anytime you get over 100 pastors representing more than 75 churches from across the board, all like-minded on social issues, value issues and theological issues to be energized to link arms and go out there and preach those issues – it’s a win-win.”
George Guillory is pastor of Glen Oaks Baptist and a leader in the African-American community of Baton Rouge.
“We need to push back the darkness that is covering our country, our city and our state,” Guillory said. “We need to be bolder as Christian pastors speaking the truth from the pulpit then getting out in the community and showing what we believe – that’s why we’ve lost the ground we’ve lost – the church has not done its job of being the light!”
For more information on: Freedom Guard: www.FreedomGuardNow.org