By Will Hall, Executive Editor
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – Like many churches in Louisiana, Alto Baptist Church held a special celebration of “God & country” on June 30 ahead of the July 4th holiday. But unlike other congregations, this small country church hosted one of the most prominent politicians in the state, with U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham highlighting the service.
Pastor Alan Miller told the Baptist Message that the special service was a way to thank God for blessing this nation and to honor veterans as well as men and women who continue to serve in the military and law enforcement.
“Doc shared that courage is necessary to life’s journey of service to God and country, and illustrated this biblical truth with the lives and leadership lessons of George Washington and Old Testament hero Joshua,” Miller described. “Dianne sang beautifully, ‘Heal Our Land,’ from 2 Chronicles 7:14.”
Miller said his congregation has a special advantage in terms of access to the Abrahams.
“They are more than members or attenders,” Miller said. “They have their own pew where they have worshipped and served as a family for 43 years.”
Both have spent their lives from childhood with the congregation, and her mother, Nancy Johnston, has served as church organist for more than 70 years.
Ahead of the celebration, the Baptist Message reached out to Congressman Abraham to invite him to share his thoughts on a range of topics, including religion and politics and especially how his faith and his public service intersect.
“My faith is everything to me,” Abraham noted. “Hopefully my Christian values dictate and certainly factor into every decision I make, not only on the political level but certainly on the personal level.”
Moreover, he credited his congregation, and his wife, with helping to keep him spiritually grounded while he is away in Washington, D.C.
“We are a very small, rural church but we are fortunate to have such a good pastor with Alan Miller,” Abraham shared. “He has brought a new perspective and just new energy to the church – with particular success in reaching young families with children.
“I’m gone a lot, but Dianne is involved in almost every aspect of the church, whether it’s preparing a meal for a funeral or serving during Vacation Bible School. In that way I can stay connected, too,” he explained. “She keeps me up to speed on what’s going on and what I need to do to help the cause.”
Abraham said his remarks for the special service were inspired by the Judeo-Christian values which guided the Founding Fathers.
“I fear that this secular movement that we are seeing somewhat across the nation is pulling us away from our roots,” he commented. “As Christians we cannot allow that to happen. What does that mean? That means we’ve got to fight and push back against those that want to literally remove faith from this country. As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to fight on every front to keep that from happening.
“I’ve been a lot of places across the globe and certainly a lot of places across the nation,” Abraham added. “Every time I come back to wonderful Louisiana I am grateful that we still have our feet planted in the right spot as far as our faith and our God and our involvement in our great republic that we call the United States.”
The Baptist Message also asked him to comment about the upcoming testimony by Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who investigated allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign, before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.
“I guess they are not happy with what was in the report, or not able to understand what was in the report,” he observed. “We know from the Muller report that there absolutely was no collusion. There was no obstruction. The Democrats simply are having a very hard time getting over that report’s factual findings because unfortunately they do not like the president.
“The Muller report is just another thing that the Dems will keep in play until the 2020 election simply because they don’t want this president to look good in any form or fashion,” Abraham continued. “I look at what they are doing on the southern border. We are trying to seal that border. I have been down there. It’s horrific. Drugs and the human trafficking are coming across – it’s a terrible, terrible thing.”
Abraham said it’s a case of liberals “putting politics before people.”
Putting people first is his top priority in running for governor of Louisiana, he said.
“We simply are putting Louisiana families first in this campaign and certainly when I become governor,” Abraham said. “In the last three years we have lost in the neighborhood of 70,000 Louisiana residents because they can’t get that job they need to feed their families.”
Moreover, he pledged that “those jobs are going to come back to Louisiana when I am governor,” explaining that he would improve the “tax climate, our legal climate” to entice businesses to return.
Pointing to a U.S. News and World Report that ranked Louisiana’s economy last in the country for three consecutive years, he said Louisiana needs “somebody with some business sense and somebody who will put Louisiana families first.
“We are so fortunate in Louisiana to have natural resources even greater than Texas. We have a very wonderful and unique culture and we have people that want to work. We just have to find and bring those good jobs for them to be able to stay in this state,” he declared.
Finally, Abraham offered praise to Louisiana Baptists for providing “great leadership and great values” in the state.
“Louisiana Baptists understand the importance of faith and family,” he emphasized, “and being a Christian, being a Louisiana Baptist, is important to me. Let them know I am with them in the Gospel and in the hopes they hold for our state and country.”