UPDATE: This just in from Prestonwood Baptist Church, Ms. Carly Fiorina just confirmed her participation in this event. Another update begs the assumption that this is a GOP “debate.” It’s not. This is an opportunity that Prestonwood — and assumedly, many more non-profits and ecumenical organizations — desire to open up to all politicians.
Yes, Democrats have been invited because faith issues are not isolated to people on the right side of the aisle. Faith-based values are being paraded across all forms of media, but those Christian values tend to get thrown in various buckets that people ignore or trip over, if you watch the news for any amount of time.
Once that understanding is out there, the PR will grow regarding this event because perception isn’t the only thing changing next November.
From the random auditorium of higher education to the historic locale that carry a shade of political prestige, the national networks are usually on the prowl for the next big thing in backdrops for presidential debates.
And it seems that next big thing is one of the largest megachurches in the country — Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
For centuries, the Church has been a stalwart in public policy. And probably no more time in history is the Church as active in driving people. Notes can be found in ancient Egypt, Rome, and even during biblical times. In the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 13:1-7, Paul instructs Roman Christians to submit to government.
And now, with pastors like Jack Graham, who has an international outreach, 40,000 members at his disposal and a pretty big church with 7,500 seats in a major market, he believes it’s time the Church stands up and speaks out about its civic leadership.
Graham has invited all GOP candidates for a public forum at his church in the Dallas suburb, and so far, he has five confirmations: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
“We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines as our Christian values are continually trampled,” Graham said in a statement. “As Christians, it is critical that we take seriously our rights as citizens of this great country by educating ourselves on all candidates in any election and to participate fully in the election process by voting our values.”
Timothy Head, Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition — and many others of his ilk — believe angst against the Church is not only tolerated but accepted. That is fueling this charge to get the Church more involved in the State, so to speak.
“Christians and faithful Catholics are increasingly concerned about perceived hostility toward faith in America.,” he said in a prepared statement. “Leading voices of faith are taking a clear stand for the fundamental American principle that no one of any faith should be compelled by government to violate their conscience or deeply-held faith.”
Sponsored by the Faith & Freedom Coalition, the event is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. at the church in Plano.