By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
KENANSVILLE – An update on legislation being considered in the North Carolina General Assembly and a call for action were on the agenda Monday evening as a group of area pastors and community leaders gathered at Kenansville Baptist Church to hear from the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
The group, which grew out of a non-denominational weekly prayer meeting led by Roy Houston, hopes to form the first local Christian Action League chapter to build grassroots support for the organization and to help area residents become more informed and involved in the legislative process.
“Our social consciousness must never be desensitized,” said the Rev. Creech as he pointed the group to the promises of Christ in the Beatitudes and challenged them to “mourn about the evils of our day and care enough to do something about them.”
The Rev. Creech talked about the need for a Marriage Amendment to protect North Carolina from homosexual marriage and addressed problems in the Bullying Bill and the Sex Ed bill currently under consideration. He also shared news of recent victories – the halting of a bill to allow liquor tastings at ABC stores, the withdrawal of legislation to allow hunting on Sundays and the statewide ban of smoking in restaurants and bars signed into law this past week.
Although many in the group of 15 to 20 were aware of the basic issues, Kenansville Baptist pastor Mike Thompson said the update helped them understand the potential effects of specific bills and why taking action is so important.
Another member of the group, Willie Gillespie said too often Christians limit their political action to casting a vote every four years.
“We have become complacent, not really informed, and narrow in our thinking and communicating,” said Gillespie. “Even though we vote for these people, when they get to Raleigh or Washington, we feel like that what we say won’t make a difference. We don’t realize that the person we have elected is supposed to represent our opinions.”
He said people of faith need to understand that they can make an impact with actions as simple as e-mails and phone calls to their lawmakers, something the prayer group is already doing.
Ray Kennedy, pastor of Gospel Light Baptist, said during the week, members of the group monitor issues via a variety of sources including e-mail updates from the Christian Action League, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, Focus on the Family and Return America. Then they gather to pray for state and national leaders and discuss how best to influence public policy.
“For my part, I think our main goal is to keep the issues out in front and recruit other people to get their churches involved,” Kennedy said. He and others met with Sen. Charles Albertson (D-Duplin) earlier this year presenting him with a 400-signature petition calling for passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment. They persuaded the Duplin County Board of Commissioners to pass a resolution April 20 in support of the state’s defining marriage as between one man and one woman and hope to meet with Sampson County leaders about the issue next month.
The Rev. Creech encouraged the group to move ahead with plans to form a local chapter of the Christian Action League, something he’d like to see happen across North Carolina.
“This is grassroots organizing of the best kind,” said the Rev. Creech. “Local chapters would help the flow of information so that Christians across the state can be better informed of what is happening in Raleigh and, when needed, take immediate action to influence their lawmakers. By the same token, those of us in Raleigh could more easily get needed feedback and information about local issues that need our attention.”
At the heart of the group is the goal to help turn America back toward its roots.
“For me, it goes back to about 1995 when I read a book by David Barton, called ‘Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution & Religion,'” said Houston. “I began to have a passion for trying to work to help bring the United States back to its historical founding as a Christian nation.”
Anyone interested in getting involved in the first local chapter of the Christian Action League may contact Houston at (919) 296-4248 and/or come to one of the meetings, held on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. in the cafeteria at Duplin County Hospital.