By Dr. Mark Creech
There is a matter which lays heavy upon my heart at the moment. I have debated as to whether to offer a word for fear of creating the wrong impression. Nevertheless, I have decided to speak, in the spirit of Christ, and as a peacemaker.
Republicans in North Carolina have three excellent candidates vying for Kay Hagan’s Senate seat, Thom Tillis, Mark Harris and Greg Brannon. I think most will agree that the race appears to be largely between these three.
Thom Tillis is a mover and a shaker. Before the election in 2010, Tillis spent considerable time recruiting candidates to run for the North Carolina House and getting them elected. He won the confidence of his fellow House members and was chosen as Speaker. It would be wrong and dishonest not to give credit where it’s due. It’s certainly not to say he did it alone, but Tillis unquestionably was at the helm of righting North Carolina’s sinking ship. Largely speaking, with respect to some of the most critical issues facing our state, the Speaker got us on the right track. Tillis is a proven leader. And, I am quite certain he will be memorialized favorably by North Carolina history.
This is not to say this Christian activist has always agreed with the Speaker. But I know him personally and will quickly acknowledge that he is a decent, reasonable and fair-minded man.
Mark Harris has never held public office. Yet, he too is a proven leader. He has faithfully served as Pastor of a mega-church, First Baptist Church of Charlotte, and also successfully led the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Keeping Baptists together is like herding cats and not an easy accomplishment. Salute.
Harris is a man of principle – someone who thought long and hard about his decision to run for the U.S. Senate. It has been his burning passion to see our country, which is moving at break-neck speeds toward economic and social disaster that drives him to run. Moreover, Harris is a social conservative’s dream candidate.
I know Mark personally too. And, I love him as a brother.
Greg Brannon continues to impress me. I’ve listened to a number of interviews that he has done. I am continually amazed at his command of American history and mastery of the United States Constitution. Brannon is a fighter and an articulate one to boot.
I’ve only met Greg on one occasion, once when he came for a visit to the office of the Christian Action League. But after that meeting, I was deeply impressed with his unswerving love and devotion to America’s founding principles.
These are all good men. None of the three will satisfy the concerns of every Republican. Still, each of them is, I believe, a superb choice for the nomination of their party.
What concerns me, however, is the way their campaigns can unconstructively turn in the last days just before the Primary. This is the time when the heat is on. It can be a period of temptation when desperation to win can set in. The candidates need to be especially careful what they say about each other. Let’s not forget: words have consequences. And, charges of political or even personal wrong-doing, not only must be unquestionably factual, but also carefully weighed against the expectations of the ultimate fight – the one between the prevailing candidate and Senator Kay Hagan.
As a lobbyist for the Christian Action League, I’ve been familiar with Kay Hagan since her as time as a state Senator. She was certainly a part of the inner circle of power in the North Carolina General Assembly. I salute her person, as well as her service to our state.
But like many other conservative Christian evangelicals, as a U.S. Senator, I’ve been deeply disappointed with the policies Senator Hagan has supported. I serve a constituency that is ardently pro-life, believes in the traditional view of marriage and the family, and advocates for limited government. I believe, as does the Christian Action League, these ideals are not simply North Carolina values, but eternal verities that cannot be broken without ultimately breaking our state and nation. Kay Hagan has not been on board with these beliefs.
No doubt, this article will garner the criticism of many democrats. Some will argue that under my leadership the Christian Action League is simply a right arm of the Republican Party. That’s an unfortunate accusation and really untrue. The commitment instead is to be a prophetic Christian voice to both parties.
Nevertheless, it’s true, I think, conservative evangelicals like myself do gravitate to the Republican Party. Wayne Grudem, once eloquently stated what I believe is the reason why this is most often the case:
“There is a significant difference in the religious beliefs of Republicans and Democrats taken as a whole. Conservative evangelicals, who tend to believe that the Bible is God’s Word in its entirety, have tended to align with Republican principles. So have others whose religious views lead them to believe in absolute moral right and wrong, such as Roman Catholics, Mormons and more traditional Jews.
“But people who have no religious belief at all, or do not believe that we can know what God has told us with regard to moral standards, tend to be moral relativists, and this aligns them more closely with the Democratic Party and its emphasis on allowing people to choose abortion or choose homosexual marriage and so forth.
“The differences between Democrats and Republicans today have great significance. These differences are not accidental, but stem from differing convictions about several moral and theological convictions.”
It should be noted that because this Senate race is essentially about values, it’s critical for the nation. Tillis, Harris, Brannon and their supporters must not forget which race is the most important one. It’s the one between Hagan and the Republican who wins the nomination – the one where the values are so starkly in contrast. Republicans must be able to rally enthusiastically around that nominee with their voices and resources. It’s not right to send the nominee into a fight with Hagan and her liberal attack machine, already so beaten up by those who should have been in his corner; he’s too injured and too weak to put up a strong fight.
So let the match for the top spot continue, but let it continue only as brothers would fight.