I am a proud native Iowan. I love our state motto: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” Though a registered Independent, I lean conservative in most political matters. On top of that, I am a conservative Christian, a pastor, and a Baptist by conviction. Historically, Baptists have been strong supporters of religious liberties. The statement of faith of my local church and denomination (The Baptist Faith and Message) has an entire article on Religious Liberty, which states, “Church and state should be separate.”
So it surprises me as much as anyone to find myself disapproving of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent comments on religious liberties.
So starts my guest essay in today’s edition of The Des Moines Register. The print piece is significantly shortened. The full article is available online: “I’m a pastor. Reynolds’ ‘constitutional liberties’ comment on religious gatherings concerns me.”
I woke up to an email from a stranger, “not a religious person at all, and quite possibly on a very different side of the political spectrum,” expressing their thanks.
The second response was a conservative Christian, equally thankful.
I’m thankful to live in a nation in which we may express our religious and political opinions. Also grateful for citizens on all sides who celebrate the free exchange of ideas.
Special thanks to three conservative Christian friends for providing feedback, editing, and encouraging me to submit it. (One is a Ph.D. in Public Administration and U.S. Government. Another is an Attorney and Policy Advocate in D.C. The third, pursuing a Ph.D., has several advanced degrees and significant experience in Public Affairs.)
Also grateful to editor Lucas Grundmeier who (even after editing) allowed me to go over their preferred print-edition word-limit. Apparently, he knows about pastors and word-limits!