Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

South Carolina Prays

Members of the South Carolina House of Representatives gathered today in a bipartisan prayer service.

A portion of the program:

Remarks by Speaker David H. Wilkins:

This is an unprecedented event in the history of the South Carolina House, one in which we’re all very proud. This day has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with prayer, peace and patriotism. As many of you know, I’m the state chairman of the Bush Campaign. It’s my privilege to stand here with my friend, Representative James Smith, the Minority Leader in the House and the state coordinator of the Kerry Campaign.

But on this day, James and I, and all these House members, stand here united as South Carolinians – and more importantly as Americans – devoting ourselves in a common cause. As state leaders we believe it is our obligation to set the example.

It’s been said, “Great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation.”

Today marks exactly four weeks to the day until Election Day. All of us understand that enemies of freedom would like nothing more than to disrupt that ultimate celebration of American liberty.

So we believe the time is now for a great act of faith. And that is what brings us here today to make a bold, public proclamation. For the next four weeks these members of the South Carolina House of Representatives will devote time in prayer specifically for:

Continued peace in our homeland;

The safety of our troops; and

A smooth national election.

America was founded by those seeking freedom in faith. Two centuries ago it was President Thomas Jefferson who said, “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”

And right now in faraway places America’s brave sons and daughters continue to answer freedom’s call fighting terrorists in caves and on city streets. We can pay no higher honor to our American troops and to our nation than to pray for them and for the country they love so well they are willing to defend it with their lives.

I believe God covets our prayers. And that’s why we hope that all South Carolinians – all Americans – will join us and stand united in prayer – no matter their politics – one nation under God.

This is our commitment: to lift up our nation in prayer. We believe it is a high calling and a sacred privilege.

In another time, another generation of Americans faced the evil of their time with faith. The prayer of General Dwight D. Eisenhower is as meaningful today as it was during the dark days of World War II: “May the light of freedom, coming to all darkened lands, flame brightly – until at last the darkness is no more.”

America remains the brightest light on earth for freedom. May our country long remain a beacon of hope, a stronghold of strength, and a fountain of faith.

Remarks by Rep. James E. Smith, Junior:

After 9-11, the call of our forefathers for a free nation became the cause of our time. As we prepare to exercise one of America's greatest promises and vote, it is right that we turn to prayer.

SC Prays represents a collective effort of the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives to call on the people of the great state of South Carolina to pray deeply and daily…for peace and protection for our homeland…for our troops…and for a smooth national election everyday…but most especially these next four weeks.

We join with churches, houses of worship and spiritual leaders across our state and ask every South Carolinian to make this your prayer request.

What we do here today honors an American tradition. When our forefathers came to loggerheads writing our Constitution, there was a real fear that they could not resolve their differences.

It was Ben Franklin who suggested that the framers stop and pray.

Like the Speaker said, we believe that praying often, and with confidence, is the best thing we can do in these weeks leading up to our national election.

And our faith is something no agent of terror can ever take from us. Faith is stronger than any weapon in the arsenal of hate.

History shows us there are no chains strong enough to capture and imprison faith.

Faith always breaks free.

Faith is always stronger than the tyrant who seeks to imprison it.

As author Max Lucado writes, examples of human faith abound, even behind the walls of a concentration camp where a prisoner carved these words:

I believe in the sun…even though it doesn’t shine,
I believe in love…even when it isn’t shown,
I believe in God…even when he doesn’t speak.

That is faith.

And on this day – exactly four weeks before Election Day – we ask all South Carolinians to join their voices with ours in prayer in this unique endeavor to impact positively our national election for all Americans.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways…He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.” And with that blessing comes the responsibility that we all share – to pray deeply and daily for the future of our Nation.

May God bless all of you…all those who seek to lead our country and state…and every person who seeks freedom in every corner of the world.

And May God continue to bless this state and the United States of America.


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