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Florida church members say nation’s morality at stake in election results

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (BP)–Charging that Vice President Al Gore has brought shame upon the Southern Baptist Convention, some Florida Baptists said the outcome of the 2000 presidential election will determine the moral and spiritual future of the nation.

“We don’t worship the Lord anymore,” said Dianne Douglas a health and sex education teacher in West Palm Beach, Fla. “We worship the stock market, the almighty dollar. Instead, we need to be on our knees before God.”

Douglas, was one of four members of the First Baptist of West Palm Beach, Fla., who discussed their thoughts about the election crisis facing the state and in particular, their county. The Baptist Press panel discussion also included Scott Harts, a financial planner; Jim Harris, proprietor of J.C. Harris Men’s Store; and John Brooks, an engineer and active member of the local Christian Coalition organization.

“I’m originally a Tennessean,” Brooks said. “And we all feel that Vice President Gore has brought shame upon the state and great shame upon the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Brooks referred to the vice president’s positions as an advocate for homosexual rights and abortion rights as justification for his argument. “It’s time for a major spiritual awakening in this country,” he said. “I believe a spiritual awakening will change our culture.”

All four Baptists said the election was crucial due to the possibility of changes on the Supreme Court. “This is a pivotal time,” Hart said. “It’s going to be a bloodbath on the Supreme Court.”

Still, regardless of the outcome, they conceded that God was still in control.

“Something as terrible as this election, God can get the glory,” Brooks said. “That’s what Romans 8:28 is talking about.”

“Ultimately, it’s God’s decision who will take the White House,” Hart said. “It’s just a matter of whether we get the president we need or the president we deserve.”

Hart likened the nation’s enthusiasm for Gore to that of King Saul in the Old Testament. “The great mass of the land wanted a king who was tall, strong, and good looking instead of what God wanted for them. So God gave them what they wanted,” Harts said. “I think you can say the same thing here in this country.”

Douglas said the anti-religious fervor of the Clinton-Gore administration has had a serious impact on the nation’s school systems. “I teach in a public school and most of the teachers are supporters of Gore,” she said. “Last week, I was cursed at by a fellow teacher because I was voting Republican.”

Still, Douglas said, there is a remnant of Christian students in West Palm Beach schools. “We have a group of about 40 to 45 kids who gather to pray and seek Christ in the midst of all this sin.”

Harris, known throughout the church as an active soul winner, said the key to changing the country is to change hearts. “And we have to do it one life at a time,” Harris said. “If you want to change people’s views, you have to show them Christ. There are people everywhere that need to be saved.”

Douglas said the nation should pray. “We should all get on our knees before a holy God and pray. Pray for God’s will to be done,” she said.

“And be sure to vote,” Brooks added.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: DISCUSSING THE ISSUES.

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