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PUBLISHED MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2002

Church rallies for freedom on God and Country Day

 

Sloane Stephens Cox
@PensacolaNewsJournal.com

Every American should make room in their hearts for Jesus - and in their holsters for the Bible.

A John Wayne impersonator delivered the first half of this message in a speech and the second half by example on Sunday when, gun on hip and Bible in hand, he spoke about salvation at the ninth annual God and Country Day at Crossroad Baptist Church.

The congregation waves flags and sings patriotic songs Sunday during God and Country Day at Crossroad Baptist Church.

John Blackie
@PensacolaNewsJournal.com

"Yes, sir, Pilgrim, Little Lady," said Texan Gene Howard, who mimicked the famous movie star down to the boots and the twang. "Some people paid a big price for freedom; it did not come without sacrifice."

Jesus' spiritual sacrifice was the talk of the patriotic event that encourages Christian involvement in government. In addition to Howard, this year's guest speakers included Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America; former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough; and Chuck Baldwin, pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church.

Gene Howard, a John Wayne impersonator, speaks to the crowd Sunday morning during God and Country Day at Crossroad Baptist Church .

John Blackie
@PensacolaNewsJournal.com

"True and lasting freedom isn't found from winning battles or waiving the flag," Baldwin said to the crowd of more than 800. "It's only found at the foot of an old, rugged cross."

Scarborough, who addressed Baldwin as a"friend of freedom," gave a speech condemning Democrats and Republicans for increasing the power of the federal government.

"There is a need for us to fight the explosive growth of the federal government," he said. "The more powerful they get, the more your rights erode."

Pratt expanded on Scarborough's speech, saying that the expansion of the federal government is a form of exaltation of man as his own God.

"The country is drifting sideways to tyranny because it's turning away from the source of liberty," Pratt said. "All power, all authority flows from God, not government."

Gun control by the government is a microcosm of war against freedom, he said.

"All this national policing sure didn't stop September 11."

The annual event, which lasted for two hours, drew a few people from as far away as New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

"(Baldwin) is able to show people the role of religion in every aspect of our lives," said Travis Ogle, a police detective who traveled from Miami just to attend the event. He learned about the event over the Internet and now hopes to retire here in eight months.

Other audience members included Escambia County Commissioner Marie Young and Santa Rosa County Commissioner Robert Hilliard and other local and state dignitaries.

During the service, Escambia County Commissioner Tom Banjanin was presented with the Integrity in Government Award.

"He is a man of integrity and honor and has retained all of the trust voters placed in him," Baldwin said.

Banjanin spoke briefly about the need to have faith in God. Howard, who spoke shortly after him, echoed Banjanin's sentiments:

"If you asked John Wayne what's the greatest thing he ever did, it wasn't making movies," Howard said. "It was getting down on his knees and asking the Lord to save him."

 

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