PUBLISHED MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4,
Church rallies for freedom on God and
Every American should make room in their
hearts for Jesus - and in their holsters for the
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
congregation waves flags and sings
patriotic songs Sunday during God and
Country Day at Crossroad Baptist Church.
"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
Howard, a John Wayne impersonator,
speaks to the crowd Sunday morning
during God and Country Day at Crossroad
Baptist Church .
"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,
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
Pratt expanded on Scarborough's speech,
saying that the expansion of the federal
government is a form of exaltation of man as his
"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
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
"(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
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