Faith & Public Life (Yep, You Can Do Both)
Sponsor: CrisDental Family Dentistry & Denture Center Eugene, Oregon
Sitting at Carroll College in Helena Montana at a Governor’s prayer breakfast and the room is nearly full.
There are the usual aspects of a prayer breakfast, food, prayer, a speaker but then something happened that surprised this former Oregonian.
The governor got up and started talking about his faith.
Yep, right there in the open in front of the whole world to see, faith.
Up until now I was born, raised and lived in Oregon.
I worked in news.
I’ve covered prayer breakfasts and other events with numerous political leaders, but this is the first time EVER I’ve heard the governor of the state I live in talk openly about his walk with God.
Now, I don’t expect every person to have a faith in God, not at all.
But in Oregon we suppress our faith or face scorn, ridicule and protestors. (oh, remember when Promise Keepers came to Eugene a few years ago)
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte is a successful businessman, served in the house of representatives and is now the 25th governor of Montana.
I’m working with his staff to get him on a podcast to talk about faith and politics, they tell me it’s gonna happen. I will let you know.
The governor impressed me.
He wasn’t self-seeking and is perfectly comfortable speaking from his heart about God.
As he spoke of Montanan’s who needed our help I found myself getting choked up.
I thought of the single mom I met the other day at the barber shop who is at the end of her rope with a two and three year old. I thought of other’s I’ve met in Montana who are struggling and need a little lift.
The governor just signed a huge tax relief plan into law that will help all of us in the state.
It’s so odd to be in a place where leadership is not afraid to profess their faith and not worried about protestors or backlash.
Faith is part of culture for many of us and the freedom to speak of it is all part of it.
He told stories of history, the constitution and how hard times are moments to find ways to breach our impasses.
As they sang the unfamiliar “Montana State Song” I got a little teary.
One reason is the words to the song speak so eloquently to what makes Montana Gods gift to these United States.
But the second reason, and it’s the first time I felt this, I missed Oregon.
“The land of the empire builders land of the golden west. conquered and held by Free men fairest and the best” Yep, Oregon My Oregon, you are still in my soul. You are part of me and as I pray for the leaders and people in my new home state I won’t forget you either.
I found my soft spot for the Oregon of the past, again and it felt good.
But as I looked up the words to the Oregon State Song I learned as a boy, I found the lyrics were changed in 2021 because SOME thought the old words were racists.
Oh, Oregon my former Oregon, let it go.
Everything doesn't have to be a controversy.
“Onward and upward ever, Forward and on, and on;
Hail to thee, Land of Heroes?............, My Oregon.”