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Faith Can Be Public

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.”

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Mar 22, 2023

After re-reading this post, I am thinking more about racism. Rick writes, “some” think the words racist. And, ‘let it go.’ At Oregon’s beginnings we were a racist state. Black exclusion laws. Asians shunned. (A Japanese man I knew told of his family being denied food and lodging in various parts of the state in the 1950’s.

If ‘let it go‘ means ‘forget’ this ugly past, that would be , to me, revisionist history and a bad idea. The Oregon Senate voted -bi-partisan, to change the words. This coming together is a good thing, maybe.


Mar 21, 2023

I agree that leaders and all of us should be able to profess their faith. But a leader’s faith should not become law or control the rest of the people. That is the Constitutional protection. Rick, would you be as supportive of a leader who professes atheism? I hope so. Or one who is Muslim? I hope so. in 1996 the promise keepers rented U of O facility and met with non violent protest. Partly because they were viewed as subordinating wives/women (maybe not the case) and they had chosen to align themselves with far right politicians. My friend who attended loved the experience and not feel he faced scorn. what I am very worried about is the Jews an…


Wayne Gilbert
Wayne Gilbert
Mar 20, 2023

The facts are that if the Democrats weren't wholeheartedly willing to embrace the vaccination, we'd would have perhaps millions of more dead Americans.

I give kudos to Trump for (finally) fast-tracking the vaccination and even more kudos for Biden for tenaciously following through.

There is no doubt in my mind that without the Covid vaccination, the world would still be in the midst of the Covid Pandemic that would still be wreaking havoc.

Many of you Republicans are confusing freedom with what science dictates (i.e. polio vaccination). So my message to all hesitant Republicans is to stop trying to "own the libs" and just get the vaccination/boosters.


Greger Ewert
Greger Ewert
Mar 20, 2023

We miss you down here. This was very good. Keep up the good work.


I long for and pray hard for the day when Oregon becomes a state that once again embraces faith and freedom as a public and private way of life. I pray for our leaders, especially those in leadership who do operate in and with and by their faith, in spite of those who would wish it otherwise. I will quite possibly go to my grave still praying for a red rather than a blue state here, but I do definitely know the God of Miracles and believe He will come through for us, on His own timeline. Apparently there are still those who need lessons...

Replying to

Wayne; If you really are serious about the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence, the early Congress and their intentions for, "separation of church and state", you might turn to their letters and early presidential proclamations of prayer. Some are found in the Library of Congress while others are preserved by independent foundations under the Founders and early Presidents names. Original Intent by Barton is a good read as well as Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, the writings of John Quincy Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Benjamin Rush, George Washington, Robert Morris and of course the The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton. Modern society has politically warped the Founders intent to fit the anti-religion agenda of…

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