Moore attends ‘God and Country’ event in Dora

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/1/17

DORA — A God and Country event at Bryan Baptist Church south of Dora, featuring enthusiastic support from U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, took place Thursday night without any incidents.

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Moore attends ‘God and Country’ event in Dora

Posted

DORA — A God and Country event at Bryan Baptist Church south of Dora, featuring enthusiastic support from U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, took place Thursday night without any incidents.

Church officials had warned repeatedly that the event was not a political rally. However, a large contingent from media attended, making up part of the estimated 200 people who filled the church’s 300-seat gym. Jeremy Ragland, the pastor of the church, thanked the media at the end for respecting the wishes of the church.

Media were kept at a distance from the church before and after the event, and were warned not to interview church members. No opportunities were given to question Moore, who was only seen in the gym and given standing ovations at the beginning and the end.

Afterward, Ragland said he had been warned by a friend that anti-Moore protesters might show up for the event. Before the event, he saw some people who he wondered might turn out to be protesters, but they left before the event started.

While men were seen standing throughout the event in plainclothes, local constables were about the only uniformed officers seen at the event.

The largest snag of the evening might have been the schedule, as it was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. It started about 15 minutes late and lasted to about 9 p.m., at which point a half dozen pastors were asked to “pray over” Moore for protection — although for security reasons, the ministers were asked to remain at their seats while Moore remained at his at the head of the gym. After that, the media was asked to leave the building before Moore could be seen leaving.

Television cameras inside the event were also limited, as CBS pooled the television feed, although many cameras and TV trucks were parked outside the church, with the Associated Press and networks mingling with Birmingham TV station representatives. Still photographers were also allowed inside.

Unlike some recent Moore church appearances this week, which included one incident where late night entertainer Jimmy Kimmel had an entertainer portray a Moore supporter until he was escorted away, the event contained few direct political fireworks. Instead, the revival-like event was held mostly as a Christian-themed God and Country event — although themes important to Christian voters, such as abortion and the proliferation of gay rights, were mentioned in context. Greg Locke, a Mt. Juliet, Tenn., pastor known for speaking against groups such as Planned Parenthood, opened with a sermon that emphasized the need to stand for God against the establishment by preaching from Daniel 3, using the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were thrown into the furnace for not bowing down to a king’s image.

He also noted many in the church are also to be blamed for problems in society today as they fail to pray, fast or vote, noting, “There is not a problem in America that Bible preaching can’t fix.” He also noted that many adults, like children, deal with peer pressure, which is why he feels it is important for people of faith to “stand for the truth.” 

Moore himself, like in many church appearances in the past, used his time to make a stand that the Founding Fathers looked to God and that their principles came from God. He quoted long passages without notes from sources like Samuel Adams, the Bible, Blackstone’s Commentaries and even lyrics from an 18th Century song.

His only discussion of Democratic opponent Doug Jones, without mentioning his name, was to say “my opponent” had been asked in a recent interview how he could reassure voters he would not take away religious freedom, guns or culture. He said Jones’ reply was that he didn’t know that he could and that actions speak louder than words.

“When you talk about their culture, I don’t know what you mean by that,” he quoted Jones as saying. He said if that meant discriminating against people, putting down someone, not treating anyone in the same way Christ would do, he would not do that. “I’m not going to protect any discrimination of any sort in any way, whether it is race, religion, sex orientation or whatever,” he said.

“Let me translate that,” Moore said, with the audience responding favorably in Christian responses. “If your Christian culture does not accept abortion, same sex marriage, sodomy, transgender rights in school bathrooms (and) in the military, then your discriminatory and you will not be protected, nor will your rights to keep and bear arms be preserved.” 

He did not address allegations concerning his relations with teenage girls that have become the flashpoint of the campaign.

Ragland told the crowd that he would not tell them who to vote for in the election, but that they needed to vote for those with Christian principles.

“Why do we have men on the front lines like Judge Moore and other people? Because they are putting their action to their stand,” he said.

Ragland, acknowledging criticism had been leveled at the event, said that he had reconsidered holding the event, “not because of actions, but because of people saying things and doing things and all that.” His own 14-year-old son said he was nervous about what could happen to his father and had suggested he could cancel the event.

“I thought to mysel, ‘Am I going to be a dad who runs at the first chance of opposition? Am I going to be a dad who shows it is OK to retreat when somebody attacks?’” Ragland said, adding he decided he would instead stand strong in the face of opposition.

An offering was held to cover the costs of the event.