(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) “America is at a crossroads tonight,” said DR Harrison, an evangelical preacher from Kingsport, Tenn., during the opening night of the North Carolina Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Salt & Light conference.
“… America needs a good, old-fashioned, Heaven-sent, Hell-forsaken revival,” who overcame addictions to drugs, alcohol and pornography during a 2016 epiphany and went on with support from his wife, Laura, a former stripper who also found salvation, to lead the Voice of Hope ministry.
The list of speakers for the two-day event, set up in “TED Talk” format with 15-minute intervals, made it hard to select just a few highlights, although the marquee names on Friday were Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., now a Sunday night Fox News host.
Yet, each speaker brought a unique energy—all of them with a spiritually focused message that the way to overcome some of the bleakest days in America’s history meant each person stepping forward to do his or her part.
“God’s not looking for sissy Christians,” said Harrison, one of the more colorful speakers, while recalling past inflection points where Biblical persecution called to mind contemporary attacks on values-oriented conservatives. “…We are fighting the very demons of Hell in the day and hour that we’re living again, but I am looking for a gap-filler to stand in the gaze of Jesus Christ.”
The link between politics and spirituality was apparent throughout.
“Romans, chapter 13, says it’s high time to wake out of our sleep,” noted N.C. Faith and Freedom Executive Director Jason Williams. “… We are past the point where we can just mail it in and be content and not fight for our country.”
Pastor Bobby Stewart, founder of Faith for America, likened the modern-day persecutions to the Philistines’ occupation of Israel, when they would refuse to sharpen the swords of the Israelites but instead dulled their weapons.
“Does this verse sound familiar to anybody,” he asked. “… If we don’t defeat the enemy where they are, the next thing the enemy is going to do is come to our town,” he said.
Among the clearest liaisons between the parallel values of faith and freedom—religion and politics—was the night’s first speaker, Mark Harris, the senior pastor or Trinity Baptist Church in Mooresville, N.C. and a former GOP candidate for the House.
During the 2018 election, Harris notably won his race for the state’s 9th Congressional District, only to have the state Board of Elections refuse to certify it at the last minute under suspicious circumstances, citing ballot harvesting in two rural counties.
As high-powered Democrat lawyers, led by Steele Dossier architect Marc Elias, converged on Raleigh, Harris, citing health concerns, withdrew from the race. He was replaced by then state Sen. Dan Bishop, who ultimately prevailed.
“There’s barely a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about the injustices that happened,” Harris said. “Really and truly, I was honestly and duly elected to the Congress of the United States.”
But instead of wallowing in despair, he recalled the blessings of his two-year campaign journey, including a rally in Charlotte with then-President Donald Trump, durin which he was able to take a 45 minute ride in the president’s famous limo, The Beast.
“God has convinced me that you can’t live in the past glory,” he said. “Living life is about living in the present and the future.”
With that in mind, Harris, like the other speakers, called on everyone to focus on the challenges at hand.
“We are under attack in this nation, and we are under attack by something called cultural Marxism,” he said.
Boebert said that just like America’s Founding Fathers were born with a purpose, so are those of us appearing to witness what many consider to be its decline.
“It’s not an accident that you are alive in this time,” she told the audience.
The Founding Fathers “were created for that time,” she continued. “Their faith had corresponding action—and that’s what our faith requires.”
The mother of four and small-business owner in Rifle, Colo., said her call to serve in the House was an unlikely one given her background.
“People told me you can’t even win for dog catcher, but I went on to win and defeat a five-term Republican incumbent,” she said. “I am a professional RINO hunter.”
Even after that victory, though, she said it was her sense of duty rather than her ego that was driving her to carry on in the face of stunning attacks from leftist like Nancy Pelosi (who Boebert said was even worse in person).
“If I felt this was hopeless and this was all over, I would go home,” she said. “I have four boys, ages 10 to 17, and I miss my goats.”
Gowdy, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying his retirement from public office, lacing his speech with a lighthearted humor only seen in small glimpses during his time as chair of the House Oversight Committee for major probes including the Benghazi and Russia-collusion investigations.
Those familiar mainly with his Fox show might be even more surprised to see his wit onstage, dropping one-liners that included roasts of some former Republican colleagues.
Although he was less than reverent of Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the two GOP senators from his home state, Gowdy expressed a much deeper respect for Sen. Tim Scott, whose family went in three generations from having a grandfather who picked cotton to the upper chamber of Congress.
He said he and Scott regularly carved out time to meet for dinner on Capitol Hill and would discuss how both of them had family patriarchs who made a point of reading the newspaper at the breakfast table to promote the importance of education.
“‘The difference, Trey, was your dad was a doctor,'” Gowdy recalled Scott telling him. “‘My grandfather could not read. My grandfather faked it because he didn’t want his grandson to think that picking cotton was the highest and best use of his life.”
Gowdy reiterated the night’s common theme that all Christian lives should be imbued with a similar sense of purpose and willingness to sacrifice for a higher purpose.
He recounted the story of Arlen Williams, a passenger aboard Air Florida Flight 90, which crashed into the freezing Potomac River in January 1982, killing 74 people including Williams, whowas one of only six people to initially survive the crash but helped the other five make it to safety.
“He had life either within his grasp or within his reach, and every time he passed it to a stranger,” Gowdy noted.
He added that he wasn’t calling on audience members all to make such selfless sacrifices, nor to heed the call to public service like he did, but each to contribute in their own way.
“You don’t have to be famous and be a title holder,” he said. “I’m asking you to find something worth living for.”
Saturday’s full-day session was set to include more big names, among them: Congressman and current U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd, R-N.C.; current North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson; Fox News host Pete Hegseth; Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe; and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder.
Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at truthsocial.com/@bensellers.