“There is hope for America,” the Rev. Kenny Davis, pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in Berea, said as he addressed a crowd of more than 200 at noon Thursday in front of the Madison County Courthouse.
However, that hope will not come from “the White House, the statehouse or even this courthouse,” he told those gathered for the annual National Day of Prayer service.
“American cannot survive if we continue to demonize godliness,” Davis said, adding that professional football player Tim Tebow is “ridiculed” for knelling in prayer on the ball field while a professional basketball player recently drew praise for announcing his homosexuality.
Although children cannot obtain an aspirin at school without their parents’ permission, Davis said, “A 15-year-old girl can go into any pharmacy and get a pill that will kill a baby.”
God may be a God of grace and mercy, Davis said, but also a God of judgment.
“There is hope for America,” he said, “if we will repent, turn from our wicked ways and exalt righteousness. But, there will be no hope for America if we continue to disrespect God and kick him out of every public place.”
Quoting President Thomas Jefferson, Davis said, “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just.”
He invited elected officials in the crowd to stand in front of the podium, citing the Biblical command for Christians “to pray for all those in authority over us.”
He told the crowd to pray for all elected officials, even for those with whom they may not agree.
State Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, then offered a prayer as the elected officials joined the crowd in bowing their heads.
“It is OK,” Shell lamented, “for an athlete to come out of the closet. But, if an athlete is a Christian, he is forced into one.”
He called on Christians to “rise up out of the pews and pulpits to get involved in government and politics.”
The Rev. Mitch Brown, Richmond Police Department chaplain and pastor of the Pleasant Run Baptist Church, began his prayer for local school districts and units of governments by saying, “We humble ourselves in the presence of a holy God.”
He asked that teachers and public employees be granted strength and wisdom as they fulfill their duties.
The Rev. Greg Lakes, pastor of the Pilot Knob Baptist Church, offered a prayer for “revival in our churches” as members of the clergy present were called to stand before the podium.
Lakes prayed that the National Day of Prayer would not be a one-day thing.
He urged Americans to return to family values and encouraged parents to bring up their children in accordance with Biblical teachings.
He also prayed that judges would “uphold the law and not try to make the law” and that the news media would report on “the good, the noble and the true” as well as “hard news.”
Between prayer sessions, Wayne and Pam Combs sang. At the end of the service, they led the crowd in “Amazing Grace.”
Davis closed the service by telling the crowd that America was “truly founded as a Christian nation” although “revisionists would like to write that out of our history books.”
Quoting Patrick Henry, he said, “Bad men cannot make good citizens,” and “A state of debauched morals” will not foster a “state of freedom.”
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6690.