Opinion

Preachers, politicians and maybe the truth | Walter Backstrom

I attended the Pray for Washington rally a couple of weeks ago.

The rally was in Olympia, which made me somewhat skeptical. The rally was hosted by Pastor Casey Treat of the Christian Faith Center as well as other prominent pastors in Puget Sound.

When I arrived in Olympia, I had to park one mile away because of the crowds. I must confess I was a little miffed, but no sacrifice is too great for my readers.

I approached the podium, and there were several security guards. They were dressed in black and had dark sunglasses, just like in the movies. I looked over the crowd of about 1,000 and saw blacks, bikers, whites, Hispanics, etc. I even saw a couple of Mormons. You could tell because they were the only ones neatly dressed in suits. They were young, plus they told me they were on a mission. I met some of the usual suspects, namely politicians: State Rep. Mark Miloscia from Federal Way, Kirk Pearson from Snohomish County, and Brian Sonntag, who is the state auditor, just to name a few. The band started to play some "up with Jesus" music. People began to move side by side and say "Thank you Jesus." I knew then that things would begin to heat up.

Pastor Treat jumped on stage with his wife, Wendy, and said a few words of thanks before introducing Gov. Christine Gregoire.

She started by saying the obligatory thank-yous, and how much she appreciated everyone being there. She then threw her prepared text on the ground and "got busy." That act alone piqued my interest. She launched into a sermon, much to my surprise. I closed my eyes so I could really focus on what she was saying, much like you do with black preachers — a certain cadence occurs. There was a time during her sermon that she almost sounded like an old-time preacher. She mentioned Jesus, and had people swaying back and forth, praying out loud. It seemed to me that the governor was getting in a groove.

I must confess, she almost had me wanting to put on my "What Would Jesus Do" T-shirt — until I remembered.

I remembered that this was the same governor who, during Christmastime, sided with the atheists. When the issue arose whether Christians could have their own nativity scene with Joseph, Mary and Jesus, the atheists complained. And the governor caved in to their demands. She allowed the display of their hate-filled plaque, mocking Jesus and believers. At the end of that performance, I came away convinced more than ever that politicians will say and do anything to appease the crowd. I am not trying to judge because that is above my pay grade. I'll let the guy upstairs do that. However, the irony is not lost on this writer.

With my job done, I left the rally and headed home, driving north on I-5, alone with my thoughts, wondering why it seemed so much easier to believe when you were young. You could pray to God and, magically, a parking stall would appear at the mall. Or that girl you liked in school started to like you. It just seemed the older you got, the longer it took for God to answer your prayers, if at all. We often see so much wrong in this world that we forget to see what's right in this world. I remembered my father's words, which kept ringing in my ears. He said "Son, it is never about the messenger, but it is always about the message." No excuses.

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