to America’s heritage, Blackwell says
By Kevin Kelley
Published May 10, 2006
candidate for Ohio governor Ken Blackwell speaks Thursday at
Church on the Rise in Westlake. (Photo By Kevin Kelley)
power of prayer can overcome any historical obstacle, Ohio Secretary
of State Ken Blackwell told a National Prayer Day gathering Thursday
Just two days after his victory over Ohio Attorney
General Jim Petro in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Blackwell
told about 175 people at Church on the Rise that America's religious
heritage can be found in the nation’s founding documents such as
the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Contrary to recent popular thought, Blackwell said,
the Founders believed the public square was an appropriate place
for the liberty of religious expression.
“The Founders understood that faith or religious expression
was the purest form of the human conscious,” Blackwell said. “The
Founders understood that the secret of America was in the freedom
of religious expression.”
As the Declaration of Independence states, human rights
are not grants from government but gifts from God, Blackwell said.
“It is very difficult to enjoy freedom if you’re dead,”
Blackwell said. “So the first obligation of government is to protect
innocent life and to provide security to communities.”
Blackwell acknowledged that America has experienced
periods of “moral incoherence,” times when “our behavior does not
match up with our promise or our ideals.” He cited slavery, Jim
Crowism, and Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing
abortion, as examples.
“And so all too often,” he said, “We’ve seen in our
country’s history that we have created a schism between our ideals
and our promise and our practice in a given moment in history.”
But the power of prayer can overcome any historical
circumstances, Blackwell said. Using a quote from Martin Luther
King Jr., Blackwell called on individuals to be thermostats rather
than thermometers, that is, to help set the cultural mores rather
than just passively reflect them.
“If you want better schools, if you want safer neighborhoods,
if you want leadership of more integrity, then you have to be engaged,”
Blackwell said, adding that he believed the most time-tested way
of being engaged is through the power of prayer.
People should look to transform the world through
prayer more than through government, Blackwell said.
“We live in a time when too many people look to government
for the works of God,” he said.
After his talk, Blackwell told reporters an investigation
would be conducted concerning the problems the Cuyahoga County Board
of Elections experienced counting votes in the May 6 primary.
“We’re going to separate fact from fiction and see
what went wrong and prescribe a fix for the future,” the secretary
of state said. “This was part of an initial total statewide rollout
(of electronic ballots), and elections are not perfect enterprises.
They’re human enterprises. And we want to actually see what went
wrong and see where the blame can be placed. And more importantly,
where we can protect against this happening again.”
Prior to Blackwell’s talk, church members offered
prayers for national, state and local leaders. Members of the U.S.
Armed Forces were also prayed for.
Church on the Rise Pastor Paul Endrei called prayer
“the greatest force on earth.”
“Prayer leads to righteousness and righteousness can
exalt a nation,” he said, introductory remarks.
The pastor had strong words of support for Westlake
Mayor Dennis Clough, who was investigated by the sheriff's office
following revelations that five of his relatives work at a wastewater
treatment plant on whose board of trustees Clough sits.
“I just thank God for our great mayor here in the
city who has made a difference for over 20 years,” said Endrei,
who called Clough a personal friend.
“I don’t think anyone could be in politics .... or
be able to do their job, or as we say God’s work on this earth without
Him by our side,” Clough said in brief remarks.
“This nation, this country, this city recognizes that
God and government are not separate, and they should not be separate,”
the mayor said.