Ian Patrick, FISM News
The current political climate, as divisive as it is, is more about “a spiritual battle” rather than a war over policies, according to Congressman Mark Walker. FISM News sat down with the former pastor and representative for North Carolina who is currently running for the United States Senate to chat about why he is running for office and how he keeps his faith and spiritual beliefs intact while in Washington.
FISM: In your CPAC speech you said “the battle for freedom is as much a spiritual fight as it is political.” Can you explain how you see this spiritual battle playing itself out in Congress and in America in general?
WALKER: I just finished serving 6 years in the U.S. House, served as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, as well as vice chair of our entire conference, so really got a chance to mix into the legislative side. And the more that I looked at this, the more I had a chance to be there, and it was a privilege also to be the co-chair of the Prayer Caucus. We began to talk about these issues, that really what we’re seeing in our generation is a spiritual battle much more than a political one. What I mean by that is 60 or 70 years ago there were no social issues that were involved in the political arena. It was all basically, well, Republicans think you should appropriate this much funding and Democrats are over here. But now when we’ve seen the decimation of the family – when we’ve seen literally votes on the House floor that are against sustaining the life of a baby who somehow survives, miraculously survives a botched abortion – when you have working, intentionality working against that to break down God’s laws rather than man’s laws that is spiritual warfare and I call that evil more than I do just political discourse.
FISM: Certainly, and while we’re on the topic of spirituality actually, you entered politics itself after serving as a pastor for over a decade. What made you make this transition from a pastorship to a political campaign or a political career? And how has you relationship with Christ informed your politics and your approach to the political arena, as you were just alluding to a second ago?
WALKER: That’s such a great question. People have asked me sometimes “did you take you faith to D.C.?” Well, if it’s really your faith you take it everywhere you go. I’m still married when I go to Washington, so I don’t really understand the question there sometimes when asked by the secular arena. But yeah I think, it wasn’t but a few weeks after I arrived there – and I’ve always appreciated people saying “hey, we’re praying for you pastor” – but I knew I was going to be counting on those prayers more than ever because of this spiritual arena. Because of the warfare that we talked about. Because you cannot survive a place, in my opinion, like D.C. based on your own intellect or based on instincts. I felt like my relationship would have to grow, even being a pastor for 16 years, even being the oldest of three boys in a Baptist pastor’s home, because of the daily bombardment of what we were seeing from the left but also what we feel like is ultimately a battle created by the enemy. And I felt like my job from prayer and fasting on a weekly basis was to make sure that I was ready to go spiritually as much as I was politically.
FISM: Absolutely, it sounds like you have to have an extended reliance on Christ in that sort of arena just to keep that spirituality intact. Would you say that’s correct?
WALKER: I would say that’s correct. All of us, you know, people handle adversity, people have their, you know… You think about Matthew 16:24 where it talks about being a disciple of Christ: you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. That adversity sometimes comes in different ways, but ultimately we’re working towards Ephesians 3:20 that God wants to do something exceedingly more in our lives than we can hope or imagine, and to remove the parameters or margins that we place on Him sometimes. Look, I’m just an ordinary guy that God provided some extraordinary opportunities, and I know where my hope and strength is derivative.
FISM: Amen. I want to go back to your CPAC speech for just a minute.
FISM: Also in your speech, I have a quote here that says, “In America, we have turned our backs on the Bible and the Constitution, and we’ve lost our moral compass. But today don’t lose hope.” Now, in your view, is there hope that America can go back to being “one nation under God?” What does that look like in a postmodern era? Can you enlighten us on that?
WALKER: Oh wow, that’s a college course right there… The first part of the question, I do believe that, that we have lost our moral compass because in many of our academia world we mock the Bible and we question the Constitution. We’re the longest lasting republic in the history of the world. We’ve been blessed, we’ve sent more missionaries than any country that’s ever existed to bring healing and the hope in the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do I think we can get back? Yes, I hope that we can get back without being broken. From a personal standpoint, sometimes God has to allow things in our lives because He loves us enough that He wants to have that fellowship with us. I hope as a country that we are able to see this thing for what it is. To see the socialism – the movement, the rise of big government – I hope that we are willing to look at these other examples throughout history to say that “this is a slippery slope.” The founding fathers were genius in setting up the checks and balances from the people rather than monarchs, or dictators, or the federal government or even the state government. I hope that we can see that. I’m meeting people across the state of North Carolina, as I travel running for the U.S. Senate, that believe so that are engaging for the very first time.
FISM: And as a legislator, what can you and presumably other GOP members do in Washington to help get us back to “the Bible and the Constitution?” Is there anything maybe specifically for your platform, or just in general for other legislators and other Congressmen, that they can do to achieve that goal?
WALKER: Absolutely, I’ll answer it in two parts. Mike Pence once said, “when you’re in the majority you legislate, when you’re in the minority you communicate.” And all members that hold these values, that talk about the Judeo-Christian principles, ought to be jumping up and down right now. Obviously, you don’t have the chairmanships or you don’t have the majority in the House or in the Senate, and certainly in the administration, but it doesn’t mean that we sit on our hands and rest on our laurels and just wait for our turn. We have to be intentional with that. When we are in the majority, I think the number one thing we take on is education. The indoctrination that has happened for the last generation that is antithetical to our Judeo-Christian principles, that is an anti-God of secularism, that man is God, I think you have to target that. The way you target that through legislation is that you strip away any federal bureaucratic decision-making, return all the power of those decisions back to the local communities, back to the state-elected officers where they can implement the kind of education programs that we’ve seen. We saw this in Virginia with Glenn Youngkin, sometimes the left actually says what they’re thinking out loud that “parents shouldn’t have any involvement with their children’s education.” If we can win back the classroom we have a chance to fundamentally begin to turn this country back in the direction where it needs to go.
FISM: Absolutely, I could not agree more with you on that. I know here at FISM we have been harping on, or at least covering, everything that’s been going on with the school boards and classrooms all across the nation and the insanity of the progressive agenda that is being pushed in the schools. I believe we have phrased it here at least as the new, if not the main battleground now between the conservative and liberal push. That goes into the next question I want to ask you: the political divide has become larger than ever, as is evidenced by the school boards. People are seeing these progressive policies and are starting to push back and it’s creating a divide in there and in the nation in general. How can Christians in politics and nationwide stand strong for their beliefs, stand strong in Christ, and still “love their neighbor?”
WALKER: I think the first thing is to be informed. You know, you study to show yourself that you’re equipped. It’s not just enough to read off some website or something. Make sure that you’re able to articulate the values of the position that we believe because the media, the left they’re looking for one slip up to come after you when it comes to credibility. The other thing is God’s given us the example of being able, of being willing to pray and making that a part of our daily lives. That’s not just a cliché line, we have to pray for the leaders to make sure that good discernment is made and that God is raising up the right people. I think those two things are immediate actions together that we can take as a body of believers. And I would say this: loving you neighbors and standing up for truth, that’s not mutually exclusive. Yes, we’re called to love our neighbor but a huge aspect of loving your neighbor is being honest. I think of Jesus and the woman at the well: He met her physical needs first but He still told her “Hey…”
[FISM lost his phone signal after this sentence and regained connection]
FISM: I have one more question for you Congressman: I mentioned this in the beginning, but you are running for Senate without Trump’s endorsement, and you have said that you answer to a higher power. In your opinion, how important is Trump’s endorsement as a Republican candidate, and what differentiates you as a candidate from those you are running against?
WALKER: Thanks, that’s a fair question. I think his endorsement is very important, but I chose to go a different route in the sense that I am listed, I am ranked as the number one America first pro-Trump policy candidate but I didn’t get involved in the D.C. super-PAC special interest alliances, and that’s not to throw too much shade. I’ve had a chance to be in the Oval Office and literally share the gospel of Jesus Christ with President Trump and talk about the atonement and what separates Christianity from other world religions. But in the D.C. circles there are constant inside politics that are working on, so an individual was able to work out this endorsement on behalf of another opponent even though we do have a higher score card. I have nothing bad to say about the former President. I enjoyed working with him. I led the House, the entire U.S. House, in repealing the Obamacare mandates as well as defunding Planned Parenthood. I stand on the record, but I also want to make sure – and you included this in part of your question – that my walk with the Lord is the most important thing in my life and God never calls us anywhere that we’re exempt from being a light for Christ. We’re going to stay true to that, and trust the Lord that even though we’re considering that we don’t have the millions of dollars – in fact I’ll add this: I had just been sworn in January of 2015, the following week my chief of staff brings in an article and he says “Boss, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you just got ranked the least wealthy member of the 114th Class.” And I looked at him and I said, “Well, you know it’s a God thing then!” We’ve continued to operate with that mindset. We’re going to be faithful to where we feel like He’s calling and He’s leading us and we’ll let the political arena make its own decisions.
FISM: Okay and just to double back on I previous question I asked because we lost you at the end, if you’re able to remember and if not you can answer again: what is something that Christians in politics and nationwide can do to stand strong for their beliefs and still love their neighbor, if you don’t mind just repeating your answer?
WALKER: Yeah, I was talking about be informed, make sure that you’re staying in prayer. That’s not cliché. Then, you know, as I talked about Jesus’ model at the woman at the well: He met her physical needs, giving her water, but He also told her the truth that “the dude you’re with now ain’t your husband either.” And I think sometimes we want to shy away, but we need to be bold in the marketplace. We talked about whether that’s mutually exclusive or not, no you can still love your neighbor and you can share the truth, ultimately the message in Jesus Christ, but also how that impacts us in the political marketplace.