Home / News / Georgia pastor runs for Congress, claiming to be 'one of the first openly Christian candidates on the political landscape in some time'
Georgia pastor runs for Congress, claiming to be 'one of the first openly Christian candidates on the political landscape in some time'

Georgia pastor runs for Congress, claiming to be 'one of the first openly Christian candidates on the political landscape in some time'

Chris VaughnAccording to his press release, Pastor J. Chris Vaughn is "one of the first openly Christian candidates on the political landscape in some time."  This is a remarkable statement, given all of the "faith talk" in politics these days.  Just a few days ago, for instance, Newt Gingrich, who is constantly touting his Christian values, won his home state of Georgia in the GOP presidential primary.

Vaughn, a Republican who is seeking Georgia's Fourth Congressional District seat, is the Lead Pastor of Grace Summit Church, an interdenominational, interracial church in McDonough, Georgia.  His campaign claims,

At this time of unprecedented attacks against the Judeo-Christian foundation of our Republic, Rev. J. Chris Vaughn has stepped forward to make the values of our heritage shine again in the halls of Congress. Committed to honoring people with the values of integrity, respect, and honor, Rev. Vaughn makes it his covenant with the Fourth District to represent the District, and to communicate honestly concerning the issues that affect every voter locally, and nationally.

 

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
  • Sheldon

    There they go again:

    "At this time of unprecedented attacks against the Judeo-Christian foundation of our Republic"… "and to communicate honestly concerning the issues that affect every voter".

    They are the attackers. They attack women's rights with gusto and lie about the "foundations" of America. How in the world can you have an honest dialogue when your platform, before you have even said a single word, is based on outright lies?

    Further, it's obvious the Reverend is making his bid for the marriage of church and state… just sayin'

    • Chris Vaughn

      Sheldon,

      Your experience must be different from mine, and your knowledge. In your post I'm lumped as an attacker, against women's rights, and I lie about the foundations of America. Let me ask this, "How can you have a dialogue about my platform, when it's evident you don't know it?"

      For you to make the assumption that I bid for the marriage of church and state displays ignorance, because I do not!

      One of the foundations of our Republic is the ability for freedom of conscience and the exercise of religious freedom – whatever that is deemed by the individual or group – not a mandated religion or prohibition of religion.

      Peace,

      Chris Vaughn
      http://www.chrisvaughn.net

      • Sheldon

        Mandated religion is exactly what the religious right is looking toward. Look at the bills being brought forth. Religious freedom does not give one the right to create legislation that will effectively subjugate a population to biblical laws, especially when a large segment of that population doesn't believe in your religion or your bible.

        Re: your comment to Deborah: Not separating your religious convictions from your politics is exactly what I was talking about and answers your own question as to what I know about your platform. This is what many people, at least on this site, are not in favour of. 

        You euphemistically say your convictions will guide you… you are a Pastor. I suggest your faith will do more than guide your political decisions since you have chosen religion as the overarching priority of your life. The ignorance is yours for assuming that everyone would not understand that as integral to the marriage of church and state.  

  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    I wonder where he gets that he is the first openly Christian to run?  "Openly Xian", that doesn't even sound right, esp given that so many Xians are open about their beliefs, including and esp the GOP candidates of late.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jchrisvaughn Chris Vaughn

      Mriana,

      I get that I'm "one of the first openly Christian candidates on the political landscape in some time" due to this.

      Being a Pastor, there is no way to separate the conversation that my Christian foundations will guide decisions and votes that I make. (In fact in my district, I tell people if that is not what you desire in a candidate – don't vote for me, for I won't lie to make you happy.)

      This fact might as well be place completely on the table… so there it is.

      I live my life to a specific set of values: love, grace, truth, honor, and tolerance.

      The current holder of the 4th district consistently votes outside the voters desires of the 4th district, which neither serves the district nor the voters.

      Also, as it pertains to the quote above, it is more specific to my candidacy for Congress in the 4th district.

      Chris Vaughn
      http://www.chrisvaughn.net

      PS: Live Long & Prosper! (Trek Fan too!)

      • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

        Well, Mr. Vaughn, please do us all a favour and follow the constitution by keeping your religion out of our government.  Our forefathers wanted Separation of Church and State, not a Theocracy.  Thank you.  That said, I don't think you are the first openly Xian to run in our politics.  Look at Santorum, Romney, on the others.  This country was not founded on Xianity nor was it ever a Xian nation. Please read the Constitution and the Treaty of Tripoli, as well as your history.  Thanks again.

        • ChrisVaughn

          Mriana,

          Your post makes me chuckle… I'll let James Madison (founder of the US Constitution) define what he desired for our Nation:

          "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the
          power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of
          our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of
          self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern
          ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the
          Ten Commandments of God." ~James Madison

          As to whether or not our Nation was established upon Christian principles, I'll let Daniel Webster speak,

          “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go
          on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its
          instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may
          overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”
          ~ Daniel Webster

          Or George Washington:

          "Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge
          the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful
          for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor"

          Mriana, you may be right, but I'll take the word of the Founders as to what platform this Country is founded upon.

          Thanks again,

          Chris

          PS: I've never had anyone able to do this specifically, but maybe you could please point out in the Constitution where you, or I, are required to keep yours, or my, religion out of government? You definitely can't do it in the Declaration…

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Right.  None of those statements claim that our nation was founded on Xianity.  If you read the Treaty of Tripoli, it blatantly states that this nation is not and never was a Xian Nation.  No where in the Constitution does it mention religion.  However it does mention in the first Amendment that Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion.  Again, our government was never a Theocracy.  In fact, many of our ancestors (I am a decent of Pilgrims and even have ancestors in the Revolutionary War) were escaping religious persecution. You see, Britain, rule with religion and most people had to be whatever religion the King (or Queen) was.  They don't call it the Church of England for nothing, but if you wish, I'm sure the Anglican Communion could arrange and have the Queen assign bishops to our Congress.

            http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

            It is essentially "Separation of Church and State", which Thomas Jefferson wanted a wall between the two http://www.usconstitution.net/jeffwall.html

            • ChrisVaughn

              You make my point entirely: the Constitution prohibits the creation of a federal religion (such as the Church of England) but doesn't discriminate against the exercise of religion. Although I do believe that the First Amendment is trampled on in the latter parts today. That ought not be.

              While you may disagree, I believe that American is a Christian nation in its values (Good Samaritan laws, the golden rule, the ten commandments, all of which promote civil behavior) of behavior – but not theology. That incorporation of public policy to promote behavior that is beneficial to all, but doesn't enforce theological requirements.

              If you assume I want a theocratic form of government, you are wrong…

              • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                The 10 Commandments are not part of our government, not even our Constitution.  As for the Golden Rule, that applies to just about any religion or philosophy.  It is not exclusive to Xianity.  The 10 Commandments hardly promote civil behaviour and likewise, Xianity does not have a corner on morality.  There are many other religion and philosophies that have their own set of values, which are just as viable, if not more so, than Xianity's.  A Buddhist could do just as well if not better.  In fact, Gandhi, a Hindu, even said that he like Christ, but not Xians, adding that they are so unlike Christ.

                Well, I'm glad to hear you don't want a Theocracy, but your statement of being "one of the first openly Christian candidates" communicates otherwise.

                • ChrisVaughn

                   I said I was quitting but I have to post this. You said:

                  "The 10 Commandments hardly promote civil behaviour and likewise, Xianity does not have a corner on morality."

                  I don't disagree that Christianity doesn't have a corner on morality, how you can say the 10 Commandments hardly promotes civil behaviour?

                  I'll quote an old jail saying, "there are 10,000+ laws that can send you jail, and 10 commandments that if followed will keep you out."

                  As to the Press Release, its getting the desired effect… press. I definitely don't want to run as a Pastor – I know to many that I don't respect their actions… ;-)

                  Peace!

                • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                  I can give an example on how the 10 Commandments do not promote morality.  The 10 Command, categorizes women as property.  That's only for starters and if one were to live by them, women would be property.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Here is a link to the Treaty of Tripoli signed in 1796:  
            http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/bar1796t.asp  Please pay close attention to Article 11

            • ChrisVaughn

              Article 11 is specifically designed to avert a "holy war" against Muslim nations and to distinguish us from European countries who at one time were at war with Muslim nations based upon religion.

              What I do find strange is how people quote the Treaty of Tripoli as the stated separation of religion and government in America, while ignoring the Declaration of Independence which specifically speaks of a Creator four times.

              People see what they want to see… me too; but that is the benefit of our precious founding documents; I have that right! As long as my rights don't trample the rights of others I should be protected.

              Very close to the Prime Directive…

              Been a good discussion!

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            I give you more evidence concerning a couple of our founders with the 1818 letter to Mordecai Noah:
            http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/loc/madison.html  here is a picture of it:  http://familypedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:1818_letter_Jefferson_to_Mordecai_Noah.jpg

            "Thomas Jefferson wrote of the "remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance, inherent in every sect, disclaimed by all while feeble, and practised by all when in power. Our laws have applied the only antidote to this vice, protecting our religious as they do our civil rights by putting all on equal footing" (1818 letter to Mordecai Noah). "

            Might I suggest more research?

          • Sheldon

            No such quote has ever been found among James Madison's writings. No doubt, this is something you got from David Barton's book.

            Although idealogical bias and political pressure can sometimes see names being added to the list of the "Founding Fathers", Webster is not among the 10 names that have stood the test of time.

            The quote attributed to Washington was part of his Thanksgiving proclamation given in the city of New York, October 3, 1789.It is established that the handwriting was that of William Jackson and the resolution for the proclamation was introduced by Elias Boudinot so as to request of the president to proclaim a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Elias Boudinot would later author "The Age of Revelation" in response to Paine's "The Age of Reason".

            The resolution was led by a half dozen or so sitting senators.If you read the proclamation, you will find no reference to Jesus or Christ or Christianity in it. In fact, it is considered by many that Washington spent his entire political career eliminating references to Jesus from documents he was involved with.

          • Sheldon

            Here is something that actually is attributed to James Madison.

            Because experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

            -James Madison

            "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" – 1785

      • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

        Also, please see the history of our money and our pledge.  It didn't always refer to God.

        • ChrisVaughn

          While that is true, I'll look at the Founders comments first to see the direction they desired for the basis of our Government.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Their comments did not signify that they wanted to incorporate Xianity into our government. They wanted to keep the two separate, including and esp Thomas Jefferson.

            • ChrisVaughn

              "No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion. Nor can
              be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to
              man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the
              sanction of my example."
              ~Thomas Jefferson

              • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                Somehow, given what I've studied about Jefferson, that is about as viable as an atheist converting on his/her death bed.  Could you please state your source?

                • Sheldon

                  He cannot cite a source. The quote is based on a third hand account. Rev. Ethan Allen was told a story by a Mr. Ingle, who claimed…

                  The story is not confirmed by any reference in Mr. Jefferson's papers or any other source.

                • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                  That's what I figured.  It would seem you and I can cite more sources, concerning our statements, then he can concerning his pseudo-history.  I doubt that he comprehends the "history" he learned was created by the Religious Reich, to make Xianity the law of the land, and it is not actual history.

                • Sheldon

                  It would seem so Mriana. I think he found his so-called references in the Barton book, "Myth of Separation". It is Barton's effort to revise history to suit his religious agenda by putting words into the mouths of the nation's founders. Disingenuous of a Christian extolling truth and honesty, don't you think?

                • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

                  It wouldn't be the first time a Xian was disingenuous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jchrisvaughn Chris Vaughn

    Deborah,

    While I posted this also as a reply to Mriana, I thought I should post it also as a New Comment specifically to the aricticle:

    I get that I'm "one of the first openly Christian candidates on the political landscape in some time" due to this.

    Being a Pastor, there is no way to separate the conversation that my
    Christian foundations will guide decisions and votes that I make. (In
    fact in my district, I tell people if that is not what you desire in a
    candidate – don't vote for me, for I won't lie to make you happy.)

    This fact might as well be place completely on the table… so there it is.

    Also, as it pertains to the quote above, it is more specific to my candidacy for Congress in the 4th district.
     

    • Deborah_B

      Thanks for commenting, Chris.  Maybe it was your press release writer — the quote came directly from the press release.  S/He should have said you were the first pastor running for office, which would have been more accurate and perhaps a better human interest angle.

      Best wishes.

  • Sheldon

    Here is another quote actually attributed to James Madison

    We the subscribers , citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled "A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion," and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill…

    -James Madison

    "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" – 1785

    This was the preamble to the above-mentioned document

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