Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul received the endorsement of an Iowa pastor just ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
The Rev. Brian D. Nolder, pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church in Pella, Iowa, joined what the Paul campaign says is a "growing list of Iowa faith leaders in support of Sen. Rand Paul for President of the United States in 2016." He is now a member of the campaign's faith leadership team.
Another member of that team, pastor Mark Doland of Park Church of Christ in Oskaloosa, Iowa, wrote an op-ed for The Des Moines Register last summer in which he said Paul was "a man that has a biblical worldview on how the church and the government were designed to work in harmony with one another," and who is "uniquely qualified to lead us on a path back to the righteousness that our country once enjoyed."
Nolder also issued an endorsement statement:
"I have decided to endorse Sen. Rand Paul for President in the current election cycle. Even though I am a Christian pastor, my endorsement comes as a private citizen and does not indicate any endorsement by the church I serve. But my endorsement is motivated by Christian convictions, and I could not support someone whom I did not believe embodied those convictions in his policies, positions and character.
"Sen. Paul's vision and policies, while perhaps out of the mainstream today (even within the GOP), actually reflect the conservatism of our nation's founding fathers, our founding documents, and the first decades of our history. More importantly, I believe they reflect biblical principles.
"I support Sen. Paul because he wants the American people to be liberated from state dependence (perpetuated by a massive welfare state) and returned to dependence on God-expressed through hard work, entrepreneurship, and enjoying the fruits of one's labor-with assistance coming from families, local communities, churches, and other private, charitable organizations. He has the most concrete plan to shrink the Leviathan of federal government, and he has the track record and conviction to show that he will do what he says. He wants to do exactly what the Constitution is designed to do, but which we have been moving away from for the past century: restrain the scope and size of government, particularly at the federal level.
"As a patriotic American who loves his country, it pains me to say that I have the growing sense that Uncle Sam-the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal govt.-is more of an existential threat to us than Iran or any other foreign power is. Sen. Paul can help us reverse this trend. We must begin to understand, as Sen. Paul does, that our national debt is not merely an economic or fiscal issue; it is a moral issue, for we are doing nothing less than stealing from and impoverishing the rising generations.
"As a Christian, I am also very concerned about the issue of human life, since each of us is uniquely made in the image of God. Sen. Paul has always been pro-life, which he expresses practically in his many medical missions trips. He made headlines last spring by challenging the chair of the Democratic National Committee to explain to us 'when exactly does life begin.' He put the pro-abortion lobby on the defensive, exposing that this national tragedy involves nothing less than the killing of an unborn child. He has stated clearly that, in his efforts to shrink the massive size of government, defunding Planned Parenthood will be a top priority.
"Respect for life must not only extend to the unborn within our own land, but also to all people everywhere. I am concerned that our country has moved further and further away from the 'just war' principles of the Christian tradition that used to inform, and indeed restrain, so much of our foreign policy. While I am no pacifist, I am increasingly concerned about how quickly we seem to be resorting to violence to resolve international conflicts, and whether the 'wars' we have recently been engaged in are truly just. Additionally, I find it unconscionable that any purported Christian candidate would say that they wished to 'make the sand glow' in the Middle East. Such reckless rhetoric, esp. if it results in an unfettered war policy and execution, will only create more enemies of ill will who will seek to do us harm in the future.
"I support Sen. Paul's call for a modest foreign policy that, while strongly committed to the defense of the borders of our nation, will not entangle us in the fruitless task of nation building and 'making the world safe for democracy.'
"I believe Sen. Paul is a traditional conservative on so-called social issues and family values. But he understands that the problems we face are not fixed primarily legislatively, but culturally and spiritually. We look to heaven for a messiah; not to Washington.
"Please join me in supporting him in the upcoming Iowa caucus and in this year's GOP primary campaign."
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