“You will never see me make a campaign video with a cross in the background, as some others might.” Scioto County Commissioner Candidate Josh Lawson is a Christian. In fact, he’s a former pastor who has spent 20 years performing Christian ministry.
Yet, with the election just a month away, he’s speaking out on the importance of separating church and state in an area that’s known to be pretty religious.
In a statement posted on social media, Lawson quoted Thomas Jefferson. “Separation of church and state is a phrase that refers to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which Thomas Jefferson referred to as creating a “wall of separation” between religious and secular bodies in the United States.”
Lawson says he is a strong supporter of the concept, but he realizes that many voters in Scioto County don’t feel that way. Lawson recounted recently speaking with a voter who said he felt Christians should be running the country.
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The candidate says he strongly disagrees with the notion that only people of one particular faith are good people.
However, he says he is very much motivated by his own faith, “Personally, I find deep meaning and motivation in the words of Christ. You might even have noticed that the entire basis of my campaign can be tied directly to scripture, where Jesus said that whatever we do to the “least of these,” – the most vulnerable members of our community – we do to him (see Matthew 25).”
However, he says he will never bring that into the political arena. “You won’t find me using my authority to pressure individuals or public institutions to adhere to certain moral ideologies in order to receive or maintain funding. And you certainly won’t catch me playing to the religious aspirations and/or fears of my constituents to rally their support.“
Lawson said that he would never use his position in government to impose his religious beliefs on anyone else.
While many applauded Lawson’s stance, saying it is one of the building blocks of our republic, others worried that removing one’s faith from the equation when considering laws could lead to decisions lacking a moral compass.
Lawson, however, may not have much more to say about the topic. He ended his statement with, “In the words of the imitable Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”