In North Carolina Baptist life pastor Mark Harris is known by many as an established leader.
The former president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Harris was a key conservative voice in the state’s 2012 adoption of its marriage amendment, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. But some may wonder why he would consider leaving a successful ministry as the senior pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and run for one of the state’s two seats in the United States Senate.
Harris, who faces seven other candidates in the May 6 primary vote, said he believes there is a vacuum of leadership in the federal government that needs to be filled.
“I’m not doing this just as a pastor but as a person,” Harris, who graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., in 1987 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science, said. “There comes a time when individuals are called to step up and bring to the table the gifts, abilities and vision that God has gifted them with.
“I would say that I am doing this because I recognize that we have a window of opportunity in this country, and I believe that window is closing,” Harris explained. “There is a window of opportunity to change directions and get a more solid and stable footing for our nation…. I want to be part of restoring that.”
People in North Carolina are concerned, Harris said, about the sluggish economy, eroding values and the federal government’s intrusion into the daily lives of citizens.
“But I guess the thing we hear the most is that folks are concerned or worried that we’ve got elected officials in Washington, D.C., that no longer seem to care,” he said.
As a pastor, a Christian and American, Harris said he shares the same concerns.
He reflected on the days he worked as a 14-year-old in the Americans for Reagan office. He stuffed envelopes and made phone calls in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.
“Reagan taught us that building a strong America is like building a three-legged stool,” Harris said. “The three legged stool has got to be a leg of a strong domestic agenda; a leg that’s a strong foreign policy and a leg that is strong on traditional values. Reagan said if you try to weaken or break off any one of those legs, that stool can’t stand.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
K. Allan Blume