Baptist Pastor In Texas Running As A Democrat?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in General Politics, Religion

To me, movement away from the radical religious fringe and towards a humble, moral center is a great thing. And somehow, the fact that it’s happening in Texas makes it even better.

COVINGTON, Texas (ABP) — Pastor and politician Kerry Horn has been called an agent of Satan. He has faced country farmers trembling with rage. And his faith has been questioned by members of his own congregation. And that’s just the reaction of his “Christianâ€Â? constituents.

“People find it interesting,” Horn said. “I just live with it.â€Â?

Horn’s situation is interesting, to say the least. Horn, 48, is running for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives in the fall 2006 election. The fact he also is pastor of First Baptist Church of Covington, Texas, makes potential voters perk up their ears. The fact he is running as a Democrat in the deeply Republican region leaves some voters confused and others downright distressed.

More on why Kerry shifted towards the middle:

Many of Horn’s advocates — some of whom are Baptist pastors themselves — have supported Republican candidates in the past but have become sour to what they call the latest attitude change in Austin. Others have decided to vote for Horn because they trust him, no matter what political party he represents.

Joe Williams, a pipeline inspector, often eats at a diner inside Covington’s busy Shell gas station. Leaning back in his overalls after lunch on a bright spring day, Williams said he’s not too picky when it comes to choosing who gets his vote.

“The number one thing people around here want is honesty,� Williams said. “If we can get a good, honest person in office, we’ll do all right.�

And last, Horn calls out the religious right on their wrongs.

He has little patience for Christians whose political opinions are focused on certain hot-button moral issues. “Here you get enraged about abortion and homosexual action, but you wink and nod at adultery,� Horn said. “Don’t give me this holier-than-thou business when you dismiss other sins.�

Right on.


This entry was posted on Monday, March 27th, 2006 and is filed under General Politics, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

33 Responses to “Baptist Pastor In Texas Running As A Democrat?”

  1. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    As a church-going Texas moderate, this does my heart good. Thanks for relating the story.

  2. Charlie Says:

    Amen!

  3. Glen Wishard Says:

    “Here you get enraged about abortion and homosexual action, but you wink and nod at adultery,�

    So he’s going to get the adulterers too?

    Who’s winking and nodding at adultery, BTW? To what adultery is he referring, pray tell? Can anyone think of popular examples of adultery?

    Oh, I get it. This new high road leads straight to the graveyard, to dig up the stinky allegations about George Bush’s alleged adultery. If that’s the humble moral center, he can have it.

    Like I told my pastor once: “You’d better shape up and get your ass straight with Jesus.”

  4. Mike The Actuary’s Musings » 2006 » March » 28 Says:

    [...] [...]

  5. GN Says:

    If Jesus were alive and running for public office today … he would be trounced …. by the republicans …. because he wouldn’t make deals …. and because if he were political he would be a Centrist. ;o)
    Good, fun post, Justin.

  6. Brian in MA Says:

    Not sure what Kerry has to do with anything. Kerry didn’t “shift to the middle”, he just stopped making sense. We literally could have held the Presidential debate without Bush and argued which Kerry did better.

    This guy seems interesting, but I believe his platform is consistent conservatism, not “I support abortion and homosexuality but will fight adultery”.

  7. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    The buzz around Democrats recently is that despite the low poll numbers regarding republicans and the president, Democrats fail to capitalize because they have no new ideas that appeal to the public.

    Eureeka! we have found the solution! Democrats don’t have to change their ideas, they just have to change the people who run for office! Lets recruit some Iraq war vets, and some baptist ministers, therefore we can shout out, “How dare you question my moral authority! Can’t you see I am a baptist minister and an Iraq war vet!” and no we still don’t have a clear position on an exit stategy, social security, or gay marraige, but who cares! Look at my medals and my bible! Like John Kerry I am “reporting for duty!”

  8. Joshua Says:

    Jimmy may be on to something here. As I blogged about earlier this month, Alabama Democrats have been trying to outflank the GOP on the (religious) right, and this may be a trial balloon for making this a nationwide strategy.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Guys, the Kerry mentioned in this article is Kerry Horn, the Baptist Pastor in question. Unless I missed something John Kerry isn’t mentioned in this article. As for the Democrats strategy, I think this might have some legs to it.

    To beat a tired cliche, all politics is local. All these guys have an agenda that plays well with their local constituents. Take that and add the credentials to blunt standard republican lines of attack (family values, soft on National defense, etc.) and I think you’ve got a candidate who can win a congressional district.

    They won’t win back the Senate like this, and they definitely won’t win the presidency this way but it’s at least a start and might get some more moderate voices in for the Democrats. That’s my hope at least, I’m tired of one party rule.

  10. Kevin Says:

    Wish I knew how to edit my comments. I meant to write “all these guys NEED is an agenda that plays well with their local constituents” who knows whether or not they have it.

    Also, I should add. The pessimist in my worries that this is part of the trend of “religiousizing” political debate. I don’t like how rhetoric has changed since Bush took office.

  11. Capitol Annex » From The Blogs, March 28, 2006 Says:

    [...] Today’s Must Reads: Donklephant has the latest on Baptist minister Kerry Horn running for State Representative here in Texas. [...]

  12. Meredith Says:

    Glen said:

    “Oh, I get it. This new high road leads straight to the graveyard, to dig up the stinky allegations about George Bush’s alleged adultery. If that’s the humble moral center, he can have it.”

    WTF? I guess I’m missing something, but where did that come from? This guy’s painfully obvious point is that there are some Christians who will scream and shout about abortion and gays, and in the meantime, they are committing “sins” left and right, adultery for example. I just don’t know how you can argue that hypocracy is not annoying.

    Also a little funny that a few people went nuts just seeing the word “Kerry,” and assumed it was J.F. Kerry, when it was just this man’s first name. Hold your horses, people!

  13. Justin Gardner Says:

    Not sure what Kerry has to do with anything. Kerry didn’t “shift to the middle�, he just stopped making sense. We literally could have held the Presidential debate without Bush and argued which Kerry did better.

    Brian, would you read the whole story before you comment. The guy’s name is Kerry Horn.

    Oh, I get it. This new high road leads straight to the graveyard, to dig up the stinky allegations about George Bush’s alleged adultery. If that’s the humble moral center, he can have it.

    Glen…dude…what the hell are you talking about? George Bush’s adultery? What?

    He’s saying that the religious right can be hypocritical in many ways, so they shouldn’t be claiming ownership over morality. You read WAY too much into what was a pretty normal statement about hypocrisy.

  14. Brian in MA Says:

    Sorry about that, just didn’t catch it the first time.

    Besides, my eternal thorn in the side(and Senator) John Boy, while not in the news recently, still manages to say something stupid every now and then.

    My bad.

  15. Glen Wishard Says:

    This guy’s painfully obvious point is that there are some Christians who will scream and shout about abortion and gays, and in the meantime, they are committing “sins� left and right, adultery for example.

    Nonsense.

    If Horn wanted to tut-tut evangelicals for their sins, he could have chosen some realistic ways in which they “fall short of the glory of God”. He could have said that many of them display intolerance, and pay more attention to Old Testament judgment than to Gospel love, for example. He would have been right.

    But to accuse them of “winking at adultery” is a preposterous claim. Note that he is not accusing of committing adultery, but condoning it. Anyone who knows anything about evangelicals (and Southern Baptists in particular) would find that a very odd statement.

    I know that some seculars like to imagine that all Christians are secret practitioners of everything they claim to be against, but that’s the argument of an anti-Christian bigot, not a clergyman. Rest assured that Pastor Horn is not accusing his flock of pornographic behavior. If he thought that, he ought to tell them so from the pulpit.

    When he says “winking at adultery”, every Texas Democrat knows exactly what he’s talking about.

  16. Justin Gardner Says:

    But to accuse them of “winking at adultery� is a preposterous claim. Note that he is not accusing of committing adultery, but condoning it. Anyone who knows anything about evangelicals (and Southern Baptists in particular) would find that a very odd statement.

    Glen, he’s a BAPTIST pastor. You think he has more insight into the faith than you?

    And as far as “winking” at adultery, well, they’re not up in arms screaming about bans on adultery, but they try to ban gay marriage and gay rights, and they obviously want to ban abortion. The line he drew between all of these is pretty transparent to me. Don’t you agree that he is talking specifically about intolerance with these statements, where they’ll tolerate some behavior but decry and march against others?

  17. GN Says:

    Correctamundo, Justin. The preacher is going tomhave a hard row to hoe because the whackers are going to come out of the woodwork.

  18. Glen Wishard Says:

    Don’t you agree that he is talking specifically about intolerance with these statements …

    Not really, no. I still believe that my inference was entirely correct.
    Like I said, he could have made some valid criticisms. He could have said, “We ought to pay more attention to our own families, and less attention to somebody else’s gay family.” Maybe he just expressed it poorly, so I’ll suspend further judgment pending more evidence.

    But I have to second Jimmy’s point somewhat. A lot of Democrats want to get that Old Time Religion working for them, and I suspect many of them wouldn’t mind getting the less Christian aspects of it working too, so long as it works.

    It doesn’t take much insight into the Southern Baptist mind to know that the Democrats among them had a very difficult time reconciling themselves to the Clinton scandals. Clinton promptly trotted out the “spiritual advisors” and had himself filmed in a Baptist Church. You see, dismissing it as “all about sex” doesn’t quite cut it with the Baptists. Some of them were angry that Bush’s alleged adultery didn’t get the same attention.

    As it says in the Bible, “If you have a beam in your eye, check the other guy for motes.” Or something like that.

  19. Callimachus Says:

    “Adultery” does seem an odd choice of a word to complete that sentence when many others would have fit as well: pride, wrath, avarice, etc.

    My overall reaction, which is inappropriate for here, is here.

  20. Justin Gardner Says:

    “Adultery� does seem an odd choice of a word to complete that sentence when many others would have fit as well: pride, wrath, avarice, etc.

    This is for both Glen and Cal. What do adultery, gays and abortion all have in common? Sex. Intolerance for some behaviors but tolerance for others. Again, Horn’s statements seems to have a completely logical throughline. I could be wrong about his intentions. Maybe he is talking about Bush. But why not take the man at his word since this is first time you’re reading his words?

    And by the way…related…and yet unrelated…

    Contrast that to the blunt nihilism of so many of the modern progressives. Contrast it to their virulent mocking of white Protestant Christianity, their furious anti-globalization mentality, their enthusiastic adherence to the idea that everything about America is corrupt, racist, militaristic, evil, and unfixable.

    Heh…could you be suffering from LDS (Liberal Derangment Syndrome)? Have the vicious liberal blogs skewed your opinion so much that you’re starting to make over-reaching statements about “so many” progressives?

    Forgive me Cal, but that post was a satire, right? You were mimicking the same liberal blogs you rail against, correct?

  21. Callimachus Says:

    A. I don’t call such people liberals. I like liberals. I still believe I am one.

    B. No satire at all. The critique is made by liberals as well, some of them on those very sites:

    “Suppose that intellectuals of the left were thinking more clearly about the American nation as (a) a whole and (b) a work in progress? Suppose that ideas about actual American potential proved more appealing on the putatively left-wing campus than sticking up, in code and despair (albeit with flourishes), for all kinds of exotic indeterminacies, theological neo-Marxisms, and third-worldist romantic fancies?” – Todd Gitlin.

    “There can be no doubt that the left in general, but the campus variety in particular, is profoundly pessimistic and dour in its attitude towards this country. It seems to be built in to the DNA of campus leftist activism to be as over-the-top as possible in describing America as a den of corruption and injustice. It is the luxury of students who by and large have never known what true corruption and injustice look like but who are attracted to the romance of revolutionary thinking,” – a reader from TPM Cafe.

    Both quoted recently by Andrew Sullivan

  22. Justin Gardner Says:

    Again, I think you seriously over-reach when you say “so many” liberals. And those two that you cite are fairly reasoned when compared to your “blunt nihilism” and “enthusiastic adherence to the idea that everything about America is corrupt, racist, militaristic, evil, and unfixable.”

    We’re not going to agree on this, but I just think…as a liberal…you could do SO much better.

  23. Callimachus Says:

    Justin, as a creature of the contemporary left, do you perceive there to be a difference between self-defined “liberals” and self-defined “progressives”? Because I do, and I try to be careful to maintain the distinction, but you break it down and act as though I am using them interchangeable. From what I see and read, people who claim the label “progressive” tend to be more extreme than those who merely call themselves “liberal.”

  24. Justin Gardner Says:

    Justin, as a creature of the contemporary left, do you perceive there to be a difference between self-defined “liberals� and self-defined “progressives�?

    Hmm, that’s an interesting question.

    Personally, I do think those terms are interchangable. I spoke often before Donklephant for the need to redefine the term “liberal” as “progressive” since the right-wing has “liberal” it into such a hated word.

    Me, I’m proud to be called a “liberal”, as I’m sure you would be if anybody would define you as such. Because to me…”liberal” stands for movement towards justice. Sure, we disagree oftentimes on what kind of movement, but the need for justice is not an issue.

    Still, I look around the blogosphere and I see the term “liberal” thrown around 100 times as much as “progressive.” After all, it’s not called the “progressive” media. It’s not called the “progressive” blogosphere. And John Kerry certainly isn’t called a “progressive.” I fear you’re using terminology that a few on the left have tried to push into the collective lexicon, but it will ultimately fall on deaf ears.

    Again, I urge to look beyond the blogosphere and beyond your newsroom. I understand that’s not an easy thing to do because these things are right in your face and screaming. But it’s of the utmost importance if we’re to move forward and come together as a nation and a people.

  25. GN Says:

    Justin, Justin, Justin – such passion and panic … got to give it to Cal, he does research and think about what he says … and the newsprint thing gives him a certain authority (in terms of exposure to many different ideas and ilks) … but, I think he pushes your buttons now and then in good fun. There is usually a point in there somewhere but it is hard to find on occassion.

    On the serious side, progressive, liberal, and other labels have degenerated into darts that are thrown around to denaote American or Un-American, so for me they are useless terms in any reasonable debate. All people think in left and right mentalities based on the topic … they vascillate (whether they are willing to admit it or not) to defend a pre-conceived idea. If they did anything else they would be nothing but sheep (no pun on the reverend intended) being led by the flock master. Debate is the only thing that wins hearts and minds (to borrow a phrase from Pres. Bush) in the political arena.

    One thing I have noticed about Cal when he is passionate on a topic is that newsroom mentality (hate you guys … just kidding) of mining data that shows real patterns (results) for the topic. It is hard to debate those items without doing some humbled research and either seeing his point or showing where his interpretation of the data is off … and perhaps leading him to a moderated opinion.

    In the meantime, Preacher Kerry had better hone his skills because once he is in the game ….. he is speaking for himself, and neither Jesus or Satan can help him …. he needs to know of what he speaks.

  26. kreiz Says:

    Spot on, GN. Sometimes I think Justin misses Cal. He’s closer to you than you think, J.

  27. kreiz Says:

    To avoid confusion, I meant that you ‘miss’ the some of Cal’s subtlety. I don’t think you ‘miss’ hearing from him. :)

  28. Justin Gardner Says:

    I think he pushes your buttons now and then in good fun.

    Heh…yeah. So do I.

    As far as the research goes, I’m fine with doing it, but in this instance his research revealed all I needed. Thanks Cal.

    To avoid confusion, I meant that you ‘miss’ the some of Cal’s subtlety.

    Well, given the quote above, sometimes I think Cal misses his subtlety too.

  29. Kerry Horn Says:

    Wow – I’ve really enjoyed the comments. The thrust of the discussion appears to be my reference to adultry. I had no particular instance or individual in mind in using that term. The linking of all too inflaming sexual issues was the intent when there are more important holistic issues facing our state and country. (When there are more “evangelicals” divorcing, statistically, than other segments of our society – much of which is the result of adultry – the “speck and the plank” needs to be addressed.) The real issues are taking care of our families; our children; our elderly; our environment; our education system; our infrastructure; and our attitudes towards diversity. Forget the labels. Folks – the stakes are too high for our future to debate what to call each other when the true need is for simple respect and honesty in debating issues and not the current attitude of coerced conformity being demonstrated by our current leadership in Austin and Washington. As a pastor, my scriptures teach me that I am held to a higher standard of judgement and criticism because of my position as a spokesperson in interpreting God’s presence among us. With that in mind, I choose to be accountable for how I treat the “least of these” and not “giving the wealthy a seat of honor” while the poor “take a seat on the floor.” By the way – I am a “little b” baptist Christian called to serve the church as a pastor. The adjective “baptist” is discriptive of how I practice my Christianity in the world and time in which I live. Thanks for your interest. Thanks for your commentary. Thanks for showing how misinformed people can become by misreading or reading something into information prepared and presented by others. Thanks for giving me insight to the musings of bloggers.

  30. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Baptist Texas Democrat Speaks On Donklephant Says:

    [...] This post about Kerry Horn, the Baptist pastor in Texas running as a Democrat, elicited quite a bit of debate, including the pastor’s intentions when talking about adultery. Some thought it was a vague reference to our current President’s supposed infidelities while a politician in Texas. [...]

  31. TS Orlando Says:

    I was amazed and excited to hear about this southern baptist minister running for a state house seat as a democrat. I’m a life-long southern baptist and a life-long democrat, and it saddens me to see the polarization taking place in my church.

    I live in Florida, and politics here have taken a similar turn as those in Texas. Like Austin, the only strongholds of democrats that remain are in the capital, Tallahassee (home of FSU and FA&M), Gainesville (U of F), and a few coastal cities where many northern retirees live.

    I saw this change materializing over the last 15 years, but never with such vitriol as the last two presidential elections. People in our church as well as FBC Orlando (where we frequently visit) immediately assume that my family is republican. There’s never any intelligent debate at church, just a “pre-ordained view” that God wants us to vote republican.

    In fact, in 2000, when Al Gore won the presidency, the local GOP hauled in Barbara Bush for an appearance at FBC Orlando a few nights before election day. In her speech, she frowned in a grandmotherly, disapproving, scolding way, and said, “… when I think of what that man did in that oval office … ”

    Huh?! I thought we were talking about Al Gore? He spent most of the preceding eight years at the Maritime Institute, not the oval office. But this serves as proof of what these people will do to inflame anger and hatred to achieve their political agenda.

    My republican/baptist friends are dumbfounded when I tell them I vote democrat. They cannot fathom a single reason why a good baptist like me would do such a sinful thing. My response is always the same: I vote democrat for moral reasons, of which there’s many I can enumerate. There only seems to be two that they can come up with: abortion and gays. And in their minds those two trump everything else.

    You can see it in the weeks leading up to a presidential election. Watch CNN or Fox to see what the candidates were up to on any Sunday morning prior to election day.

    Candidates Bush (41 or 43), Reagan, or any other republican hopeful in the last 20 years will be seated prominently on the front row of FBC Houston, or FBC Atlanta, or maybe First Methodist in some other southern, prominently white congregation.

    Candidates Kerry, Gore, or Clinton will be seated in the First Macedonia AME church, or some other prominently black congregation, or a moderate, mixed-race congregation in another city.

    Now analyze all of these congregations. All purport themselves to be Christians. And all are supporting these candidates for what they term as “moral issues”. So how can they be so far apart?

    Perhaps the “moral issues” of abortion and gay rights are enough for the republican congregations. But perhaps the issues of health care, child care, education, jobs, environment, and more are sufficient “moral issues” for the democratic-leaning congregations. Do these differences make either congregration more or less Christian? I don’t think so, but I know from personal experience that I feel a whole lot less hate and anger from the latter.

    For now, I plan to continue being a southern baptist, and a democrat, as much of a contradiction as that may seem to many. I was a baptist when it was okay to be a democrat, and I can wait it out for a long time. I’ve often thought that it would be a great idea to start a club, or group of people like myself, who are caught in this dichotomy, just to see how many there are of us. But in the meantime, I’ll take a great deal of satisfaction in the courage shown by this southern baptist minister from Texas. Let’s hope that more people will follow the trend.

  32. Clay Says:

    For so long conservative Christians have been voting based on abortion & sex = morality issues. Although we all can easily support these moral issues on biblical grounds we often wink at other very important domestic issues such as jobs, healthcare, poverty, Social Security, and our overall economic welfare in the name of being Christian. We wrap a flag around anything we perceive as moral, and generating huge profits, all the while turning a blind eye to the hardship that our own low and middle income citizens are enduring. If Jesus were physically among us and ministering to us right now, with whom would He be walking each day? The New Testament gives us a pretty good idea about that. Maybe there is something to this pastor afterall. As a Christian and fellow Texas Bapist, I pray there is.

  33. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Liberals Better Start Breeding… Says:

    [...] Now here’s the thing. I think that this trend is most likely going to even out. Why? Because liberals will start attracting more and more of the devout after the abortion and gay issues fall by the wayside. And those issues will fall by the wayside. They’ve been around for too long and people are simply growing tired of them. And that means Christians will start to embrace more social justice issues. We’re seeing this in groups like the Sojourners and politicians like Kerry Horn. And as recent commenter pointed out in a post about Kerry Horn: For so long conservative Christians have been voting based on abortion & sex = morality issues. Although we all can easily support these moral issues on biblical grounds we often wink at other very important domestic issues such as jobs, healthcare, poverty, Social Security, and our overall economic welfare in the name of being Christian. We wrap a flag around anything we perceive as moral, and generating huge profits, all the while turning a blind eye to the hardship that our own low and middle income citizens are enduring. If Jesus were physically among us and ministering to us right now, with whom would He be walking each day? The New Testament gives us a pretty good idea about that. Maybe there is something to this pastor afterall. As a Christian and fellow Texas Bapist, I pray there is. [...]

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