EDITORIAL: At Recent National Day of Prayer, Why Was Senator Clark Barnes the Only Gubernatorial Candidate Present?

HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:  At Recent National Day of Prayer, Why Was Senator Clark Barnes the Only Gubernatorial Candidate Present?

The annual National Day of Prayer was held across the nation and West Virginia yesterday.  In West Virginia alone, thirty different cities participated, sometimes with small gatherings, other times with several hundreds of believers as in Wheeling.  All those who came together prayed for their country, state, communities, and families, asking for God's blessing.

But surprisingly, even shockingly, very few public officials or candidates participated in the event, despite the sizable turnout.  Usually crowds act like magnets for the politically inclined, but this year, there were certainly more no-shows than shows.  Alice Click, who coordinated the West Virginia effort this year, said that she had invited as many of the Governor's candidates as she could find, along with other public officials.  Very few showed.

"But the ones who did show up in support of our effort were quality folks, that's for sure," said Click, a longtime Mason County activist.  "In addition to Jackson County Prosecutor, James McHugh, and his father, Supreme Court Justice Tom McHugh, we also had State Senator Clark Barnes from Elkins.  We were glad to have them all, and it was good to have both major political parties represented at our statehouse event."


Senator Barnes is a Republican candidate for Governor.  While other gubernatorial candidates were attending other events statewide yesterday, with only a week left before the end of the GOP primary, Barnes not only attended the event but was glad to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and give a prayer.  Barnes has a background that is favorable to dialogue with people of faith across West Virginia.  In addition to his business background and degrees, he has a Masters in Theology from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida, a well-regarded seminary among evangelicals.

"My dad was a Baptist minister," recounts Barnes.  "I grew up in a Christian family and know many people in the church, both in Elkins and where I grew up in the Ohio Valley around Paden City.   So I'm very comfortable with people of faith and their concerns.  Christians want what everyone wants--a better economy, safe family-friendly neighborhoods, good education for their chidren, whether in public or private schools, or homeschooling."

"But many Christian activists are also worried about the moral decline of our government and culture, and I think other people of faith have the same concerns these days," said Barnes.  "We all need to pray more, and we need God to help us as much as ever in our daily lives and as a people.  Surely that is obvious."

Barnes is quickly getting known as not only an informed State Senator but increasingly as a favorite among the faith community statewide.  One of the pieces of campaign literature his people hand out shows a picture of a Holy Bible, with script, written by Barnes himself, that reminds the reader that America's liberties flow from the "first freedom," namely religious liberty.  "Where religious freedom is denied, so, too, are other basic human rights," reads the handout.

Barnes notes that his opponents all say that they are "100% pro-life," but he has the record in the State Senate to prove it.  "We need to remember that, in a political season, everyone is going to tell you what you want to hear," says Barnes. "That's politics, and it's to be expected.  But I can show Christian voters and others vote by vote where I supported the pro-life cause.  It's one of the proudest parts of my record."

In addition to building up his two successful businesses in Elkins and serving as a lay preacher, Barnes has been recognized for his 25 years in youth sports as a coach in the Elkins area.  So his recent interest in politics--he was strongly re-elected to his second term in the State Senate in 2008--is really just another expression of service to his community.

"Another reason why I came to this year's National Day of Prayer was to show support for those who put it on," said Barnes.  "I know what it is to organize an all-volunteer event.  It's increasingly hard to do as busy as people are these days with their jobs and families.  But if we don't take time out to remember the really important things like this, we become a little less human and a lot less connected with one another.  I'm so glad that we had a good presence for this National Day of Prayer event this year.  Believe me, our state government can use some more prayers."

For more information about Senator Barnes' campaign for Governor, go to: www.clarkbarnesforgovernor.com or look up "Clark Barnes" on Facebook.






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