Incumbent Republican describes COVID-19, civil unrest challenges as “spiritual battle”
United States Representative Barry Loudermilk, who has represented Georgia’s 11th district since 2015, spoke at Creekside Fellowship Church on Sunday morning.
The Republican incumbent delivered an address that lasted well over one hour. He was introduced by Bartow Baptist Association representative David Franklin.
“We’re praying for a revival in Bartow County,” Franklin said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to solve this, like the racial unrest, all the social unrest? It’s not a skin problem, it’s a sin problem.”
In some respects, Loudermilk said Washington, D.C. is like a foreign country — and at times, he said that makes him feel like a “missionary” in his own homeland.
“It is the nation’s capital, but yet there is a different idea and a different philosophy there,” he said. “If there was a prince of Persia, is there not princes of Washington, D.C.?”
However, he told churchgoers that they may be surprised by just how many evangelical Christians currently serve in Congress.
“In fact, the surveys that have been done have shown the we have more evangelical Christians serving in Congress today than we have in 50 years,” he said.
Still, he said he hears many “strange voices” emanating from Capitol Hill, ones that are “not in line with our heritage, with our history, not in line with who we are as a people.”
Ultimately, he said those ideologies and philosophies aren’t “in line” with the vision America’s framers had in mind in the 1700s.
“We’re in the midst of a storm,” he said, “but every generation since the founding of our nation has faced challenges that defined that generation.”
But what truly defines those generations, Loudermilk added, is how they respond to those challenges.
“For a long time, we thought my generation was September 11,” he said. “Now we think it’s the whole year of 2020, maybe, what defines this generation.”
Loudermilk compared the nation’s contemporary social and political woes to the biblical challenges faced by Noah. He said it was more than appropriate that churchgoers sang the hymn “The Old Gospel Ship” before he took the stage.
“Our goal is to not sit, but to move and spread the gospel of Jesus to get as many people on that ship as we can when that ship sets sail,” he added. “We don’t always understand God, we try to use our own reasoning, we try to use science — well, you know, God created science.”
He advised attendees to “trust in God, even if it doesn’t seem like things are right.”
Rather, he said those trials and tribulations are often used as “training” to be more effective soldiers “for Him.”
“We’re going through a global pandemic, we’ve been through that before in this nation,” he said. “Did you know that more people died of smallpox during the American Revolution than they did by bullets or cannons?”
So too has the country gone through economic crises and periods of civil unrest, Loudermilk said.
“Anybody who remembers the ‘60s, ‘70s and even the ‘90s, we had protests, we had businesses burned,” he said. “A question I have is could all of this unrest — these struggles, these challenges, these trials, these tribulations that we’re going through — could it be actually the answer to our prayers?”
Indeed, Loudermilk said he envisions such as "the hand of God" moving across the nation.
“I also think God’s hand of divine protection is upon this county, because of what happened years ago when we started having this National Day of Prayer,” he said. “If you remember, there for a while, we had volunteers going to the seat of government and reading the Bible cover to cover for 24 hours before the Day of Prayer began … I believe God has honored us in that.”
He described the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, as a radicalized leftist extremist.
"He had an execution list, an assassin list, in his pocket," Loudermilk told congregants. "There's not a single law we could've passed that would've changed that situation because the guy had no respect for law, he had evil in his heart and was there to do an act of evil."
When it comes to economic functions, he said Georgia is “the envy” of the nation because the state is “almost back to normal.”
Loudermilk also contended that such seems to be equally true on the county level.
“I was down in Cobb County, Fulton County earlier in the week, and it’s not as bad as D.C., but I’ll go around and people are wearing masks or they’re still scared,” he said. “You come to Cartersville and you can’t hardly tell anything happened here … when they finally opened the farmer’s market, they had the largest turnout they’ve ever had in the history of the farmer’s market and I saw three people wearing masks.”
Loudermilk said that’s simply further evidence that residents are anxious to return to “business as usual” in their day-to-day lives.
“Everybody’s like ‘well, then you’re having this huge surge,’ and I’m like ‘not really,’” he said. “I mean, yeah, some people are getting sick, but it’s not like it was before. And part of it is because we’re not as afraid.”
Data from the Georgia Department of Public Health indicates that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bartow have skyrocketed over the last few weeks. On June 29, the DPH reported 44 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bartow County in just one day; until last month, Bartow County never logged more than 14 new coronavirus cases over a single 24-hour period.
Loudermilk referred to Earth as “Satan’s domain” several times during Sunday’s sermon.
“If the kingdom of God comes rushing in, what happens?” he asked. “The fighting begins, the violence begins, the unsettling begins. If there’s no threat, there’s peace … I keep thinking, maybe, what we’re going through as a nation is a result of what we’ve been praying for.”
Loudermilk recalled the American Revolution, noting that the country didn’t gain its freedom after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but after eight years of bitter, brutal and bloody battles.
“This is a spiritual battle we’re facing,” he said. “We’re seeing blood spilled, we’re seeing violence, we’re seeing rioting, we’re seeing looting, we’re seeing people’s property being burned … they seem to be trying to tear down of everything that reminds us of who we’ve been as a country, good and bad.”
Much of Loudermilk’s speech was anchored around a historical account of the Second Continental Congress’ slow march towards sovereignty.
“This document has done more to change the world history than any other document except the Bible,” Loudermilk said of the Declaration of Independence. “That can’t happen unless there’s divine inspiration.”
He then brought up a quote by John Adams, reportedly addressed to the Massachusetts Militia in 1798.
“Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passion, unbridled by morality and religion,” Loudermilk restated the words of America’s second president, “vice, ambition, revenge and gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”
Adams concluded his speech by declaring that the United States Constitution was made only for a “moral and religious people” and was inadequate for the government of others.
Loudermilk had his own take on that statement.
“The only way that a nation that’s free, with a small government, can exist is when people are moral and they respect the rights of each other,” he said. “What America needs today is not more government, it’s more Jesus.”