Faith and Elected office: A Conversation with Oliver Baines

What does faith look like for an elected official? Do you have to put your faith away or does your faith drive you to be elected? Well, Oliver Baines has been there – a Christian serving in a locally elected office. And it might surprise some to find out he’s a Christian and a Democrat. Join us on the NPEpodcast for Oliver’s thoughtful discussion on Faith and Politics.


  1. Doug says:

    I loved it Paul. Great conversation. A couple of things I hear on the right side that were mentioned but not fully explained or explored are:
    1. The kids in cages – “That was an Obama policy.” It would be nice to hear the difference explained between Obama and Trump treatment of that policy.

    2. This might be more difficult. Clinton was in office when he had sex with an intern. Trump’s affairs were before he became president and he is a different man now.

    I would also like to hear some more about the high speed rail discussion. I know you have told me about it before but it would be nice to hear the timeline of the support and withdrawal and the issues surrounding it.

    Not to become overly political but I believe we need to wrestle with why we, as evangelicals, flip flop according to partisan politics rather than what we think is right.

    I was great to hear Oliver though. It’s nice to hear a Christian democrat’s experience outside of sound bites, tweets and facebook posts. Thank you for doing this!
    As a Father’s Heart speaker, I have begun to very much feel the need for intellectual honesty because it reflects on our heart and actions in how we are representing the God who is Love.

    1. Paul Swearengin says:

      Doug – great stuff. Thanks for listening, for the feedback and for wanting to keep everything intellectually honest. A couple thoughts from me on your questions. (1) Kids in cages might have been an Obama policy, although I’m not completely sure that’s true, but I do know there was a major rise in border crossings during the Obama administration that they dealt with in ways that made people unhappy, however, the family separation policy that got everyone angry was an executive order by President Trump, that was announced by Att. Gen. Jeff Sessions with the stated goal of a deterrent from others coming. And during the press conference AG Sessions quoted a verse from Romans as giving permission to do so. When it all became ugly, Pres. Trump lied and said only congress could change the policy – which he stuck with right up until the point he rescinded the executive order. So, I partially agree with you, but the real ugliness came because, as I see it, President Trump believes it helps galvanize his base when he is hardline (some might say “cruel”) to foreigners at the border. (2) Bill Clinton wasn’t impeached for having sex with an intern while in office, he was impeached for lying about it under oath. But, spiritually speaking – the Christian church besmirched Pres. Clinton for the act. Pres Trump might be a different man (although I haven’t seen indicators of that but others might have) but shouldn’t we be concerned that as a presidential candidate he lined up what are very likely illegal campaign contribution funded payments to two women and repeatedly lied about it – as a candidate and as president? Lying about such a thing makes an elected official vulnerable to blackmail and that’s why we ask candidates to get their dirty laundry out so that no one can have leverage over them. I get your point that they are not apples to apples comparisons, but the response of the Christian community is so widely different, I think the hypocrisy is palpable. I ultimately think Christians flip flop because our beliefs have become about maintaining power to implement our beliefs, rather the serving the culture and allowing God to change the hearts of people and culture. Anyway, I could go on, but let me stop there and see what your thoughts are on what I shared. I really appreciate your participation and love asking these questions with you!

  2. Terri Kimber Edwards says:

    Great open and honest conversation with Oliver. Thank you!

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