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By Pastor Rick Scarborough

9/27/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

He is a modern day Job. In fact, almost seven years from the day of his indictment, while in Washington with some of his old prayer warriors, praying, his phone rang with the news that he had been exonerated. Now comes the season of restoration

The most painful part of the month long trial for my wife and me was seeing Tom's friends abandon him.  Except for one sitting Congressman and one former Congressman, none of the scores of men and women whom he helped get elected during his 21 years in Congress, showed up for the trial.  In fact, Tom and Christine basically went through this valley alone.  Yet I never heard one word of disappointment from Tom DeLay regarding the failure of his political friends to stand by him.  For Tom DeLay, Jesus was enough.  He never failed to tell reporters during the trial that his confidence was in Jesus.

Congressman Tom DeLay

Congressman Tom DeLay

Article Highlights

By Pastor Rick Scarborough

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/27/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Pastor Rick Scarborough, Congressman Tom DeLay, Vision America, Tea Party, conviction, politics, money laundering, conversion, evangelical, politics


LUFKIN,TX (Catholic Online) - (Note from the Editor in Chief, Deacon Keith Fournier. Like many of you I heard the news that Congressman Tom Delay was acquitted of all charges by an Appeals Court panel. I happened to catch a quick interview of the former Congressman in which he openly gave testimony to how he survived his long ordeal. With sincere faith he gave credit to Jesus Christ and said that his faith enabled him to remain joyful through it all. His humility and sincerity deeply moved me.

In my work at the intersection of faith and culture on behalf of the fundamental moral issues of our age, I have the privilege of working with Christians across the confessional spectrum. One of them is Pastor Rick Scarborough. I knew of the Pastor's longstanding friendship with the former Congressman. I was impressed with his loyalty to him as a true Christian friend throughout this long ordeal.

I asked Pastor Scarborough for an interview so that the global readers of Catholic Online could hear this extraordinary story of persevering faith. In the course of the interview it became clear to me that the entire story needed to be heard - and not just responses to my questions. Pastor Scarborough graciously agreed to write this article for Catholic Online and we welcome him.)
 
*****

A Friendship Between and a Pastor and a Politician: Why I Chose to Stand With a Convicted Felon named Tom DeLay 

Pastor Rick Scarborough

In September of 1990, I became the pastor of a 2500 member church on the Southeast side of the Houston Metroplex. I soon discovered that our Congressional Representative was the "The Hammer," better known as Congressman Tom DeLay.  At the time he was the Republican Whip, and one of the most powerful men in the House of Representatives. 

That was the sum total of what I knew at the time about Tom DeLay.

In 1992 I was drawn into a battle with our local school system over an illicit assembly, advocating "safe sex."  Basically, the assembly speaker, whom I heard speak, taught our children that they could engage in any sexual activity they desired, safely, as long as they used a condom. 

That assembly resulted in my getting our congregation involved in civil government, which soon resulted in my speaking at events alongside our elected Representative, Tom DeLay.  Soon a friendship was forged, as I learned that the public persona, created by his adversaries, was false.  In Congressman DeLay, I discovered a true Patriot, who also was a committed Christian.

As I began understanding the need for Christians to be engaged in the culture as salt and light, I began making more and more trips to Washington DC, where I always stopped by to see my Congressman.  During those years, Congressman DeLay rose in stature and was eventually elevated to the Majority Whip and later the Majority Leader, making him five steps removed from the Presidency and one of the most powerful men in the world.

As the Congressman became more comfortable with me, he increasingly confided in me and we soon developed a sincere Pastoral relationship, which included many prayer times together.  I was deeply impressed with the caliber of his faith, and his sense of mission and purpose as God's servant in Congress.

I watched the Congressman mature in his faith while I was forced to mature as well, in my understanding of how things work in Washington.  As a former college football player, I have often stated that pastoring is a contact sport, using double entendre in the metaphor.  Pastors must stay personally engaged with their people and they must be able to withstand frontal assaults, from time to time, from those same people, to be successful.  Hence, pastoring is a "contact sport."

In my initial years of getting to know Tom DeLay, I often entertained the notion that he was too cold and calculating, but as I got to know him personally, I soon understood that he was a very pragmatic man and knew how things worked in DC better than perhaps anyone else in Washington.  He became an expert in politics, but not for selfish gain as he was often accused.  Rather, Congressman DeLay had several priorities which he believed God had given him power to promote, not the least of which was ending abortion in America and returning America to the limits in scope and size defined by our founders in the Constitution. 

It was during this time that I also discovered that Congressman DeLay was meeting weekly with other Congressmen for Bible study and prayer, and that he had an organized team of prayer warriors that prayed for him daily.  The deeper I dug, the more pure the gold of real faith I discovered.

Yet, Tom DeLay, like all men, had feet of clay, and he was the first to point out his own failings and faults.  There was one occasion during this period when I felt the need to privately express a grievance over a matter, which I considered to reflect poor judgment, from the Congressman.  I believe you can learn more about a man by the way he responds to correction that any other way.  He responded in humility to my private correction and our relationship deepened. 

In 1998 I launched a national ministry called Vision America, dedicated to urging pastors and priests to engage the culture and call on Christians to participate in civil government.  From the first day Congressman DeLay was my greatest cheerleader, providing counsel and assistance when called upon. 

Later I founded Vision America Action, which enabled me to lobby Congress and get more directly involved in politics. I asked Tom DeLay to join the Board of Trustees, to which he consented.

In 2005 and 2006 Vision America hosted two National Conferences in Washington DC calling attention to the increasing hostility exercised against Christianity.  During our second conference, we focused on activist judges, and Tom Delay delivered a keynote address in which he vowed to pass legislation limiting the jurisdiction of Federal Judges.  That action caused the Congressman to become a marked man in Congress as it infuriated the left that so often uses the Courts to accomplish what they cannot accomplish through the legislative process.

When, under Bill Clinton, the Republicans took control of the House, they immediately imposed stricter ethical rules for themselves, going beyond the normal ethics rules of the House.  One of the new rules imposed included Leaders stepping down from leadership when an Ethics violation was lodged. 

From the day when this rule was adopted, Democrats began a relentless crusade to get Tom DeLay out of office.  Politically, he was too good at what he did which was drive the Republican agenda.  Tom DeLay was repeatedly accused of ethical violations and repeatedly exonerated, but the accusations had an accumulative effect, as the uninvolved citizens reading the headlines, soon believed Tom DeLay must be guilty of something.

Then the indictment of Tom DeLay for money laundering was secured by District Attorney, Ronnie Earle, in Travis County, Texas.  This is the same District Attorney that tried to convict Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of misdeeds earlier and failed. 

Texas has an arcane statute that any politician in the state, whether local, state or Federal, falls under the jurisdiction of Travis County, where the Capitol of Texas is located.  The Democratic Party dominates Travis County, and the DA was known for his partisan politics.

It took five grand juries to get an indictment of Congressman Tom DeLay, but when the indictment was secured, Democrats had their prize.  Tom DeLay was forced to step down from his leadership role in the House.

No one believed that Tom DeLay could be convicted.  But he was. 

Ronnie Earle and his successor in that office, perpetrated a new legal theory that transferring Federal donations from the National Republican Party to the State Republican Party, which has different rules for distribution, was "money laundering." 

Ignoring the fact that this practice had been screened by legions of lawyers and deemed perfectly legal, not to mention the frequent exchange of such monies for years by both parties, the District Attorney convinced a Grand Jury that the practice was illegal and worthy of indictment.  Four previous Grand Juries said no to the theory.

Tom DeLay was rounded up like a criminal, finger printed and processed.  His picture and the indictment was front-page news around the country and the world.  And I grieved because I knew the man and his wife and I knew all the good he had done with the power God granted him through his office.

I knew about his work getting Jews who were persecuted out of Russia.  I knew about his work on behalf of America's greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel.  I knew about his constant efforts to raise money on behalf of other conservative candidates around the country.  I knew about the countless benevolent causes he and his wife, Christine, were involved in, including securing private funding for a model care facility for unwanted children in Sugarland. 

And I knew the depth of his love for Christ and his quiet work propagating the Gospel on Capitol Hill, something the press has always ignored.

Some counseled me to quietly separate from Tom DeLay fearing his troubles would hurt my work with Vision America.  But as I prayed about it I couldn't find peace in abandoning a friend whom I believed to be innocent of wrongdoing.  When the matter came before our Board one of our members reminded the others that Paul the Apostle was convicted of a felony offense by the Roman Government.  The question was the raised, "Would we have abandoned Paul, if he were on our Board?"  I have never been prouder of a group of men than I was that day.

I attended a few days of every week of Tom DeLay's trial, sitting in the gallery with his family.  My wife accompanied me when she could.  I had to commute over 500 miles each week to be there.  But I was there on the first day and I was there on the last day, and I knew the evidence did not warrant a conviction.  But tragically that is what Tom DeLay received. 

Regardless of the law, the DA and his team of lawyers put up a false argument, and then proceeded to prosecute the argument as if it were true.  And the jury agreed, to the dismay of all who understood the law was never meant to apply to politics.

The most painful part of the month long trial for my wife and me was seeing Tom's friends abandon him.  Except for one sitting Congressman and one former Congressman, none of the scores of men and women whom he helped get elected during his 21 years in Congress, showed up for the trial.  In fact, Tom and Christine basically went through this valley alone.  Yet I never heard one word of disappointment from Tom DeLay regarding the failure of his political friends to stand by him.  For Tom DeLay, Jesus was enough.  He never failed to tell reporters during the trial that his confidence was in Jesus.

For three long years Tom DeLay has been living in limbo, facing three years in prison, while seeking justice in the Appellate Court.  Throughout this long arduous process Mr. DeLay, one of the brightest political minds in America, has been treated like a pariah.  He could not find work anywhere, as his case remained dormant in the Court of Appeals.

So what did Tom DeLay, once among the most powerful men in America, do?  He devoted his time to studying his Bible, deepening his faith and helping me with my work, at no charge.  I have spent hundreds of hours with Tom DeLay throughout this process, and I have learned more from him about genuine faith than all my years in Theological training and study. 

He is a modern day Job.  In fact, almost seven years from the day of his indictment, while in Washington with some of his old prayer warriors, praying, his phone rang with the news that he had been exonerated.  Now comes the season of restoration.

For Tom DeLay and for America, the best is yet to come.  Praise the Lord.

That's..Why I Chose to Stand With a Convicted Felon named Tom DeLay!

-----

Dr. Rick Scarborough is an ordained minister of the Gospel and founder of Vision America and Tea Party Unity.  Both organizations are dedicated to calling Christians to be pro-active in restoring Judeo-Christian values in American culture.  Dr. Scarborough has authored several books including the best selling Enough is Enough, and Liberalism Kills Kids and numerous booklets for pastors such as Mixing Church and State God's Way.   For more information on Dr. Scarborough's work, visit Vision America or Tea Party Unity

---


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That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
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