OKLA. CITY — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of stories about candidates seeking the 5th District Congressional seat.
Congressional 5th District candidate Harvey Sparks said that as a follower of Jesus Christ, he believes in absolute truth at a Republican debate Tuesday evening at the First Baptist Church in Edmond.
Pastors of Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ presented a 5th District candidates’ debate for Republicans running for the Oklahoma Congressional 5th District. About 450 people attended the event, according to Gary Ellis, associate pastor.
Each candidate spoke of how Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of their lives when they were asked what Jesus means to them by Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper, who moderated the event.
Sparks said he believes the protection of the unborn is always right as well as the defense of traditional marriage. God has ordained marriage as the building block of life, said Sparks, of Oklahoma City.
There are circumstances that lead to some pregnancies, but life must be defended, he said.
GOP candidates include Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, state Rep. Shane Jett, state Sen. Clark Jolley, former state Sen. Steve Russell, former congressional aide Harvey Sparks, and state Rep. Mike Turner. Jolley did not attend the debate.
“I believe all life is created by God without exception,” Russell said. “The issue of life and abortion is not just academic. Three of my five children are adopted.”
The Declaration of Independence notes that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” should be protected, Russell said.
On the issue of gay marriage, Russell defined marriage as being restricted to a man and a woman. Traditional marriage is the key to social goodness, he said.
“What God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” Russell said.
All life is precious whether it is old, young or unborn, said Douglas, who lives in Edmond. Oklahomans work to protect life and it is critical for the nation to protect it, she said.
She also said that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“You read about it in the Old Testament and the New Testament,” Douglas said. “I just finished reading the entire New Testament through. And you read about it over and over and over.”
Douglas said she upholds to the Christian principles she learned as a child from her family.
Life begins at conception, Turner said.
“Traditional marriage is how I grew up,” said Turner, of Oklahoma City. “That’s non-negotiable between a man and a woman. And I will fight in Congress to get a constitutional amendment to make it very clear.”
Liberals are shifting the debate to have churches mandated to accept other cultures, he said.
“Sorry. That’s not scriptural. That’s non-negotiable with me,” Turner said.
The moment of conception is the beginning of life, said Jett, who lives in Tecumseh. Americans have a responsibility to protect life, which is precious, he said. It is destructive to the United States to be killing its citizens before they have a chance to breathe, Jett said.
“Because our mother chose life, we need to be also defending life as well,” Jett said.
God ordained the institution of marriage, Jett said. There is a risk when government imposes its will to define what God has ordained and what churches have sanctioned, he added.
“It’s not only against our faith. It’s against the constitution,” Jett said. “The constitution says, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’”
Democrats running for the 5th District include former UCO professor Tom Guild of Edmond; state Sen. Al McAffrey of Oklahoma City; and Leona Leonard, chair of the Seminole County Democratic Party.
The three Independent candidates running for the 5th District include Tom Boggs who currently lives in Thailand, Buddy Ray of Edmond, and Robert Murphy of Norman.
Voters will nominate their party’s candidates on June 24 for the statewide primary election. A run-off primary election is set for Aug. 26. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 4.
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