In [Intercessors for America’s] continuing series on God-fearing leaders in government, they look at three more believers who have been called to serve our nation in the new White House administration.
Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, grew up on a cotton farm in Paint Creek, TX. It was a small town with a Methodist church on one end and a Baptist church on the other—and his family was active in both churches. In his 2008 book, On My Honor, Perry says life revolved around school, church, and the Boy Scouts.
After graduating from Texas A&M with a B.A. in Animal Science, he became an Air Force Commander and served five years before coming home to Texas to farm with his father. Perry felt personally adrift and became desperate for God.
“My faith journey is not the story of someone who turned to God because I wanted to,” he stated in a recent speech,“ . . . it was because I had nowhere else to turn. What I learned as I wrestled with God is that I didn’t have to have all the answers . . . and that I needed to trust Him.”
After this life-changing encounter with God, he married his childhood sweetheart Mary Thigpen. He then began to pursue a call into politics. Throughout his political career, Perry has stood for Christian values and been outspoken about his faith. In 2010, as Governor of Texas, he called for a day of prayer and fasting regarding national crisis.
Perry’s sense of mission and call to action can be summed up in a comment to students at Liberty University: “Don’t leave it to a bunch of Washington politicians to tell you how to live your life. This is your future we are debating today. Don’t be silent.”
Dan Coats is the new Director of National Intelligence. Coats has the reputation as an honored statesman, and colleagues describe him as “Mr. Rogers” because of his humble character. Timothy Goeglein, a former aide to then Senator Dan Coats, wrote in an article, “He was, and is, one of the most virtuous men in American poli-tics, loved and respected roundly and widely by men and women on both sides of the political aisle, a Wheaton graduate, and serious Christian. It is that faith which is at the heart of the man himself—utterly foundational to understanding everything he finds most important in life.”
Raised as a Presbyterian, Coats met his wife Marsha in college. He went into the army, studied law, and eventually entered politics. He represented Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives, and then was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Dan Quayle. Coates was later elected to fill that seat for a term. After taking time away from the Senate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Germany, he was re-elected as a Senator in 2010 for one more term. In whatever political role he has filled, Coats continually champions pro-life and pro-marriage values.
As a Republican, Coats’s sharp intellect and disarming humor won over many Democrats, especially those with a common fiscally conservative perspective. Vice President Mike Pence, a lifelong friend of Coats, says, “To know Dan and Marsha is to know people of deep faith . . . with a servant’s heart. Their desire to live out servant-leadership each and every day has been evident in everything they’ve done.” Coats models integrity and challenges others: “Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battleground of character.”
Scott Pruitt loves to talk politics, baseball, and Jesus. He’s experienced victory as an Oklahoma State Senator and Attorney General, but has also known defeat in his campaigns for Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor and Congress. At one time, he dreamed of being a major league baseball player, but instead, he now serves as the new Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Pruitt was born and raised in Kentucky. He entered college on a baseball scholarship and earned a degree in political science from the small, evangelical Georgetown College. He received his law degree from the University of Tulsa. He serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, OK, which he and his family have been attending for nearly 30 years.
In a recent interview with CBN, Pruitt’s pastor, Rev. Nick Garland, spoke highly of Pruitt’s solid Christian faith, saying he has always shown a keen “Biblical insight into something he’s facing.” He noted that Pruitt’s understanding of Scripture is rooted in his relationship with God. Bob Wagoner, a fellow deacon and former campaign director for Pruitt, says, “He’s really a man of prayer. . . . Every step he took . . . he felt like God was directing him.” A trustee for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Pruitt challenges believers to know and live by the Word. “A Christian worldview means that God has answers to our problems. And part of our responsibility is to convey to those in society that the answers that He has, as represented in Scripture, are important and should be followed, because they lead to freedom and liberty.”
Reprinted with permission from Intercessors for America