“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine
“I’m proud to call him my pastor,” said Mike Spencer, “Shawn is our Peter Muhlenberg.”
Two months ago, Pastor Shawn Meyer stepped out of his pulpit, loaded the family in the van and headed to South Carolina to take a position as a Field Director for the Cruz Campaign. Spencer, the acting interim pastor of Aletheia Christian Church went on to say, “He’s not like other pastors who take a leave to go on vacation or to recharge, he’s not taking a sabbatical to take a break but to fulfill a duty.”
“I’m not looking to forsake the pulpit and take a job in politics,” said Meyer, “I didn’t leave the church for my dream job — I left my dream job to do something I needed to do because time is short and this crisis is imminent.”
It turns out, Spencer’s reference to John Peter Muhlenberg, the iconic pastor of the Revolutionary era who famously ended his message one Sunday by stepping away from the lectern and removing his black robe only to reveal the uniform of an officer in the Colonial Army is quite fitting. Pastor Meyer actually received the John Peter Muhlenberg Award in 2015 from The Citizens for Community Values. The honor recognized Meyer as the one pastor in all of Ohio who best represented the courage and leadership in keeping with the namesake of the award.
“I’ve always had a deep respect for the sons of Issachar,” says Meyer, “We are at a crisis point in our country and if we don’t do something now, our freedoms may be lost for good.”
When asked, “Why now and why Cruz?” Meyer responded, “Two things: we’ve been politically active in the past, involved to some extent but this is a different situation. The last 7 years, the foundations have been severely damaged so the situation is more critical but the candidate is far more ideal. We haven’t had a principled conservative with a proven record with the guts, the brains, and a viable chance of winning since Ronald Reagan.”
But with other conservative candidates who threw their hat in the ring this go around — Huckabee, Santorum, Rubio, and Carson – all popular with the faith coalition, how is it that Meyer settled on Cruz?
“There are candidates who say the right things, but don’t take action,” says Meyer, “Cruz is a doer and not merely a talker. He is exceptional in his conservative pedigree with a principal commitment to our Constitution…and he’s not afraid to call out his own party when they’re in the wrong.”
I’ve found this is a recurring theme among the Evangelicals who have endorsed the Senator from Texas. Cruz is cut straight from the cloth of Washington’s Farewell Address, with devotion to country “trumping” party allegiance. This is the mark of a statesman. “I wouldn’t have done this for any other candidate, I’m not crazy,” adds Meyer, “but if you vote for any candidate other than Cruz – you are crazy!”
Shawn’s wife, Kay, shares the same devotion to the candidate and the cause, “As a family, we believe this is a vital campaign. It’s hard for me to think about not doing something. Shawn and I want our children to know that when we heard the call, we did everything that we could to fight for faith and freedom.”
A throwback to Abigail Adams, Kay is every bit the campaign operative that her husband is and when it comes to political campaigns she actually has more experience. And while the family downplays the sacrifice as the least they can do, it is a struggle for any family to take minimal pay and juggle a mortgage and rent, and to leave your home to work for 12 to 14 hours a day. The kids sacrificed too — giving up this year’s hockey season, even though they seemed more distraught over missing a hunting season. Yet not one of the children complained but were happy to share in the fight.
A homeschool family, the Meyers took the show on the road and their children are getting quite the civics lesson. While the whole family has pitched in, Abe, Ethan, and Titus – the Meyer’s teen boys, just may be America’s Sons of Issachar. “The boys are Shawn’s best volunteers,” adds Kay, “As High School interns, they’ve learned a lot from this experience.”
“This is the hardest that I’ve ever worked,” said Abe, “but I’ve learned a lot. Especially about the other candidates.” Handling the phones and talking door to door is just some of the work that the boys are helping with and there’s no substitute for the experience that they’ll take away.
“There are a lot of undecideds,” says Ethan, “Some aren’t willing to commit until they get to the polls.”
“Yeah, People are saying that they’ll figure it out when they get to the polls,” adds Titus, “The Trump supporters are the most difficult,” says Ethan, “they don’t really respond to facts, they just think that because he speaks his mind, he’ll be a good candidate.”
I must say, as a fellow pastor, Shawn is one of my heroes. I hold up this family as an example to the rest of us of what the spiritually mature will do when the foundations are assailed on their watch. As Nehemiah would have us, with one hand on the trowel and another on the sword we fight for our wives, our children, and our homes.
And “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”