Archived Story

Much to pray for in our world

Published 8:09am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To the editor:

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

– George Washington


The church has no place in government, which is force, except the right for its voice to be heard in society.

On Monday, Washington’s Birthday celebration day, I was invited to attend the February Polk County Commissioners Meeting to offer the invocation. [That prayer may be seen at]

Honored to do so, I took the opportunity to pray for our nation and our county, its leaders, its citizens and its services to the people.

In that prayer I brought before the Lord and the community both the thanksgivings and the concerns the Holy Church of our Lord Jesus Christ has in present day America.

We have much for which to pray and much toward which to work for the betterment of this world in which we live.

After spending the two hours there that the meeting lasted, I was once again sorry that I had not attended more frequently.

Here was our Polk County neighborhood gathered around elected officials who wield the power of the purse in our little community. No one had a vote but the five commissioners, but everyone in attendance who desired to speak was invited and allowed to do so — without limit to their speaking!

This was an amazing gesture in my view. A couple folks spoke for nearly 10 minutes, I would surmise, without interruption, though they at times brought severe attacks against those before whom they stood.

There was jeering, clapping and cheering, grunts and guffaws at various times, but in mostly an orderly fashion the meeting proceeded and was concluded. I say “mostly” because there was a disrespectful outburst from the crowd once or twice.

It was moving to see individuals address issues that deeply concerned them and could greatly affect them and their property. I was thankful for the willingness of the non-expert to stand — speaking convincingly in my view — and take on those who presented official reports.

The minority voice on the board was heard repeatedly, but with calming effect respectfully acknowledged the right of the majority.

I was impressed both by the amenable nature of the chairman at times and by his inflexibility at others. He showed patience and understanding while at the same time performing his duty as given him by God. Yes, the commissioners as chosen in lawful elections are God’s servants to serve the people of this wonderful county.

I thank them for their service and pray that they be granted wisdom in all things to promote and defend the common good among us.

– Pastor Thomas Olson, Tryon

Editor's Picks

Editorial: Divisive prayer alienated citizens

Everyone deserves the right to free speech. Few will argue this point more staunchly than those who work in the newspaper industry.  Even we have ... Read more  | 2 comments

Bathanti will judge Lanier Library’s poetry competition

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will judge for this year’s Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition. Bathanti is the author of eight books of poetry as ... Read more