Conservative Preacher Brings National Movement To Nacogdoches

It is not uncommon to find conservative religious leaders at state capitols and before Congress. Among them is Dr. Rick Scarborough, founder of "Vision America." The movement establishes a bridge between preachers and politics. The outspoken preacher has moved the headquarters to Nacogdoches.

Some would say thick in the middle of the Bible belt is a perfect spot for Dr. Rick Scarborough to lead a national movement of religious activism. Scarborough explained, "The ultimate objective is to make Christians aware that, in fact, they ought to be involved in politics. They ought to be engaging the culture. The failure to do so will bring the morass we're in today."

Scarborough took a break from Capitol Hill and interviews with national media to open his Vision America doors to his East Texas neighbors. They include preachers known as "patriot pastors" who aren't reluctant to bring political issues to the pulpit.

Dr. Allen Reed, pastor at First Baptist Church in Nacogdoches said, "I know there's a controversy over the separation of church and state, but it's separation 'of' church and state, not 'from' church and state. I think we Christians and the churches have a responsibility to become involved."

And involved Scarborough is. Recently Dr. Scarborough was interviewed by a national network about whether or not churches should be reimbursed for expenses to house hurricane evacuees. Scarborough says he doesn't know of any churches seeking funding help, but he doesn't think they should be eliminated from the assistance.

Photographs with President George Bush and many Congressional leaders line his walls. A Time magazine article adorns the hallway, as well as do pictures of him with his best friend, Tom DeLay, who was indicted on money laundering charges this week. Scarborough said DeLay is, "the victim of a witch hunt by an overzealous prosecutor. If the truth comes forth, I believe Tom DeLay will be totally vindicated."

Scarborough is finishing up a book at his Martinsville ranch. Whether writing or on the road, the far right religious leader will form his agenda at the grass roots level. Scarborough promises that, "We plan to dig our heels right here in East Texas and practice what we preach."