Sunday, February 3, 2008

The stealth candidate for U. S. Senator: Andy Martin; "My faith is my life"

“He works for
the People of Illinois”
Republican for U. S. Senator
Suite 4406
30 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611-4723
(312) 440-4124






(CHICAGO)(February 4, 2008) While many people were preparing to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday I attended the seating of the new Episcopal Bishop of Chicago. Watching the bishop be seated at St. James Cathedral was a very spiritual and deeply moving experience.

And it got me to thinking. Governor Mike Huckabee has been criticized for the remark that “My faith is my life. It defines me.” I feel comfortable making the same statement. Huckabee spent many years as a Baptist minister. I studied for ordination in the Episcopal Church. My own family has roots in the Anglican/Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Greek Orthodox Church. As a child, I worshipped in all three denominations. As an adult I was drawn to my father’s faith in the Anglican (Episcopal) Communion.

Episcopalians are not usually thought of as an “evangelical” denomination. But in practice we are. We are out and about the world giving aid where help is desperately needed, responding to the admonitions of Jesus to tend to both the worldly and spiritual needs of humanity. I have volunteered in homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

Ultimately I decided not to pursue ordination; there was a surplus of priests in my diocese and it made no sense to add another priest when Christ needed people who could confront the principalities and powers in the secular world.

But if you step back for a moment and review my colorful life, a life that sometimes confuses, sometimes disrupts, sometimes distracts and occasionally even derails those who encounter me on the campaign trail, there is an evangelical element to my life’s work.

Beginning as a young law student in Champaign, I have fought against corruption for over forty years. I have exposed the arrogance and corruption of our court system, turning over the tables of those who used the courts to prey on the public. I have often forced judges to do the right thing (the persistent widow). And I have always made time to help the poor, helpless and abused. Civil rights and human rights are central to my life.

My inbox almost every day has messages from those seeking assistance with miscarriages of justice. I’m not perfect, but I do my best to help whenever I can. Even in the middle of a statewide campaign I try to make time to answer calls for help.

In this sense, I am something of a “stealth” candidate. If you were to ask most Republicans what comes to mind when they hear my name, “evangelical Christian” would not be at the top of anyone’s list. My faith is considerably quieter than that of candidates who are more vocal but perhaps not as active as I have been in addressing the need for public service in the world. Every Sunday my campaign stops for church.

As the many visiting guests entered in the Bishop’s procession today, religious leaders from many faiths and denominations, priests and rabbis, and perhaps leaders of other faiths, I thought of the great gift we have in this nation. Freedom to worship. Freedom to believe. Freedom to be different. And, yes, even freedom to disagree. Episcopalians face many challenges in our denomination. There are very heated battles over what faith means and what faith requires. There have even been lawsuits and unpleasant separations. Heaven knows that church politics can sometimes be as contentious as or more so than public politics.

Faith always raises challenges, within and without. It calls us to remember the poor, the ill, the homeless and helpless. It calls us to have the unborn in our minds every day. I wrestle with my belief structure of faith on the one hand and the conflicting needs of a society that is neutral on religion, and properly so, on the other.

Finally, Jesus always calls us to humility. There is, of course, an obvious conflict between being a chest-thumping candidate for public office and living a life of humility. The tension is constant. Christ is a relentless presence.

If there is one factor that characterizes much of Washington and the U. S. Senate today, it is a sense of arrogance and corruption, a sense of entitlement, a sense of contempt for the governed that is manifested every day.

During a campaign, candidates are always called on to make promises: promise this, promise that, declare your stand, and so on. I have not made many promises, purposefully so. But if I am called on February 5th to be the Republican Party’s candidate for United States Senator, I will make one special and spiritual commitment on February 6th. That one and only promise to Illinoisans during the fall campaign will be to proceed with humility. I will listen carefully to every point of view.

Faith will be central to my efforts to make America an ever better and even more munificent and magnificent nation in which to live and serve.

Then, as now, “my faith will be my life.” It will define me as I campaign, and it will define my service if the People call me to Washington. As I confront the cabals and querulousness of the senate I will ask the People of Illinois to pray for me. Whether they worship God, or do not worship at all, they can say a voluntary prayer or supplication for a successful period of public service on their behalf.

My own letterhead carries the line “He Works for the People of Illinois.” That phrase highlights the fact that public service is central to my life.

The new bishop reminded us Sunday that all of us who are Christians work for Christ. It was a humbling reminder, and one I will take with me on the campaign trail on February 6th. God willing.

© Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (312) 440-4124. Web site: Also:;

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