Leon Benjamin is the senior pastor of New Life Harvest Church, former Richmond GOP Party Chairman, and a candidate for Virginia’s fourth Congressional district. In an interview at the Chesterfield GOTV rally last Sunday, he told The Virginia Star how being a pastor prepared him for politics.
“I’ve been pastor for 18 years and I’ve served in that capacity,” Benjamin said. “My purpose is always the same thing, my purpose is Christ, but my calling is whatever He wants me to do.”
“I’m not saying the confidence was always there, but God had to prepare me,” Benjamin said.
“I believe first and foremost [in] dealing with things like integrity, being honest, truthful. We [pastors] don’t always get it right, but we have to admit when it’s not right, let’s fix it.” Benjamin said, “Pastoring also gives the heart for people. Please don’t get into this job if you don’t like people. It’s about sometimes even looking to really hear what’s going on, so good listening.”
“Benjamin said, “Sometimes, you can’t say anything until you’ve rightfully listened to what the person is actually saying. So I want to be able to serve the constituents of the fourth Congressional district that same way, because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
“As I served in the pulpit, I’m serving in the House of Representatives. It’s a calling, it’s not just a job, it’s a calling,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin said his opponent incumbent Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) has not had the same mindset. “He’s not been accessible, he’s not been there for the people, and he’s not been around.”
“Throughout this whole race I’ve been sensing that we need to be able to let the people know that you do have a voice in Washington D.C.,” Benjamin said. “You’re not going to be forgotten.”
Benjamin said pastors shouldn’t avoid politics.
“I think politics and religion should have never been looked upon as being separate you know, separation of church and state. That’s not what the letters of Thomas Jefferson were about. They were about not making a one-religion government only, one state religion,” Benjamin said.
“You know people have the freedom to worship wherever they want to worship, but please don’t deny my freedoms to worship who I want to worship. Don’t penalize me because I want to worship Jesus Christ.”
Benjamin continued, “So, I think pastors really need to start looking again at what they are really saying when they say we shouldn’t get involved in politics. Your whole church is set up like government.”
“The word government is in the Bible,” Benjamin said. “So it’s not something we should look upon as being [separate] but something that is joined.”
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