Rep. Norma Champion represents
District 134 in the Missouri House of Representatives. Champion is professor
of broadcasting and communication theory at Evangel University in Springfield,
Mo. She served as a writer, producer and host of Childrens
Hour for KYTV in Springfield from 1957-1986. Champion received her
master of arts in communication from Southwest Missouri State University
and her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. She is the widow of Richard
Champion, former editor in chief of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Champion spoke recently with Scott Harrup, associate editor.
EVANGEL: How can believers influence
the political world?
They must understand how the system works at the city council, state
and federal levels. Unless believers understand at what point their
input will be heard and when they can make a difference, they may feel
like the whole process is a maze. They should know when hearings take
place and when and how they can approach a legislator with a bill proposal.
Believers should work for candidates
they can endorse, and support them financially and spiritually. And
they need to consider running for office themselves. Get involved on
the local level by working on committees. What citizens committees
are in your community? Local governments are looking for good people
who will take an interest. Its hard work, but the Christian who
is in place and helping where needed can make a difference. Its
important to be consistent, rather than trying to jump in only when
there is a moral issue that raises concerns.
EVANGEL: What circumstances led
you into politics?
CHAMPION: God was probably
preparing me for it all my life. We dont always realize His preparation.
For example, I hosted Childrens Hour and spent 29 years
working in the Springfield community with families. That helped prepare
me when the opportunity came to run for city council. The mayor asked
me to run when the Springfield News-Leader printed the story
about the show going off the air. I dont think anyone would have
thought of me had it not been for the attention given to Childrens
Hour. My city council experience prepared me to run for state representative.
Im now planning to run for state senate. I had never dreamed of
being in the political arena, but the preparation was there. God had
a plan, and each piece helped support the next.
EVANGEL: What connection do you
see between your faith in Jesus Christ and your service as a state representative?
CHAMPION: My service fully
represents my faith in Christ. In His parable about the sheep and the
goats in Matthew 25, Jesus distinguished true believers by their willingness
to serve other people and show His love to them. Political service is
one way of helping people with their everyday problems. Paul the apostle
talked about our different talents and how we are to use them. I believe
he meant for believers to use those talents out in the world and not
just in the church. So, for me, its not a matter of trying to
reconcile my political service with my service to Christ. My political
service is how I serve Christ.
EVANGEL: How would you respond
to an unbeliever who claimed that your faith biased your decisions against
CHAMPION: The Christians
responsibility is to show love to others and treat all people fairly
and equitably. Government provides certain services for people that
they cannot provide for themselves and provides legislation that protects
people from each other. I see my job as a legislator to protect everybodys
freedoms. That goes for the unborn child who needs to be protected from
having his life taken by somebody else, and that goes for the unbeliever
who should be free not to believe. We cant force others to serve
God. God himself gives each of us the freedom to choose to serve Him
or not. As a legislator, by actively working to help people deal with
their problems, I hope that they will see Christ through me.
EVANGEL: The Bible calls on believers
to pray for our leaders. Any thoughts on that subject?
CHAMPION: Pray that God would
give our leaders wisdom. Pray that God will give you wisdom to know
whom to vote for and how to relate to leaders. Pray for enemies as well
as friends; the Scripture does not say to just pray for leaders you
agree with. If you pray that God will help a leader you disagree with,
then He will help that leader to do a better job. And if you continue
to disagree with those in leadership, pray that God will give you the
wisdom to help elect spiritual men and women.