U.S. Senate candidate said he was called to law and politics to protect religious freedoms

What path will you take in life? U.S. Senate candidate and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley posed the question during chapel Wednesday, Oct. 3 on the Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU) campus.

Hawley talked with students and others about how his faith led him down his career path, and he challenged students to follow where their faith takes them. Hawley sang along and listened to musical performances from the HLGU choir and orchestra before his introduction by HLGU President Dr. Anthony Allen. He recalled how he considered what the future would hold during his college years, and how his faith in God led the way.

As a sophomore, Hawley read from the first book of Ephesians that God plans “something big,” which affirmed his decision to enter the legal profession and politics with the intent of protecting religious freedoms.

“God's plan, pursued across history, is to bring together heaven and earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ,” he said, stressing the dedication such a calling requires.

“You all know that there's a difference between growing up in the faith and believing it and owning it,” he said. “And when you go to college, where you are now, when you face the world as a adult, you've got to decide, is this really true? Am I really going to adhere to it?”

Hawley said he cherishes opportunities for his sons, Elijah, 5, and Blaze, 3, to help him out around the house, because it gives them time to do things together. He reminded each of the students that God looks forward to hearing prayers from his children through a sense of family.

Fifth District State Representative candidate and HLGU professor Louis Riggs said Hawley's message was well-received by the chapel audience.“This is right up our alley,” he said. “We like to hear him talk about his faith walk.”

Junior Gabrielle Wood and Senior Rory Clay echoed Riggs' sentiments.

“It was something that was enlightening for me,” Wood said. “We as people tend to view politicians as people who are corrupt, who don't have morals, who don't believe. And some people will give the facade that they believe, but in all reality they don't.”

She said that she had a very different perception after hearing Hawley speak. “It was really nice to see and hear from Mr. Hawley what he actually believes, and it was nice to be able to relate to him as a sister in Christ, to be able to understand what he was talking about and to relate to him in that way.”

Clay said he is also studying law, and he found comfort in Hawley’s words.

“It also gave me something, this being a really hard time for myself and a lot of others — with so much responsibility being dropped on us so much, we're all growing up at the same time,” Clay said. “And to see somebody who's gone through the same thing we have and come out, and doing so well for themselves, doing what he loves and what God has called him to do, and he is trying to make a change — it gives you hope that this is eventually going to come to an end.”

Wood said Hawley gained her respect, because he chose to speak with students about his faith rather than political issues. “He chose to share the good news of Christ, and that tells me that he's real, that tells me that he really cares about what he believes and that he's not going to be shady like some other politicians that we hear of.”

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com