America Needs to Turn Toward God, Pawlenty Tells Iowans

The solution to America’s economic and other woes lies in the country’s return to God, Tim Pawlenty said while addressing a Christian gathering in Iowa Saturday amid preparations for a debate and the Ames Straw Poll.

The number one priority for America is that “we need to be a nation that turns toward God, not away from God,” former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty told a gathering of hundreds at the Spirit Midwest music festival at Jordan Park Camp Saturday, The Des Moines Register reported.

Pawlenty said 2 Chronicles was “a great passage for healing this country.”

“If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I’ll hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land,” Pawlenty said, trying to quote the Old Testament passage from memory.

The 51-year-old presidential candidate said economic discouragement and other issues of the day included financial services company Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the U.S. government’s credit rating Friday.

“We’re gathered here today with a lot of challenges facing our nation, and we need to remember that no matter how much discouragement there may be in the economy or other issues facing our country, let’s remember where our hope and our help really comes from,” Pawlenty was quoted as saying.

Earlier Saturday, Pawlenty told a gathering at a Republican party office in the town of Grinnell that “what we should be talking about is downgrading Barack Obama from president of the United States,” referring to America’s new credit rating.

President Obama, Pawlenty said, didn't understand the importance of the full faith and credit in the U.S. government. “He needs to be reminded and we need to have a president who understands that we need to put our full faith and credit in the American people.”

Pawlenty also warned Iowans against nominating a wrong candidate. All Republican candidates would talk about the need to cut spending and change Washington, but “we need to make sure we’ve got a candidate who has the experience, the record and the sturdiness” to beat Obama, Washington Examiner quoted him as saying.

Pawlenty and some other presidential hopefuls are speaking to evangelical and other Christians, who are in large numbers in Iowa, as part of their campaigns. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is likely to run for president, led a prayer rally of over 20,000 people in Houston Saturday. Rep. Michele Bachmann Friday announced endorsement for her presidential run from over 100 pastors and Christian leaders from Iowa.

Last month, Pawlenty’s campaign released a video on featuring the presidential candidate and his wife, Mary, talking about their faith and opposition to gay marriage and abortion. The video also urges viewers to register for the Ames Straw Poll scheduled for Aug. 13.

Pawlenty also told Christian Broadcasting Network in June that his wife led him to the Lord and that his faith played an important role in his life. “She led me to the Lord and was a powerful leader and mentor in that journey for me. I was raised a Catholic, and Mary and I met…she came from a Baptist tradition. So as we were getting married, we got serious about that…I wanted to reconcile our faith lives and she did too. So I started attending her church,” Pawlenty was quoted as saying.

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