Attorney Gary Bennett, Pastor Dan Cummins and Dr. Craig Mitchell would like to invite all local pastors, and anyone else interested in understanding the freedoms and liberties concerning church, to the Freedom and Power from the Pulpit event. It has been scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

The roundtable discussion and luncheon will be used to provide information to pastors and others in attendance about the freedoms and liberties they have concerning politics and religion. Event coordinator Penny Story said there has been a lot of misinformation concerning what pastors can and can't do in the pulpit as it relates to politics.

“With the exception of endorsing a particular candidate, pastors have the legal right to say and do anything they want,” Story said. “Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and out of fear, many pastors have gotten away from that.”

She said with the information provided by each speaker, pastors should be able to walk away knowing they no longer have to back down when it comes to political and moral issues.

Bennett's topic of discussion will be Church vs State: Separate or Protected. He is the chairman of the Center for the Preservation of American Ideals. He heads up the founding membership of this new nonprofit with the goal to be “salt and light in a dark world.” He is also a senior partner with the law firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson. He works with legislatures, governors, mayors and finance directors on issues involving government finance.

Story said Bennett is going to set the record straight as it pertains to the “separation of church and state.”

“That phrase is nowhere in our Constitution,” she said. “It generated from a Baptist pastor who wrote a letter to other pastors about the church's role. This letter has been used as a negative tool far tool long.”

Cummins’ topic is going to be Bankruptcy of Church and State: When Clergy is Blind and Justice Isn’t.

“The clergy has become blind when it comes to morality and other issues,” Story said. “We're being deceived and that must stop. I believe Pastor Cummins is going to help remove the veil that has been over the eyes of so many pastors and shed some light on this important issues”

Cummins is the founding pastor of Bridlewood Church in Bullard, Texas. He is the director of church relations for Renewing American Leadership (ReAL) in Washington, D.C.

He is a national leader in the Pulpit Freedom Sunday initiative working with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF formerly Alliance Defense Fund) of Scottsdale, Ariz.

This year more than 1,650 pastors in all 50 states participated in a movement to overturn The Johnson Amendment (1954), which places political speech restrictions on pastors. He was the originator and organizer of the historic prayer event, Washington – A Man of Prayer, held in Statuary Hall on May 8, 2012, in the U.S. Capitol.

For the first time in 100 years a private Christian organization (Come Pray With Me) was granted permission by Speaker of the House John Boehner to conduct a prayer event for members of Congress in the Great Hall. The event was congressionally sponsored by Representative Louie Gohmert (R) of Texas. It was recorded by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

Cummins is also the founder of Come Pray With Me, an organization that mobilizes churches to pray for a spiritual awakening in America. He is an author, communicator, event organizer and guest speaker at TEA Party and Grassroots America We the People events.

“Dr. Craig Mitchell will speak on the three liberties,” Story said. “He is going to talk about the importance of civil, economic and religious liberties as it relates to the church.”

Mitchell is the assistant professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has a PhD in Christian ethics and philosophy of religion from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is the author of two books, “Charts of Christian Ethics” (Zondervan 2006) and “Charts of Philosophies and Philosophers” (Zondervan 2007), as well as numerous articles. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in economics at the University of Texas at Arlington. As a former U.S. Air Force officer and engineer, he was a test engineer and test director for various aircraft and spacecraft.

This is a free event and a complimentary lunch will be provided for all who RSVP. To reserve a spot, call Penny Story at 972-839-8877 or email pennystory@rocketmail.com.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.