By Matthew Rothschild on March 07, 2011

The dogmatic unwillingness of Wis. Gov. Scott Walker to negotiate or to compromise with Democrats or unions has surprised many people in the state. One explanation for his attitude may be found in his religious convictions.

In a talk to the Christian Businessmen's Committee in Madison on November 13, 2009, Walker, who was raised by a Baptist preacher, spoke about his personal relationship with God, his "walk to Christ," and his belief in the need to "trust and obey" the Lord.

He told the group that when he was thirteen, he committed himself to Jesus. "I said, 'Lord, I'm ready ... not just in front of my Church and the world but most importantly at the foot of your Throne, I'm ready to follow you each and every day.... I have just full out there said, 'I'm going to trust in you Christ to tell me where to go. And to the best of my ability I'm going to obey where you lead me,' and that has made all the difference in the world to me, for good times and bad."

Walker said that God has told him what to do every step of the way, including about what jobs to take, whom to marry, and when to run for governor.

When he had first met his wife, he said, "That night I heard Christ tell me, 'This is the person you're going to be with.'"

He said he was trusting and obeying God when he took a job at IBM and then at the Red Cross. ""Lord, if this is what you want, I'll try it," he said. It was all about "trust and obey."

Then he recalled how he got into the race for governor in 2006, only to withdraw, which he said was a difficult decision.

"My wife and I prayed on it," he said. "I remember feeling so torn: I just didn't want to let people down. I said, "Lord, I can't do this. I can't let people down."

But he says he found divine guidance from the daily devotion, which "was about a guy who was a sailor. One of his buddies came along, they were in choppy waters, and the guy was throwing up. He was told, stop looking at the waves, find a point on the horizon. And he did this and it worked."

Walker explains the meaning: "I was focused all too much on the choppy waters of my life, about how uneasy it would be to look people in the face. I wasn't trusting and obeying my Savior. That morning Christ said to me through that devotion, 'This is what you're going to do. Look at me. Find that point on the horizon, and you're going to be just fine.'"

He added: "God had a plan further down the road. Little did I know I just had to trust in Christ and obey what he calls me to do and that was going to work out."

He then qualified that statement a little: "I don't mean that means it's going to work out for a win.... I don't believe God picks sides in politics. I believe God calls us to be on His side."

He urged everyone in the room "to turn your life over 100 percent to what Christ tells you what to do."

Once you do that, he said, your life will be complete:

"The way to be complete in life is to fully and unconditionally turn your life over to Christ as your personal lord and savior and to make sure that every step of every day is one that you trust and obey, and keep looking out to the horizon to the path that Christ is calling you to follow and know that ultimately he's going to take you home both here at home and ultimately far beyond."

Fourteen months later, at his inaugural prayer breakfast, Walker said, "The Great Creator, no matter who you worship, is the one from which our freedoms are derived, not the government."

Walker's views disturb Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

"It is frightening that the highest executive in our state suffers from the delusion that God dictates his every move," she says. "Consider the personal and historic devastation inflicted by fanatics who think they are acting in the name of their deity."

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Jim DeMint, Take Note: Union Rights Enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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Dubbed “Ferguson to Madison,” the rally drew striking social parallels between the two cities.

Every 28 hours, a black person is killed by the police in the United States.

Darren Wilson is free to go back to his job policing the citizens of Ferguson, if he wants. Michael Brown is dead...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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