This isn't your dad's first performance at a Democratic Convention. What's the connection?
I've got to say that it's just God who sets things up. When he played at the last convention, great things came out of it. The sales of the music doesn't support the ministry, God supports it.
Have there been some interesting repercussions since making these political relationships?
Yes! One interesting thing is that we now have a license to go into Cuba and minister, under the banner of the United States of America. We have a right to do anything. We can set up and do outdoor concerts, solely for ministry purposes.
Phil's decision to be a part of the Democratic Convention has been met with somewell, disgust by some Christians
A lot of people are irate that he was there, saying that he supports things that are aren't Christian. We don't stand for abortion or homosexualitya lot of things that are on their agenda. We really prayed a lot about it, and Phil talked to his spiritual counselors about whether to go or not. But we knew we were going to take some hits.
That's got to be frustrating.
Yes, but we believe God called us to go there, although we're not sure all the reasons why. A week before the convetion, Phil got to have dinner with Al Gore for hour and ten minutes, and really had a chance to minister to him from the Word. Telling him things like "the heart of the King is in the hands of God." I have to say that it was really well received and a great time. We went to the convention on the basis that it's better to be in the will of God and have everyone mad at you.
What do you think is at the core of people's quickness to draw Christian or non-Christian dividing lines along political party lines?
Yeah, it seems that Christians have this weird saying that Democrats are going to hell and Republicans are going to heaven. I don't know why. I do know that God is moving, He's doing something. There was one interesting year where my dad played for both the Republicans and the Democrats at different events!
What did Phil plan on doing for his performance?
When he got called to do it, they asked him to do the Battle Hymn and he said no. He wanted to play something that he believed in. So we put together "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" into "God Bless America." But we made time for him to say what he wanted to say in the middle of the song, like 20-30 seconds. We wanted to make it a time of ministry as much as we could. They didn't have the cameras on him on TV, and with all the balloons at the end - it kind of took the effect off.
What would you say to people who don't think your dad should have been there
In Matthew it talks about Jesus sitting down with the tax collectors and sinners, and how criticized He got for that, with people asking Him what He was doing there. His response was that those who are sick need a physician, not the healthy ones. Personally, I don't know who supposed to be in the office, but I believe that God is going to put the right person there. And we probably aren't going to completely understand how He is completing His plan, but He is. I keep asking myself, "How are you going to minister to a man if you're not willing to go where he's at?" I don't think any bad press is doing any of us any good. God doesn't work through condemnation. I believe it's not of God, but that it's of Satan. We're going where God calls us to go, even if we don't agree with everything that they believe.
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