This church stands for values

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click to enlarge Northside Baptist Church, Charlotte. - Jim Stawniak
Jim Stawniak
Northside Baptist Church, Charlotte.

The South goes to church, and there's plenty of them, from small country clapboard chapels to giant sanctuaries in the cities. Here's a few words from three congregations.

At the Northside Baptist Church in Charlotte, we find:

Harvey Gouch, real estate investor, church member for 43 years: "This church stands for values. We're against abortion, we think homosexuality is a sin. Oh, yes, that's where we stand."

Mary Suits, Wachovia employee: "I love God. I love Him. If I die today, I know I'm saved. God knows what I've been through, and it's been a lot, and I can bring all of that here."

Roland Stables, lighting director for the church: "We do have Democrats, some running for office. And we have members of the Green Party. But 80 percent of this church will vote Republican."

Everett Lovett, retired: "I'm here because the word of God is explained so that it's easy to understand."

Rev. Ben Rudolph, youth minister: "The difference between knowing God and KNOWING God is going to the wilderness."

About 350 miles away in Florida, between Sopchoppy, Panacea and Alligator Point, the little Mission by the Sea sits on a marshy gulf inlet.

Robert Walsh runs a janitorial service and has just returned from a church mission to provide aid to hurricane victims in Pensacola: "I met a guy who had lost everything. All that was left was his van, and that's where he was living. He was leaning over a push broom crying his eyes out."

Bill Kimbrough, who drives from Valdosta to attend church: "This church is a little of the true South. Sure, there are a lot of differences in people. But we all take care of each other."

Rev. Ed McNeely: "The failure of ancient Israel is our failure today as a nation. Israel stayed too close to the unbelievers they were supposed to drive out. They trusted in themselves and not their God, and they suffered. We don't have to do that."

Near Daytona is the little hamlet of Cassadaga and the 110-year-old Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. We visit the Colby Memorial Temple.

Dr. James Thomas, who after delivering "messages" from folks who have "crossed over" has this to say about politics: "I see a violet flame coming over the U.S. We must change it to a fire. See the fire coming down over the U.S. to get rid of negativity. People who are in the light know why there is cleansing going on. Look at what's happening in this country."

Don Zanghi, spiritual healer: "We should send healing to the world, to the earth and our fellow men. We need to look beyond nations. It's not us and them."

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