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Wicker curries faithful favor in campaign stop

Sen. Roger Wicker made another campaign visit to BrookhavenWednesday morning, this time to court the favor of thefaithful.

At a lunchtime gathering of local ministers from Lincoln andsurrounding counties, Wicker quoted the Bible and recounted hisvoting record on evangelical issues like abortion, gay marriage andstrengthening the family.

“As a public official, it’s important for me to listen to whatthey have to say,” Wicker said of the ministers. “I need that pointof view. Anyone in office would do well to have the perspective ofthe ministers.”

Wicker, who has been a Sunday school teacher for 25 years, saidhe believes himself to be in the mainstream of MississippiChristian thought and has proved it during his service as a statesenator, congressman and recently appointed U.S. senator. He hasdone so by sponsoring bills – some successful and some not – thatattempted to ban embryonic stem cell research, define marriage asbeing between a man and a woman and ensure the presence of “In GodWe Trust” on U.S. currency.

“It’s important that we not lose sight of the fact that we’reone nation under God,” Wicker said. “It’s displayed in the Houseand the Senate. But there are people in Washington who are sopolitically correct that they want to take those banners down.”

Wicker disparaged over the disappearance of “In God We Trust”from the face of the new $1 coins and touted a House bill heauthored that would withhold funding from the U.S. Mint unless theslogan was returned to the face of the coins. While the slogan hasbeen printed around the edge of the $1 coins, Wicker said theforthcoming series of coins would be back to normal.

“The bill wasn’t the vehicle we needed, but we got the word tothe mint,” he said.

Wicker also explained his support for welfare reform asfamily-centered. He said critics of his plan claimed the proposedreform would be destructive to the American family.

“What could be more destructive to the family than the system wehad?” Wicker asked. “It destroyed the family. It pays people tohave extra children out of wedlock and pays extra money for thedaddy to be gone. The U.S. needs to do what we can do to strengthenthe family.”

Wicker said he supports the creation of insurance tax credits tocreate a competitive environment among insurance companies toprovide affordable health care for families.

Wicker was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Haley Barbourfollowing Trent Lott’s resignation last year. Wicker faces formerGov. Ronnie Musgrove in November general election to serve theremainder of Lott’s term.