At Kidwell rally, prayer is front and center

By on September 25, 2022

(Left to right) State Representative Edward Goodwin; State Treasurer Dale Folwell; Representative Keith Kidwell and Viki Kidwell. (Photos by Kip Tabb).
Laura Singletary, President of the League of Women’s Voters, speaks of the importance of acceptance. (Photos by Kip Tabb)
Mike Parsons of Kill Devil Hills sounds a shofar over the gathering. (Photos by Kip Tabb)
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Following concerns about holding a prayer rally on the steps of the Dare County Courthouse, State Representative Keith Kidwell held the rally in the parking lot of the Dare County Administration Building at the originally scheduled time of noon on Sept. 24. Estimates put the crowd size around 70.

Originally scheduled as a Save the Nation Prayer Rally sponsored by the Dare County GOP, the party announced it was postponing the event due to the threat of a potential lawsuit over the issue of separation of church and state. At that point, Kidwell quickly stepped in to hold his event.

Although the rally included District 1 State Representative Edward Goodwin and State Treasurer Dale Folwell, Kidwell and the other elected officials did not ask for votes or discuss policy issues. Nonetheless, politics were part of the backdrop for comments from elected officials and audience members who came to the microphone to share their thoughts.

In his opening remarks, Kidwell, who will represent the southern part of Dare County in the new District 79 House seat, offered a prayer that framed the day as a chance to express his belief of how important religion was to the founding of this nation, and how important it continues to be today.

“We praise God for all the blessings of this life. And we praise Him for the United States of America which was a nation founded by His people in His name because this country would not exist were it not for God Almighty,” he said.

A pastor that was introduced by Kidwell as his friend tied together the idea of religion and governance.

“It’s important to me to find leaders to elect in our communities that will not separate their Christianity from their legislative duties,” he said.

In his remarks, Kidwell connected his faith to those of others, addressing concerns that this event was strictly about Christianity.

“The comment was made, ‘Would you, representative, want this to happen if Muslims…wanted to do it, or Jewish, or Satanists?’ Ladies and gentlemen, I’m gonna tell you right now…I am there to defend the rights of everybody,” he declared.

“This country was founded, I believe, on Christian values, and a Christian life. But our founders even said, any faith you choose is up to you,” he added. “And I will defend that right regardless of what your faith is, because the moment I try to infringe on yours, as people have tried to do for us today, then you can infringe on mine…”

His observation followed remarks from Laura Singletary, President of the Dare County League of Women’s Voters.

Singletary was wearing a small backpack with the words, “Black Lives Matter” embroidered on it. With Kidwell inviting any who wished to speak to come forward, she took the opportunity to note that someone told her they did not agree with the sentiment on her backpack.

“I wanted to be here today to share this common ground with all of you and to meet my new representative. And so I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” Singletary said. “One person said to me today Black lives don’t matter, and as a person of faith, that hurt my heart and so I urge all of us to care for the lesser, to reach out to the child, and to open our hearts and our minds to everyone even if they don’t go to our church.”

The meeting lasted a little more than an hour, a time filled with song, prayer and testimony from a number of residents including Dare County Commissioner Ervin Bateman. Perhaps the most interesting use of music came as Mike Parsons of Kill Devil Hills sounded the shofar as he asked a blessing over all the political leaders at the gathering.

“I would ask all of you who are in authority in terms of government to come here in the middle, and we’re going to pray over you,” he said. “I’m going to blow the shofar over you.”

The shofar is the traditional horn of celebration and blessing for Jewish holidays. Made from the hollowed-out horn of a kosher animal—usually a ram—its sound is piercing and carries a long distance.

As the gathering came to a close, Kidwell drew attention to the controversy over the event, noting that God is the master of unintended consequences.

“I really suspect that maybe only eight or ten of us may have showed up here today had it not been for the kerfuffle that went on in the last couple of days,” he said. “God works in mysterious ways. So I want to thank those who tried to stop us because they strengthened our resolve.”





  • Mike Parsons

    You know, if you have enough courage listen to this song by Shilo Ben Hod from Israel.

    They are some of the many Jewish people who celebrate the Feast of Taberacles or Sukkot and other Jewish feasts with us. I have enjoyed worshipping these Feasts with both Jews and gentiles here in America and in Israel. I have even blown the Shofar with a member of the Cohen family. If you understand what that means. The Jews I know in America and the ones I have met in Israel have my views more than yours. You are welcome to your views and we are welcome to ours. It is about freedom and the right to choose. They understand that.

    Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 4:51 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Mike, I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this page, but after this post, we are officially ending the theological discussion about you blowing the shofar

    Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 10:11 pm