Christian Coalition honors four individuals at banquet

Roger Hedgecock, Bob McClellan, Mark Larson, and Don Smith were honored at the San Diego County Christian Coalition’s “Shine the Light” awards celebration held at Emmanuel Baptist Church on March 1.

Hedgecock was honored for allowing issues of concerned Christians to be discussed through his radio talk show.

Hedgecock, who acknowledged his appreciation of the Christian Coalition honoring a Catholic, addressed claims that Christians in the political process are intolerant. “We are militant against evil. We don’t tolerate evil. That is a part of it that we bring to the show,” he said. “I cannot coexist with anything which deprives me of what our founders call our God-given rights.”

Hedgecock also stressed the need for public officials to maintain moral character. “This insidious idea that there is a division between our personal life and faith and our public life has got to be dashed once and for all.”

Larson also makes his living on the radio airwaves. After 18 years at KFMB, where he became program and operations manager, Larson joined KPRZ in April 1994 as the station’s general manager, adding a weekday afternoon talk show in 1995. Larson, a member of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, is also a frequent guest on pastor David Jeremiah’s “Turning Point,” heard on over 400 radio stations worldwide.

“My personal mission is to kind of confound the so-called experts,” said Larson. “My mission is to put the ‘fun’ in fundamentalist.”

Larson emphasized that opposing vice does not mean abandoning enjoyment in life. “It’s okay to be intolerant of evil,” he said. “All of our missions should be to model as best we can, warts and all, life as it should be.”

Larson remarked that his style allows him to have an impact on listeners. “God gave me the ability to be able to reach people in a creative and fun way,” he said of his current show. “It sure is a lot more fun than playing 12 songs in a row.”

McClellan was best known for his Buick dealership in La Mesa before he met Christian historian and author David Barton in 1991. “David Barton just kind of woke me up, to show me that as a Christian it was all right to be involved.”

Soon after meeting Barton, McClellan joined a new church, and church leaders urged him to run for the El Cajon City Council. McClellan was reluctant, but arm-twisting began and two weeks later he was given a flyer about the Christian Coalition.

“From then on all I wanted to do was Christian Coalition,” said McClellan. “I didn’t want to think about City Council.” McClellan eventually agreed to run for City Council and was elected in June 1992. He was reelected in 1996.

When McClellan remarked that Alice Surmick should receive the award because of her work on the Christian Coalition voter guides while all he did was show up, Don Smith argued that McClellan’s activities go beyond the use of his name.

“He not only has done a tremendous job with bringing pastors into our cause, but without his financial support we would not have 410,000 voter guides for you to distribute.”

Smith, the San Diego County Christian Coalition coordinator, was honored with a surprise award after being called onto the podium to sell raffle tickets.

The audience was also treated to a musical salute to America presented by the Del Cerro Baptist Church of La Mesa and by a keynote speech from Dr. James Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church.

Star Parker, a former welfare queen and the founder of the Coalition of Urban Affairs, presented the awards to the recipients. Parker was one of the first Shine the Light Award recipients in 1994.

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