Carroll Conley recently joined the Maine Family Policy Council as its new executive director. A native of Maine, Conley understands his audience and the issues; yet, he also brings a fresh perspective to the challenges he will face in defending the biblical concepts of family, faith and freedom.
1. Tell us about the path that ultimately led you to the leadership role of the Maine Family Policy Council.
My first 18 years straight out of college was teaching at Christian schools. I became a headmaster and did that for fourteen years. Our church went through a significant transition from a pretty conservative ministry to a socially relevant model. I was asked to become their performance arts pastor and did that for 10 years. Through that time I went through a very serious study of worship and the idea of social justice and unity within the body of Christ were coming up in my personal studies and a burden on my heart. When this opening became available I was invited to come in as the executive director and knew the Lord had prepared me with my time in Maine and in education and in the church circles to be able to use those relationships and that experience to do this.
2. How has leading a family policy council enhanced your perspective about public policy and about reaching out to Maine families?
I grew up in Maine. I left to go to college and then came back. I was really surprised at what had happened in Maine in regard to the liberality in social issues and in our educational processes. I was frankly very disappointed. But I’m still anecdotally under the impression that there is a conservative but unengaged and immobilized presence in Maine. Right now we have a very strong conservative governor candidate that a lot of people are excited about. We also have for the first time a real chance to take our Senate back. We’re optimistic in seeing that people are tired of what’s been going on in the last 20 years and are hoping for change. Some of that is social. A lot of it is economic. But we’re hoping that some of those social issues will catch that momentum.
3. There are several interpretations of social justice. Please tell us what it means to you.
When Glenn Beck is talking about social justice, he’s talking about the vacuum that the church left –and the government filled in –and that’s the idea of the distribution of wealth and the welfare system that has good intentions, but is certainly the tragedy of American compassion. I’m talking about the biblical view when God clearly tells us to look out for the orphans and the widows. And anytime we got off on worship or a right relationship with God bad things happen. I believe we need to take the moral high ground, because it’s the right thing to do. But, if we’re going to talk about such divisive and personal issues like abortion and sexuality and gender, we better be sure we’re on a platform of compassion and fairness when we deal with those issues and certainly as the Bible defines those things.
4. What can we expect to see from the Maine Family Policy Council in the near future?
With the election there’s another big issue with gambling coming into this state. Maine has been fortunate to keep that out for the most part. That’s going to be a key issue for us. Overall our changes have nothing to do with our positions. But, in the future you will see the Family Policy Council in Maine have a broader scope of issues. We’ve made the mistake by allowing ourselves to be identified with just one or two issues. So probably the most obvious thing people will see is the scope of what we’re addressing and engaging people that maybe traditionally or recently we haven’t stood with on these issues.
5. What keeps you in the fight?
In the ministry of Christ, when Jesus went about doing good, He fed the hungry and healed people. And, when He left, those issues they were still here. I honestly believe that through addressing these civic matters and justice issues, we have an opportunity to glorify God. We don’t take that lightly. That makes me excited to believe that while I’m looking out for the citizens of Maine, in regard to these important issues, Jesus Christ could be lifted up and men could be drawn to Him.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the Maine Family Policy Council.