The 2016 session of the Virginia General Assembly began last Wednesday as the House of Delegates and Senate convened in Richmond to address policy matters and budgetary issues for the Commonwealth’s next biennium. As I begin this my second term as your state representative, I do so with a recognition of the great privilege to serve as we exercise our right to self-government.
Prior to taking my oath of office on the House floor, I again this year attended the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast where I was pleased to be joined with several local leaders from our region. This was the 50th annual prayer breakfast in Virginia, which is patterned after the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and is designed to bring together leaders who wish to seek God’s guidance and strength as we begin our lawmaking endeavors. This year’s event was themed “Reconciliation and Peacemaking” and featured the comments of acclaimed Christian apologist, Dr. Ravi Zacharias, whose message was both moving and timely.
In particular, Zacharias warned of an increasingly troubled society that abandons the discipline of moral reasoning. Analogizing civilization to flora, the great orator identified culture as the branches that sprout from the country’s laws, which, like unto the roots of a tree, need the nutrients found in its surrounding soil. Moral understanding is that soil, he said, which if lacking, fail to produce the good, beautiful and true.
For generations, Americans have enjoyed the fruits of a remarkable constitutional order whose laws were nourished by a powerful moral consensus defining Western civilization. Yet today, there can be little doubt that our nation suffers from pervasive moral ambiguity and confusion across many sectors. In the past year, a majority on the United States Supreme Court imposed a radical redefinition of marriage not experienced anywhere until this generation. Islamic terrorists, radicalized within our very borders, brought devastation to innocent civilians during the holidays. Racial discord has increased as many politicians sought to divide different peoples against each other. And the liberties of law-abiding citizens have been challenged as civil government overstepped its bounds.
It is my prayer, that we as a free people renew our resolve to building again the moral consensus that supports our constitutional system of laws. The message of Dr. Zacharias offered hope that peace and reconciliation can be had by people who remember their history and take the best lessons from it.
In the weeks ahead, I will again this year give my attention to promoting the best climate for growth in Southside’s economy and job market. I will continue my efforts to support small businesses and seek ways to improve our infrastructure and roads. But I have also decided to give attention to the first principles defining freedom in Virginia, by advancing measures to strengthen religious liberty and the right of conscience. With your continued support, I happily look forward to those opportunities.
Delegate Les R. Adams
16th House District