Friday, March 8, 2024

Governor DeSantis Sworn in on the Bible of the Revolution

 "Governor DeSantis Sworn in on the Bible of the Revolution"

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
February 2023--Article 41 (2023-02-041)

Doug Stauffer And Governor DeSantis

“Florida is proof positive that ‘We the People’ are not destined for failure. Decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for.” And “fight we must.” This words set the tone for Governor Ron DeSantis’s inauguration speech.

A lot has changed over the past four years, especially in the political landscape of the Sunshine State. Four years ago, Congressman Ron DeSantis pulled out a narrow margin of victory over his opponent (less than one-half of one percent). Four years later, he won a landslide victory of epic proportions, with many Americans referring to him as “America’s Governor.”

January 3, 2023, marked the beginning of his second term as Governor as he and his cabinet took their oaths of office. The cabinet members included: Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez , Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and newly-elected Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson. The ceremony took place on the steps of the iconic Old Capitol in front of an enthusiastic crowd of thousands. Unlike the narrow margin of victory four years earlier, Governor DeSantis won by over 20 percentage points (receiving 1.5 million more votes than Charlie Crist).

The location and the DeSantis victory were historic, as was the Bible used to swear in Governor DeSantis and Lt. Governor Nunez. They were sworn in using the Bible of the Revolution, which the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Congress commissioned over 240 years ago. They placed their hands upon the King James Bible, published by Richard Aitken in 1782, shortly after America won the War of Independence. The “Aitken Bible” was the first and only English edition ever commissioned by the United States.

The overcast day looked ominous, but the good Lord provided clouds for shade, and a wonderful breeze for comfort instead of the rain forecasted. Everyone in the audience enthusiastically hung onto his every word realizing the significance and magnitude. The Governor covered a wide range of topics, none more important than his support of traditional family values.

“Florida must always be a great place to raise a family—we will enact more family-friendly policies to make it easier to raise children, and we will defend our children against those who seek to rob them of their innocence.” These words hardly left his lips before the crowd erupted while jumping to their feet for the first of many standing ovations.

Governor DeSantis promised to continue his fight against the Woke ideology, attempting to gain a foothold in Florida. We reject this woke ideology…We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!” In these regards, he also invoked God and appropriately quoted the Bible: “As the Book of Psalms reminds us, ‘I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.’” He also reminded us, “We embrace our founding creed that our rights are NOT granted by the courtesy of the State, but are endowed by the hand of the Almighty.”

As I have traveled around the United States and outside the continent, people from every corner of the globe applaud Governor DeSantis for standing against the coronavirus-related restrictions and hysteria. His comments reflected this mindset: “Freedom lives here, in our great Sunshine State of Florida! When other states consigned their people’s freedom to the dustbin, Florida stood strongly as freedom’s linchpin. When the world lost its mind–when common sense suddenly became an uncommon virtue–Florida was a refuge of sanity, a citadel of freedom for our fellow Americans and even for people around the world.”

Governor DeSantis also blasted politicians in Washington, calling the Federal government a “sprawling, unaccountable bureaucracy” that “looms over us and imposes its will upon us.”

Governor DeSantis’s first campaign promised to pursue bold agenda items that ensured taxing lightly, regulated reasonably, and spending conservatively. During his first term, he enacted significant education reforms, attempted to reign in judicial activism, ushered in a new era of stewardship for Florida’s natural resources, stood for law and order and remedied deficiencies in Florida’s election administration.

Although far from finished, Governor DeSantis pointed out that Florida is leading the nation in many areas, including net in-migration as the fastest-growing state. We are number one in business formations, tourism,  economic freedom, education freedom, parental involvement in education, and public higher education.

He pointed out, “The policies pursued by these states have sparked a mass exodus of productive Americans from these jurisdictions—with Florida serving as the most desired destination, a promised land of sanity.” He pointed out that other states have embraced faddish ideologies and harmed public safety by coddling criminals and attacking law enforcement. They have imposed unreasonable burdens on taxpayers to finance unfathomable levels of public spending, harmed education by subordinating the interests of students and parents to partisan interest groups, and imposed medical authoritarianism in the guise of pandemic mandates and restrictions lacking scientific basis.

Governor DeSantis’ concluded just as powerfully as he began:“It is our responsibility here in Florida to carry this torch. We do not run from this responsibility; we welcome it. We will be on our guard. We will stand firm in the faith. We will be courageous. We will be strong! And we thank God and are proud to be citizens of the great Free State of Florida!” This speech was about Florida’s past and future, but one could sense that the horizon looks very bright for America’s Governor! I am blessed to call myself a Floridian living in the Free State of Florida. 


 Read the newspaper (page 13)

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings--Are You Sufficiently Compassionate? (part 2)

 "Are You Sufficiently Compassionate?"

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
January 2023--Article 39 (2023-01-039)


A person's actions demonstrate compassion or the lack thereof. Five times, the Bible uses the phrase "moved with compassion." Four of these five references refer to Christ's compassion toward others. They reveal that genuine compassion always moves people to do something for others. In Mark chapter 6, the disciples wanted to send the crowd away hungry, but Christ refused their plea. He would not send them away empty and leave His presence still in need.

In this one example, Christ's compassion fed thousands when others would have sent them away faint and hungry. The Lord not only fed thousands with two small fishes and five loaves of bread but also produced a miraculous amount of leftovers.

The Lord expects His followers to demonstrate the same compassion that He has for His creation. Perhaps, the best biblical example of this type of human compassion is the Samaritan mentioned in Luke chapter 10. The story begins with a man taking a journey to Jericho. On his way, evil men robbed and wounded him. As he struggled for his life, lying on the ground, a priest passed by him. The priest saw the man but passed on the other side. A Levite came and acted the same way.

Then a Samaritan approached the man in need. Unlike the others, this man stopped and helped the injured man. He bound up the man’s wounds, placed him on his beast and took him to an inn. He paid for the room at the inn and offered to pay any additional expenses. Imagine how this type of approach would revolutionize the world.

Another of the familiar parables of the Lord closely associates compassion with forgiveness. A father had two sons. One stayed home with his family and worked the land, while the other son decided to leave and travel the world. Before leaving, he asked for his inheritance and foolishly wasted it. Afterward, he found himself in the middle of a famine broke and starving. At this point, he would have willingly eaten the swine's slop.

Finally, he decided to return home even if it meant that he would become a servant rather than remaining a son. As he neared the old homestead, his father spotted him. His dad wasted no time but ran to meet and embrace him. The father welcomed the repentant son back into his home with a renewed relationship.

The Bible associates love with action and speaks of the believer's love for other believers, relating it to the Lord's crucifixion. If a Christian knows and recognizes the love of God, it will drastically affect his relationships with others. He cannot mimic the world’s actions because the love of God has formed compassion within his heart.

This matter of compassion is so vital to the Lord that He provided believers with a scenario to help judge one's level of compassion. The book of First John says that if a brother has a need, and another brother can help him with his need, yet refuses, he lacks compassion. Therefore, one's deeds, not simply one's words alone, demonstrate true and abiding love!

But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17 ).

(Excerpt from “Daily Strength” Devotional, volume 1 of 4, week 2 by the author) 

 Read the newspaper (page 25)

Monday, March 4, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings--God's Compassion Never Falters or Fails

  "God's Compassion Never Falters or Fails"

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
December 2022--Article 38 (2022-12-038)

God expects every true child of God to demonstrate compassion, but even more impressive is the thought that the Lord Jesus Christ manifested compassion during His earthly ministry. What an amazing truth—the Lord of Glory willingly humbled Himself to suffer with and for others.

One might assume God's compassion only became possible because Christ took the likeness of sinful flesh upon Himself. Yet, the Bible attributes compassion to God before Christ's First Coming. The Old Testament records repeatedly: "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15).

The scripture declares that God was compassionate before the coming of Christ. His First Coming to earth in a body of flesh confirmed that He is a compassionate Saviour. The Coming of Christ, in the likeness of sinful flesh, enabled God the Son to experience humanity's temptations and struggles. The Bible says He was "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15).

Christ's compassion on earth reveals that He suffered WITH man, but more importantly, He suffered FOR man. He took the world's sins upon Himself and gave man His righteousness. One of the most incredible demonstrations of His compassion is that God Himself loved us enough to be housed in a body of flesh.

God's compassion originates from His mercy and grace, and how He deals with man displays this compassion. For example, He is "slow to anger" and "good to all," along with many other manifestations of His character.

The Bible emphasizes the importance of this truth in the book of Psalms by stating that God is "full of compassion" on five separate occasions. God's actions (past, present, or future) can all be traced back to His compassion, including His acts of judgment. When the Bible refers to God's longsuffering, this means He will suffer for a long time before bringing judgment against a person, nation, or the whole world. America is a prime example of God's compassion.

God is a compassionate Lord. The earthly ministry of Christ repeatedly demonstrated this truth. In Luke chapter 7, the Lord entered a city only to find that a widow had also lost her only son to death. It was a sorrowful time for this dear lady. The loss of her husband had been hard to bear, but her son was a daily reminder of the husband whose love she treasured so greatly.

Yet, now the son too was gone. Perhaps the young man worked to help support his mother, but now she was alone without her husband and without their son. Fortunately for this woman, God is rich in mercy. Christ intervened on behalf of the woman, bringing her son back to life. Her tears of mourning turned into tears of joy. Read this testament by God of God: "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

When your heart is pained and the way grows weary, remember the words of the song, "Does Jesus Care?" I promise you He cares, and He will give you relief from that deep grief. Soon, you will be saying, "O, yes, He cares; I know He cares." Christians are not promised an easy life but a relationship with a caring, loving, compassionate Saviour. 

 Read the newspaper (page 25)

Saturday, March 2, 2024

FWB Chamber Honors the Horse Soldiers of ODA 595

 "FWB Chamber Honors the Horse Soldiers of ODA 595"

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
December 2022--Article 37 (2022-12-037)


(Picture is ODA 595 and they let me jump in the middle with them)

September 11th, 2001: the first enemy attack upon American soil since Pearl Harbor. World attention immediately focused on the innocent victims of the attack and the first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Until recently, another heroic part of the story remained classified and hidden from public view. The release of a Warner Bros. movie called “12 Strong” gave the world a glimpse into the Secret missions that took place in the aftermath of 9/11. The film depicts the true story of the retaliatory attack by the first Special Forces soldiers entering Afghanistan.

These soldiers were tasked with a broad mission: defeat the Taliban; eliminate the terrorist haven in Afghanistan. The Special Forces team chosen to lead the offensive was the Operational Detachment-Alpha 595 (ODA 595). The mission, expected to take several years, toppled the Taliban in just a matter of months. ODA 595 led an unconventional warfare campaign by partnering with indigenous forces to topple the terrorist-supporting Afghan government. The Western media appropriately labeled ODA 595 “The Horse Soldiers.” 

The Greater FWB Chamber of Commerce, with Ted Corcoran at the helm, celebrated history by making history. The Ft. Walton Beach gathering was the first time the Horse Soldiers reunited. Remarkable as that is, the Chamber is the only organization in the world to host the FINAL Reunion of the Doolittle Raiders in 2013 and the FIRST reunion of the ODA 595 Horse Soldiers.

Backstory: conflicts have raged in Afghanistan for more than 100 years. Ethnic factions have been continuously at war. The ODA 595 operation was aptly described as a 19th Century Afghan military using horse cavalry with 20th Century weapons systems. When ODA 595 arrived, it added 21st-century technology and the might of the most powerful nation to eradicate the threat. The mission brought devastating air power with the full force of the United States military’s advanced weapon systems. The mission of ODA 595 was not accomplished with tanks or mechanized vehicles, but horseback with only one man experienced with horses. Horseback riding lessons started as the men traveled through the treacherous terrain.

ODA 595 was inserted about 100 miles from Mazar-i-Sharif, which linked up with ethnic Uzbek fighters under General Abdul Rashid Dostum. They had to earn Dostum’s trust and help him capture Mazar-i-Sharif, opening a beachhead into the rest of the country.

Ted Corcoran stated that the FWB Chamber is no stranger to honoring our brave military heroes. Earlier this year, the Chamber held the Final Goblet Ceremony honoring the Doolittle Raiders. Just like the goblets for the Raiders, the Horse Soldiers will have silver canteen cups, the Army equivalent of goblets. The Chamber commissioned these mementos with the local business community's support, which were unveiled at the banquet.

 “The United States of America has been attacked twice,” said Ted Corcoran, President/CEO of Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, “Pearl Harbor, with the first group to retaliate being The Doolittle Raiders. September 11, 2001, with ODA 595 being the first in Afghanistan to defend OUR Country. Brave Bombers. Heroic Horsemen.” The Green Berets advised Afghan commanders for two months and directed a massive air campaign to rout the Taliban from power. This retaliatory mission is considered modern history's most successful unconventional warfare campaign. It is hard to describe what it was like to meet ten soldiers together in the room.

New York City erected a statue near Ground Zero. It depicts a Special Forces soldier on horseback honoring the special operations teams who headed into Afghanistan in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. Now America has the Silver Canteen memorabilia to serve as a reminder, never to be forgotten. This is only the beginning of a historic story yet to be finished. 

 Read the newspaper (page 1,2,6)

"Only in America"--The Story of Dr. Paul Hsu

"Only in America"--the Story of Dr. Paul Hsu

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
November 2022--Article 36 (2022-11-036)


Mentor, Tech Entrepreneur, Presidential Appointee, Philanthropist, Visionary and Author. Dr. Paul Hsu is a man that will inspire you to have a renewed belief in America’s future. Listen to him speak or read his book if you want to find out how visionaries invest in the future—the next generation needs people like Dr. Hsu. Listening to him tell his American journey is riveting and inspiring, a story of American exceptionalism. He believes that as a first generation immigrant to this country, he became a shepherd of the American Dream.

Dr. Hsu was the September RCOC speaker at the Fort Walton Yacht Club. Everyone in the audience was treated to two free books, including his book, “Guardians of the Dream.” Dr. Hsu is a busy man with family commitments but adheres to the principles he preaches. After a last-minute cancellation, I needed a speaker, but I knew Dr. Hsu was still in California, as he had been for several months. When I called him, I was surprised to find out he was returning a few days before our meeting. He graciously agreed to become our speaker and did not disappoint his audience.

Dr. Hsu believes in building relationships and cultivated many on this night. Relationship building is one of the principles that made him a successful entrepreneur and person. In business, he connected the dots that did not exist because he was courageous enough never to give up. He did not seek to get rich but sought to create from his heart. He believes that immigrants are successful because they are generally hungrier and greater risk-takers, having overcome hardship, rejection, and setbacks. Their unique stressors make them stronger and more adept at accepting and thriving through adversity.

Entrepreneurs have exceptional confidence and strong self-esteem and are visionaries with courage springing from the heart. One of his mentors’ advice was to ensure that people can like you because you are likeable. He cares about others. The Bible offers the same advice, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24a). Dr. Hsu is an optimist that recognizes the highly addictive nature of the entrepreneurial spirit in his blood.

Even amongst the economic instability in a polarized society, he believes that an argument needs to be made for optimism. His story provides hope for parents of wayward children. Dr. Hsu grew up not liking being told what to do and hating school; he became defiant. His mom inspired him by telling him always to be able to look into the mirror with no regrets, a bit of advice that I regularly repeat when trying to inspire others.

He especially liked a quote from Ronald Reagan concerning immigration that went something like this. People who go to live in France don’t become Frenchmen. Those who go to live in Germany or Italy can’t become German or Italian. Yet, Reagan pointed out that anyone from any corner of the world can come to live in the United States and become an American. This fact is true from America’s origins because this country was created as an immigrant nation. Dr. Hsu believes that immigrants need to assimilate. He does not think of himself as a Chinese-American but simply as an American. He believes in the ability to dream big and follow through with the determination to reach your dreams.

America remains the most welcoming place for legal immigrants. America is the only country where an immigrant can be embraced as an insider. This unique aspect is not found in any other country. He believes in America’s five core values of freedom, ingenuity, integrity, opportunity and inclusion, elements lacking in most other countries. Most countries have widespread bribery as just another aspect of doing business. America has an infrastructure built around fair play and ethics based on the rule of law and common decency.

Americans with ingrained negativity toward America are likely taking too much for granted. Dr. Hsu started his first business in his garage. American children must get interested in math again. He believed he really needed to do something about solving the problem by inspiring youth to consider engineering degrees. He believes Artificial Intelligence (AI) will dominate the next ten years. Robots will take 80% of the workload. 3D printing will dominate manufacturing.

Amanda Negron, Executive director at HSU Educational Foundation, discussed the foundation for the last half of the meeting. The mission of the HSU Educational Foundation is to encourage excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in the classroom. She said she believes in this community and the education given to our children. “If you like what we are doing, roll up your sleeves. We create space and get out of the way.” A foundation principle involves growing up future talent and filling the void where needed. They do this through the STEM workforce program—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs raise interest and inspire students to prepare for careers of future demand. Check things out at It may surprise you what is happening here in Okaloosa County, and it will undoubtedly inspire you and give you hope for future generations. 

Pictures from the Okaloosa County Republican Club: 

 Read the newspaper (page 3)

Friday, March 1, 2024

I Am the Real Forrest Gump

 I Am the Real Forrest Gump

By Pastor Doug Stauffer
Faith Independent Baptist Church
Journalist for Bay Life Newspaper
November 2022--Article 35 (2022-11-035)

“You don’t lose until you quit trying!”—an oft-repeated quote from Sammy Davis. You might recognize that name, but this Sammy is not an entertainer but a Vietnam War American hero.

I love to meet inspiring people, but there is always more to the story. These two interrelated stories involve sacrifice, service, honor and selflessness! They illustrate how catastrophic events produce future opportunities—both inspired by and through love. Some events in life are extraordinary; for me, they mainly involve my interactions with genuinely amazing people. We should never take for granted the wonderful people who cross our paths.

Brian and Kathy Haugen asked Sammy Davis to be the keynote speaker in a fundraiser for the Taylor Haugen Foundation. Before that event, I was blessed to attend a private luncheon with Sammy and Dixie Davis, General (Representative) Patt Maney, Colonel Jason Grandy and Colonel Brian Haugen. Yes, the conversation was indescribable.

In 1965, after high school graduation, Sammy L. Davis enlisted in the Army and volunteered to go to Vietnam. Because his father had been an artilleryman in World War II, he volunteered for the same and was assigned to the 4th Artillery. Davis said he did not go to war to kill people but wanted his dad to be proud of him. He went to war because he loved his daddy, his grandpas, and his country. Once there, they fought because they discovered they loved their comrades in arms—they became brothers.

The United States was directly involved in V
ietnam from 1965 to 1973, with over two million Americans serving in uniform, including my father. I have met several Medal of Honor recipients, including Gary Beikirch and Woody Williams. This story is about Sergeant First Class (SFC) Sammy L. Davis, another Medal of Honor recipient.

A handful of those two million servicemen distinguished themselves with acts of valor. Their actions were considered so far above and beyond the call of duty that they received the highest military honor for valor in combat—the Congressional Medal of Honor. Only 248 Vietnam soldiers were presented with the medal, making it a highly exclusive award. Sergeant First Class Sammy L. Davis was one of those 248. Over one-half of the medals were awarded posthumously.

Because Sammy Davis shared a name with the famous entertainer, his fellow soldiers sometimes chided him. Many years after his time in the Army, he would again be attached to another entertainer—Tom Hanks (or Forrest Gump). Those familiar with the story of Sammy Davis knew he was the “real” Forrest Gump Medal of Honor recipient portrayed in the movie.

Early on November 18, 1967, his unit was helicoptered into an area west of Cai Lay in the Mekong Delta to set up a forward fire-support base---Firebase Cudgel—offering support for the infantrymen operating in the area. Battery C consisted of 11 guns and 42 men.

The following day, at precisely 2 AM, Battery C came under heavy mortar attack. Thirty minutes later, a reinforced battalion, estimated at 1,500 Vietcong soldiers, launched an intense ground assault. Fortunately, a river separating the two forces helped hamper the enemy’s advance. Davis’ squad operated a 105mm Howitzer that fired shells containing eighteen thousand metal flechettes. A “beehive” round turns the Howitzer shells into a shotgun blast.

An enemy rocket-propelled grenade scored a direct hit on the howitzer, knocking the crew from the weapon, blowing Davis sideways into a foxhole, and knocking him unconscious. He was later struck by friendly fire, which caused him to regain consciousness, and Davis credits this hit with saving his life.

Over 30 razor-sharp one-inch beehive darts passed through his buttocks. Thus, the Forrest Gump story had an aspect of truth but took on a life of its own. Tom Hanks was superimposed over Davis’ head in the footage of President Johnson presenting Davis with the Medal of Honor.

Convinced that the heavily outnumbered Americans couldn’t survive the attack, Davis fired off at least one round from the damaged artillery piece before being overrun. He struggled to his feet, rammed a shell into the gun, and fired point-blank at the Vietcong advancing five deep directly in front of the weapon; the beehive round cut them down.

His wounds included a perforated kidney, crushed ribs, a broken vertebra, ripped flesh from the beehive darts and burns all over his body. He ignored his injuries and crossed the river under heavy fire to rescue three wounded American soldiers. He kept fighting the enemy until they retreated. Only 12 of the 42 soldiers survived that battle. His book, “You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying,” chronicles his life.

Later in the day, Davis was shot in the thigh by an enemy AK-47, earning his second Purple Heart. As amazing as this story was to hear, the love story with his wife chronicled in her book, “Endless Love and Second Chances,” reveals the impact they are making in the lives of others.

The parents of Taylor Haugen displayed the second illustration of turning catastrophic incidents into future opportunities. After suffering a ruptured liver, their son died in a Niceville football game in 2008, and Taylor’s parents have used that tragedy to touch countless lives.

They have honored their son’s memory by starting the Taylor Haugen Foundation. The Haugens devote their lives to protecting other young athletes by outfitting them with Evoshield rib protectors. The custom-molded compression shirts shield the torso from impact, the same impact that took their son’s life.

The foundation also awards scholarships, enabling many graduating athletes to pursue their college ambitions. Much more could be (and should be) said about the Haugens, but that is for another day and another story. Find out much more about this story at

 Read the newspaper (page 9, 17 West)