McHenry’s “town halls” meet at church



Kid you not. Can’t make this stuff up. Two of ’em.

Tonight’s town hall at 6:30 for Mitchell County is at the Abundant Life Outreach church (just outside of Spruce Pine). I’ve been there. Never seen so much audio equipment in my life. And compared to the cramped Newland town hall from last night at least it’s got plenty of parking.

alo_logo.jpgFrom an unconfirmed email I got yesterday:

This church, Abundant Life Outreach, is attended by the First Vice Chair of the Republican Party, and Spruce Pine Mayor, and Republican Campaign Activist – Ralph Hise. His mother, Shirley Hise, also attends this church. She is the Director of the Chamber of Commerce (As a side note the Mitchell Chamber rents the front part of its office building to the McHenry Congressional Field Office). Also belonging to the Abundant Life Outreach Church is Bill Sleagel (sp?) who is the new Chair of the Tenth District Republicans.

So, it’s a neutral location on so many fronts.

Another unpublic location for a McHenry town hall is the Catawba edition on Tuesday, August 21, 7 p.m. at the First Assembly of God Church 1301 12th Street Drive, NW, Hickory, NC. I know nothing much about the philosophies of either of these churches but do why do we have to go to church to meet our Congressman?

For the full schedule of McHenry’s visits to all the 10th district counties, click here. Don’t forget to take a camera and audio or video recording equipment.

Categories : Patrick McHenry


  1. Would it be out of bounds to ask if the pastors of these churches are tacitly endorsing McHenry? How about asking if McHenry believes in a separation of church and state?

  2. Drama Queen says:

    Add those to the list of questions McHenry will avoid, I’m sure.

  3. chasingthebreadtruck says:

    Is this legal? Could this be grounds for these churches to lose their 501c3 status?

  4. syntax says:

    Based on my own personal observations, I’ve found that it’s not uncommon for small towns (especially ones with high unemployment rates, rampant industrial decay and crumbling public infrastructure that you see plenty of as you drive through McHenry’s district) to use churches as meeting places/multipurpose rooms/etc. Think about all of the support groups and twelve-step programs that would practically disappear if it weren’t for churches.

    If a town hall meeting were to be scheduled in a public space and then rescheduled at a church thanks to the machinations of local politicos/church members, then it’s certainly possible, but still highly unlikely, that a church could lose its tax exemption. Now, if the pastor of either of those churches were to start threatening excommunication of members who don’t vote for McHenry (a la Chan Chandler from East Waynesville Baptist Church), that would be a stronger case.

    That’s just how they roll in small towns for the most part. I can understand why some people would be offended by having to step foot into a church for any reason, but really, they’re just buildings.

  5. Drama Queen says:

    Okay, maybe for Spruce Pine. But Hickory?

  6. syntax says:

    Hate to say I’m playing “devil’s advocate” when we’re talking about churches, but as you mentioned when talking about the audio system @ Abundant Life Outreach, it could be that the church in Hickory might be better equipped for a town-hall meeting. Better sound, larger capacity… of course, I’ve never been to the town hall in Hickory. I’m just speculating here.

  7. Drama Queen says:

    There’s a huge community college in Catawba County with many rooms. Brown Penn is an historical Black community center. Wonderful place. There’s also an old high school auditorium at what’s now a science center. That’s just scratching the surface.

    I did a tour of all the available community-type auditoriums with sound systems when I was assistant director of a death-penalty-awareness show there. No need to do it at a church. None whatsoever.

    But be a “devil’s advocate” to your heart’s content. It keeps me honest.

  8. Ashevillein says:

    Not to mention, there is a convention center there, lots of hotels and there must be a place they play HS BB, oh yeah, and even a mall would be more appropriate.

    This is simply McHenry trying to pander to the religious reich.

  9. Senator No says:

    Or he could be trying to save tax dollars, as the Church probably lets him use the room for free. Just an idea…

    Stupid politicians saving stupid tax dollars…

  10. Drama Queen says:

    Doing something wrong to save money is still doing something wrong.

  11. arratik says:

    Hey, after plopping down two large for a TV set for the office, I’d be looking to cut corners too.

  12. Drama Queen says:

    Yeah, he’s probably running out of “official” funds with all those luxury items. Thank God for the churches.

    Pat would have to hold his town halls in a back alley if not for the good Christians willing to take him in just like the Bethlehem innkeeper took in dear Mary about to give birth to the baby Jesus.