Just Ask Dave Miller

Posted on April 17, 2008 by

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After serving on the Elkhart city council for four years and sitting in city hall for eight, Dave Miller, former mayor of Elkhart, has finally stepped down. Miller accomplished much in his term. He describes his greatest accomplishments as the things they built, mentioning the River walk, including the new ice rink and the first railroad underpass in years. He also talked about the relationships built and the reorganization done. Dave Miller, as many Elkhartians remember, was very outspoken about his religious beliefs. Unlike many politicians today, who try to mask their religious beliefs to appear neutral, Miller embraced his, bringing them to work every day.

“A person cannot separate himself from who he is,” Miller said. “The myth that politics are no place for spirituality has caused many problems in our country today.”

Miller backed up this statement around 2001 when the monumental Ten Commandments, placed in front of the city’s municipal building in 1958, was attacked. The Commandments, which were erected to help denote juvenile delinquency at the time, conflicted with the First Amendment. Many believed it was not historical, like the other monuments around the buildings, but religious. Many almost identical monuments erected, including another in Indiana, were attacked for the same reasons and the monuments had to be taken down. Miller would not have this. As mayor, he believed that it was his responsibility to protect it.

“When the city owned 10 commandments monument was under attack, it was appropriate to protect it,” Miller said. “And I did, all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Miller believes that laws were established because of the Ten Commandments. Without the Ten Commandments, there would be no basis for laws or order.

“Would you want to live in a country where they did not follow the Ten Commandments?” Miller said. “Anarchy and death are consequences.”

Miller was never timid when it came to religion although he agrees it should be used with careful discretion.

“You must be discreet and respectful,” Miller said. “You are not free in the US to say things that threat the president, for example. Free speech has its limits.”

Miller says it is different when speaking in a church, for example, to talk about religion.

“I am more open when visiting churches than at city council meetings,” Miller said. “There is a place for preaching and a place where you should be silent.”

The best advice Miller can give to any politician is to exercise good judgment, as well as discretion.

“Wise leaders exercise discretion,” Miller said. “A wise person measures words to be appropriate to his audience.”

When talking about the Almighty, Miller says it all boils down to one’s own relationship with Him.

“It all boils down to an individual’s tension with God,” Miller said. “The culture of the United States, the people who deny spirituality and God and who do not want to answer to God discover later on they will be mistaken. I fear for that.”

Miller now works at Verizon Transportation. Dick Moore has taken Miller’s place as mayor of Elkhart.

-Anna Campanello

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