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Sen. Tim Scott

“From cotton to Congress”: Faith changed course of Sen. Tim Scott’s life

Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is considering a presidential run, is proud to be both an American and a Christian.

“I believe that America can do for anyone what she has done for me,” Scott said. “And I believe that we have to restore hope, create opportunities and protect America.”

Scott has faced his share of difficulties, with his parents divorcing when he was a young child and his mother working diligently to support the family. He said his mom labored 16 hours daily, changing bedpans, helping patients and demonstrating “there’s dignity in all work.” The senator’s grandfather, who grew up in the heart of South Carolina’s Jim Crow era, had it even harder, because he was forced to drop out of school in the third grade so he could pick cotton to support the family.

“He lived long enough to see his grandson pick out a seat in Congress, and so, what I say is, ‘From cotton to Congress in one lifetime,’” Scott said. “It just tells me the story of the American evolution. It’s such a beautiful story that we sometimes miss.”

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He emphasized the centrality of faith in his life and work and openly acknowledged the role of belief in every facet of his being. “My faith journey started with an uninspired student who had low self-esteem, felt challenged,” Scott said. “I was not in the right head space.”

But his mother and grandmother taught him about true reliance on the Lord.

“My journey starts with my grandmother and my mother, being the matriarch of the family, teaching me the power of prayer,” he said. “I had a great friend who was working at the same movie theater, and he taught me that he was so happy living in a single-wide trailer with no car because Jesus Christ was the Lord of his life.”

Scott believes his story of a difficult upbringing and overcoming difficulties with the odds stacked against him — a path that led him to succeed beyond anything he could have imagined — offers a powerful reminder of what God can do in people’s lives.

“According to Ephesians 3:20, ‘God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or imagine,’” he said. “No one could have imagined my grandfather was picking cotton. I picked a seat in Congress. If there’s ever a time to tell the story of American progress, the time is now, and if there’s someone who’s been on both sides of that track, that’s lived the testimony, it is time for that person to stand up.”

–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice

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