Mac Warner: American warrior, pro-Israel candidate for W. Virginia governor

Mac Warner: American warrior, pro-Israel candidate for W. Virginia governor

Most Israel supporters are aware of where the presidential candidates stand regarding their support of Israel. But the same people may not be aware of the importance of local and state elections.

But at this critical juncture, when Israel and Jews face a grave existential crisis, Zionists in West Virginia, have no better ally than Mac Warner, a powerful gubernatorial candidate who comes from a strong heritage of military service. Warner is a devout Christian who has studied Islam and, as a patriotic American, has an unwavering support for Israel.

Andrew McCoy “Mac” Warner, is an American attorney, a 27-year veteran, and the current West Virginia secretary of state. His website says that he “stands strong for freedom, liberty, and conservative values”. But, in truth, Mac does far more than stand for these classic American values.

Warner graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and later with a J.D. from West Virginia University School of Law, a LL.M. from JAG School, and University of Virginia School of Law in International Law. His four children have followed the family tradition and are all current or former Army officers. His military and political careers are matters of public record but the true worth of a man is usually seen in his personal life. Mac is proudly Presbyterian and opened up about his faith to Israel365 News.

“Presbyterian comes from the Protestant side of things,” he explained. “And Protestants were the ones who protested against the Catholic faith in the 1500s. The Protestant Reformation was instrumental to the individual recognizing their relationship with God.”

This personal relationship with God requires education and knowledge, as Warner explained. 

“Each branch of Christianity is its own strain, but the key to it was your ability to have a relationship with God on a personal level,” Warner said. “You didn’t need a Catholic priest as an intermediary. You could read the word yourself and have your relationship with God without the hierarchy of the church. With the Presbyterians, it’s more about reading the Bible and striving to understand yourself.”

“My mother brought in the Methodist,” Warner said. “The Methodists describe ‘a heart strangely warmed’. It’s not so much the head as it is the heart when you’re changing inside. Then you want to go do things. As James wrote, ‘What is faith without works?’ So my faith is a combination of studying and knowing the work and also acting out in faith.”

His Christian belief recently got a boost from connecting with Rabbi Elie Mischel and Rabbi Pesach Wolicki on their way to Amfest run by Turning Point USA. After a random encounter on a plane to Arizona, the two rabbis from Israel365 invited Mac to join them for Shabbat. It was a powerful and positive experience.

“I had experienced Shabbat when I was in Israel but I was just observing from the outside,” Warner said. “It was quite striking to me how everything shut down as soon as the sun went down. People did not drive cars or use anything electrical, not even riding in the elevator. In Arizona, it was interesting to watch how they had to plan their day. It was part of their faith, this joyous coming together.”

“It’s difficult to explain how they look forward to that, that it is central to their religion and to their relationships to one another. And then to be a part of the prayers, even though I didn’t understand the Hebrew. It was just a really heartening experience. I think it brought everybody together in the room.”

“That whole trip to Arizona was planned around a political event. But the thing I took away more than anything else was the time that I spent with these two rabbis. I’ve talked more about that than I have about the political event. That meant the most to me.”

“I almost didn’t feel the differences. Growing up, I knew the Jews were doing something different on the Sabbath, but I didn’t fully understand what it was, and I felt like an outsider. But with these rabbis, what I enjoyed about them was they were so warm, welcoming, and pulling me in. I should have known that it’s not an exclusionary thing. Everybody’s encouraging anybody who hasn’t participated. It is easy to appreciate and see the love and warmth the Jewish people have when they celebrate the Sabbath. It pulls people together.”

When he served in Afghanistan, Warner studied Islam and became an expert in Islamic law, writing papers on the subject and working with the Afghan Supreme Court. Warner was sent to Kuwait in the wake of the war, with the mission of restoring order. His experience made him ask difficult questions that underscored how the enemy simply did not think like Americans.

“The founder of Islam, Muhammad, had learned that by surviving- even when he didn’t win the battle- he gained power, strength, and recognition. Eventually, he took over Mecca without having to fight a battle. Eventually, the uma (nation), the whole collective body of Muslims, took over.”

“That is what Saddam Hussein was doing when he went to war with the United States of America when he knew that he couldn’t win,” Warner said. “Saddam Hussein knew that his fourth-grade army wasn’t going to stand up against the most powerful army in the world. And then I realized that he didn’t have to win. All he had to do was survive. He was hoping that the uma would rise up with him.”

Warner’s contact with the Koran and its basis in the Bible led him to return to his own faith. 

“Getting back into the Bible in my 30s and having children, I began to wonder how I was going to raise my children,” Warner said. “That was the beginning of my born-again experience. That’s when I became a true believer, not just reading the Word and going to church once a week. My faith became a reality for me. I realized that this was the way I needed to live my life.”

“If you understand a person’s relationship with their Creator, whatever religion they have, you’re going to better understand who that person is and properly understand the direction they’re going to go. You can rely on them and what they are going to do. Understanding religion is really foundational to so much of what goes on in the world, which is why I think that it’s terrible that we’ve taken religion out of our schools. We don’t have to proselytize for somebody to accept our religion, but the more we understand other religions, the better we understand the world scenarios and the problems that arise.”

Warner explained that religion plays a powerful role in global politics, cementing the alliance between Israel and the US.

“To the Arab nations, Israel is known as the little Satan, and the United States is known as the Big Satan” Warner said. “When I was in Israel just a couple of years ago, I had a chance to talk with one of the military leaders and he asked me a strange question. He asked me who Israel’s neighbors are. And so I went through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt. I thought it was strange that he asked that, so I asked the same question. He said that Israel’s neighbors were Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. It kind of opened my eyes to the reality of living in Israel. And so I asked if this is ever going to resolve itself. His answer was intriguing. He said, there are some problems that you can’t solve. All you do is manage the problems. Israel has managed these problems for 75 years and may need to manage them for another 75 years, maybe even several generations. Judaism and Islam may learn to live with one another but they are not reconciled. For now, we simply have to find a way to manage the issues. Understanding each other’s religion is the foundation.”

While his belief in the Bible connects him spiritually with the Holy Land, his connection with Israel is the result of political pragmatism.

“As a governor, you have a public responsibility,” Warner said. “We’re trying to expand trade, build the economy, and grow the population of West Virginia. It gives you a reason to work in international trade, to attract business and increase our exports throughout the world. Israel is a strong trade partner. I would simply have that ability as governor to advance those causes.”

“Israel has no choice but to stay on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to the internet, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. The United States is both a supplier and recipient of these technologies.”

It is this advanced technology from Israel that adds another aspect to Warner’s alliance with Israel.

As a Republican politician, Warner is perplexed by the Jewish vote which traditionally supports the Democratic party. Warner has been vilified in the left-wing media for his efforts at ensuring the integrity of elections. In January 2018, the secretary of state’s office announced that it had processed 45,000 new voter registrations in 2017. This included registration from 13,995 high school students, but over 86,000 registrations were canceled due to deaths, out-of-date information, duplication, or felony status. Warner opposes the For the People Act, which would expand voting rights but pose a threat to the integrity of voting. He opposes automatic voter registration, mail-in voting, and same-day voter registration.

“We have to continue to work with Israel in election security,” Warner said. “We did this in West Virginia during the 2016 election and then again in the 2020 election. These experiences pushed me into this arena of cybersecurity in elections. And so we were the first state to allow people to vote using a mobile device. We actually have some people in Israel who are using their mobile devices to vote in the United States.”

“There’s a lot of concern over using a vote made on a mobile device. So you have to have that technology to secure that vote and then to be able to validate that the vote received is actually the vote that was cast. We’ve achieved that through a series of elections. We’ve expanded this to military folks, first responders, and citizens with physical disabilities. It works. But I never advocate doing this across the entire population. But it is essential for those people who would otherwise be disenfranchised. This technology allows a soldier on a hillside in Afghanistan to vote.”

“I am still trying to understand why Jews vote Democrat in America,” Wartner said. “You would think that Israel, with its reliance on military strength, now aligning more with the Republican or conservative side of politics in America, the Jews should predominantly vote Republican. But that’s still not the case. I think something like Donald Trump moving the embassy to Jerusalem would have changed that, but it didn’t. Maybe October 7 and the response of many of the young Democrats will change that.

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