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The Light Crust Doughboys

"Listen everybody, from near and far, if you wanta know who we are. We're the Light Crust Doughboys from Burrus Mill." Then the announcer on radio station KFJZ-AM, and eventually WBAP, would say, "The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air!" Daily at noon, such familiar names as Bob Wills, Milton Brown, and “Pappy” O’Daniel from Saginaw, Texas, would sing and entertain a large audience of faithful listeners. They were a wonderful singing group. Do you remember them?

W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel started the Doughboys in 1931, as part of his radio advertising promotion for the Light Crust Flour company. He served as Master of Ceremonies during the program, and wrote the script, and many of the songs the Doughboys sang. His most remembered song was “Beautiful Texas.” The innovative fifteen-minute radio program became very popular during World War 2. While a revised version of the Doughboys still perform, the original group was inducted into the Texas Swing Hall of Fame in 1989.

“Pass the biscuits Pappy” O’Daniel left the Doughboys in 1935, amid a wave of statewide popularity. He decided to capitalize on his celebrity fame by running for Governor in the state of Texas. Few people thought he would actually run for office, much less win. He was just a businessman with media experience. “Pappy” had never held a political office, and had actually voted!

His contentious campaign was peppered with empty promises of monthly pensions for all senior adults, and extravagant tax cuts for everybody. “Pappy” threatened to clean out the political rascals in Austin, and to have business people run the government. His campaign slogan was “less Johnson grass and politicians, and more smoke stacks and businessmen.”

O’Daniel often gave his lengthy orations from the back of a flatbed truck, while electrifying the crowds with homespun homilies of motherly-love and patriotism. “Pappy” would usually refer to the Bible, while extolling the attributes of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.

When the final count was tallied, W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel was elected the 34th Governor of the state of Texas. He had defeated twelve other well-funded politicians. More than that, he had broken the mold on how future political campaigns would be structured. Broadcast media became the new life-line to the electorate. The microphone became an ear.

It is not for me to bring judgment against “Pappy” O’Daniel or any other candidate for office. The Lord Himself is the righteous Judge. However, as a committed Christian, I cringe when politicians use the holy things of God as they campaign. The Lord’s Name, and His Word, is not to be manipulated for partisan advantage. The Bible warns us that there can be deadly consequences for exploiting the sacred.

In Exodus 30, the sons of Aaron knowingly used the holy vessels of God for blasphemous purposes. God consumed them with holy fire. In 2 Samuel 6, Uzzah intentionally touched the Ark of the Covenant. He meant well, but he directly violated the command of God, and Uzzah died immediately. In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira tried to trick the church with lies and twisted logic. God saw their hypocrisy and deception, and they immediately fell dead.


This should serve as a warning to all of us, from the local church pulpit to the political campaign. We must be reverent when we handle the holy things of the Lord. As it says in Exodus 20:7 NIV, “"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.”

God has been known to suddenly bring the wayward into judgment. In Hebrews 10:31 we read, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 12:29 says, “God is a consuming fire.” Think it over, my friends.

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