Upcoming Head of Christian Coalition Steps Down

This LA Times news story cheered me. The soon to be president of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition stepped down over a differences with the organization’s focus. Joel C. Hunter wanted to move away from the over-emphasis on gay marriage and abortion and broaden the focus to environmental issues and poverty.

The Rev. Joel C. Hunter, who was scheduled to become president of the coalition Jan. 1, said his departure was sparked by “just a basic philosophical difference …. I saw an opportunity to really broaden the conversation and broaden the constituency. I’m really over this whole polarization thing.”

“I think the board just got scared,” said Hunter, senior pastor of a mega-church in central Florida and the author of “Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won’t Fly With Most Conservative Christians.”

Roberta Combs, who is the incumbent president of the coalition and presides over its board, said that the board of directors was willing to branch out from the coalition’s signature issues of abortion and gay marriage, and that the coalition has weighed in on a variety of issues, including Internet access and the tax burden on the poor. But she said that Hunter was acting too fast without consulting his superiors.

Acting too fast, eh? Aren’t their biblical mandates on some of this stuff that’s nearly 2000 years old?

I am not cheered that this man was forced out of his position, but that there are conservative Evangelical leaders like Hunter who are willing to do more than follow the party line. Such a risk though. It may cost you your job.

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Willie Hewes on December 1, 2006 at 7:58 am

    Whoa! Poverty, the environment? You mean Christians care about that stuff?

    How refreshing. 😉

  2. Jay on December 1, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Bravo, Rev. Hunter, bravo! Though I do wish he could’ve toughed it out and stuck with it.

  3. David Roberts on December 3, 2006 at 12:33 am

    Rev. Hunter was my pastor many years ago. He was a nice guy and did seem to march to a different beat in many ways. The church had a relaxed atmosphere but with a genuine respect for God. I loved the way they handled offerings – they didn’t solicit them. There were some boxes at the back of the sanctuary and those wishing to tithe or give gifts just put it in there. They never lacked for funds at all and apparently still don’t.

    Part of their public work in the community is rabidly anti gay marriage, and I don’t care for the emphasis they have placed on that, but overall I can see Joel not accepting the job for the reasons he gave. I consider him an honest man.

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