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Old 11-24-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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Christian Coalition fails to change

This is from the Orlando Sentinel. I wish Hunter would've been the one.

Longwood pastor quits as coalition president
The Rev. Joel Hunter was set to take the reins of the national Christian Coalition.

Willoughby Mariano | Sentinel Staff Writer

The Central Florida pastor recently tapped to lead the Christian Coalition of America resigned his position in a dispute about conservative philosophy -- more than a month before he was to fully assume his post, he said Wednesday.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood's Northland, A Church Distributed, said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

The resignation took place Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues; that's not our base,' " Hunter said of his conversation with the group's leadership.

A statement issued by the coalition said Hunter resigned because of "differences in philosophy and vision." The board accepted his decision "unanimously," it states.

The organization, headed by President Roberta Combs, claims a mailing list of 2.5 million.

Hunter's move signals more tumult for a group that has fallen on hard times. Members have complained the coalition's agenda has become too liberal and diffuse.

State chapters in Georgia, Alabama and elsewhere left the organization this year, and its budget has shrunk from $26 million to less than $5 million.

Its influence waned after the Republican right took control of the White House in the 2000 election, said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Political Policy Center in Washington, which has been critical of Christian Coalition founder Robertson's leadership.

Hunter hoped to revive the group by expanding its agenda to include what he called "compassion issues." He also planned to teach evangelicals how to "vote with their life," or integrate and apply their Christian values to public life.

By Tuesday's board meeting, Hunter had already lined up funding and office space to move coalition headquarters to Central Florida for his planned Jan. 1 takeover, he said.

The coalition's rejection of Hunter's approach means it is unwilling to part with its partisan, Republican roots, Hunter said.

"To tell you the truth, I feel like there are literally millions of evangelical Christians that don't have a home right now," Hunter said.

Hunter was an unconventional choice to head the coalition, expert Cromartie said.

"I was surprised when he joined up, and not at all surprised when he stepped down," Cromartie said.

The Longwood pastor's latest book, Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Fly With Most Conservative Christians, said no political party, including the Republican Party, should have a lock on the evangelical vote.

Critics called him "liberal," a label Hunter said he rejects. He is against abortion and gay marriage.

Hunter told parishioners of his 7,000-member church that he stepped down in an e-mail sent Wednesday afternoon.

"When I accepted this role several months ago, I knew that my approach to political involvement was different than the approach that the Coalition had taken in the past. And during the transition, our differences of philosophy became more apparent," the e-mail states.

Hunter's decision to step down was a surprise to others in the evangelical community. Bill Stephens, executive director of the Florida Christian Coalition, also based in Longwood, said Wednesday evening that he had not been told of Hunter's decision. The move will not impact the local organization, he said.

"Nothing's going to change on our front, " Stephens said.

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Old 11-24-2006, 12:33 PM   #2
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The Christian Coalition is only Christian by name, there's nothing Christ-like about them.

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Old 11-24-2006, 12:37 PM   #3
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You're right. I found it funny (actually, sad) when Hunter said the poor and the environment are both something Christ is interested in, and the coalition turds said "That's not our base."

Your base isn't carrying out Christ's will and working for the poor?

I may have some conservative perspectives, but I can't stand it when the faith is hijacked by the right. It's disgusting.
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:52 PM   #4
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bad writing

christian coalition
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:30 PM   #5
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Jerks. I have never liked the Christian Coalition, and I still don't. I"m a Christian and they don't speak for me.
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Old 11-25-2006, 05:01 PM   #6
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It's still a bit odd to hear anyone from the Christian Coalition being called 'liberal'.
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Old 11-25-2006, 07:13 PM   #7
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I wouldn't trust anything affiliated with Pat Robertson.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:14 PM   #8
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Originally posted by verte76
Jerks. I have never liked the Christian Coalition, and I still don't. I"m a Christian and they don't speak for me.
Nor are they speaking, any longer, for the millions of Christians who have NOW! come to that same conclusion.
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Old 11-26-2006, 12:25 PM   #9
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Must be frustrating for you, Coemgen.
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Old 11-26-2006, 02:09 PM   #10
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It is.

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