President-elect of Christian Coalition resigns
Group refused to move beyond abortion and same sex issues
Minister learns, again, the price of witnessing to the Gospel
(The Associated Press)--The man elected to take over as president of the Christian Coalition of America said he will not assume the role because of differences in philosophy.
The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Longwood's Northland, A Church Distributed, said Wednesday that the national group would not let him expand the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.
This is the latest setback for the group founded in 1989 by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson. Four states - Georgia, Alabama, Iowa and Ohio - have decided to split from the group over concerns it's changing direction on issues like the minimum wage, the environment and Internet law instead of core issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative political group Jan. 1, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.
"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.
He resigned 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.
The group's base has typically been extreme right wing social conservatives who wish to mold the public life of the nation in the image of their radical right wing policies and theologies.
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.
"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.
One newspaper account is here.