Joel Hunter, back in the news. This time, it's commenting on polls that show a rise in the number of Americans who think the President is a Muslim. Hunter, as one of the handful of pastors who regularly meet with the President, offers a dissenting view.
Without wading too deeply into the weeds of two recent items, I'll simply point out that I choose to highlight them due to the fact that I listen to both of these pastors via their podcasts on a regular basis. I thoroughly enjoy each of them. I don't always see eye to eye with them, but in this case, I find both items worthy of some applause.
Rich Nathan, of Columbus, Ohio's Vineyard Church, discusses the need for reforming America's immigration policy ... while Joel Hunter of Orlando, Florida's Northland Church, makes news simply by resigning his registration as a member of the Republican Party. Needless to say, I don't think either move is going to be universally loved. But I'm still proud of both of 'em.
Rich Nathan on American immigration policy ...
At my church, Vineyard Columbus, I have witnessed the brokenness of our immigration system firsthand. We offer English as a Second Language classes for 150 adult students each week, as well as citizenship classes, high-school equivalence certificates, refugee resettlement and immigration services through our free legal clinic. Our recent survey of the church indicated that we have individuals from 75 nations attending our weekend services.
Despite the almost universal love of America and unbelievable work ethic that I've encountered in immigrants, almost all live with pervasive shame because of their illegal status. Recently, one hard-working West African couple who overstayed their visas asked me if they were allowed to volunteer to help Americans through our community center. They wanted to give away the little bit they had, but didn't know if they were welcome to do so. I told them: "The Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof! Of course, God and our church are delighted in your service to the poor."
Fortunately, our immigration system's glaring flaws have practical solutions. But in order for common-sense policies to get a fair hearing, we need political leaders to be honest and not use the immigration debate to score political points.
Joel Hunter, on leaving the Republican Party ...
For 40 years I was a registered Republican like Paul was a registered Pharisee after he became a follower of Christ - when it furthered the agenda of the Gospel (as I understood it) then I was active as a Rep. When it didn't, I wasn't.
I was never comfortable being identified with a political Party but the hyper-partisanship and the outside voices hijacking legitimate political debate is not something of which I will be a part.