“Thanks President Elect Bush,” Say Two Ministry Leaders Following His Meeting With Religious Leaders
GARDEN GROVE, CA (December 23, 2000)– Two ministry leaders from Orange County, California, have thrown their support behind President Elect George W. Bush, who met with religious leaders Wednesday (December 20) to discuss ways faith-based groups can provide social services.
Bush has advocated letting faith-based charitable and social institutions receive government funds to pursue their work, and says he hopes to establish an “office of faith-based action” to help religious groups that want to participate in federal programs.
The two leaders, Jim Palmer, president of the Orange County Rescue Mission and Pastor Bruce Sonnenberg, president of He Intends Victory, a ministry to those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS, were responding to comments by Jeremy Reynalds, founder and executive director of Joy Junction, a rescue mission based in Albuquerque, NM.
Reynalds had stated, “We are honored by President Elect Bush’s interest in faith based ministries such as Joy Junction. Joy Junction and other such ministries are an integral part of communities across America and the government can learn from their decades of experience. However, it is important for these folks to realize that it is the ‘faith’ in faith-based ministries that causes them to be so effective. While government bureaucrats and politicians say they want to partner with ministries such as ours, they appear to want to make the ‘faith’ a casualty of that partnership. That won’t work.”
He went on to say that rescue mission programs such as Joy Junction’s and hundreds of other faith-based programs nationally are considered models in effectively breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and inherited homelessness.
However, Bruce Sonnenberg said that he thought that Reynalds was “a little harsh to come out against a President Elect so quickly.”
He went on to say, “How wonderful that we can now use some of the resources of our government to help accomplish the task of helping those in need.
“LET’S TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES”
“I say take advantage of these opportunities. With no ‘strings-attached’ to this kind of funding, faith-based organizations, more than that, the people that faith-based organizations serve will benefit the most.
“I know personally that ministries such as Teen Challenge of Texas have been helped meeting their goals of serving those in need as they share the love of Jesus Christ with this type of funding.”
Jim Palmer, president of the Orange County Rescue Mission, said he “salutes to our new Commander and Chief,” adding, “We are very excited to see that our President Elect has chosen to prioritize the creation of the ‘Office of Faith-Based Action.’
“As the leader of one of the largest rescue mission’s in the country I am excited to see that we will have a new President who will look for Faith Based Action to take place in our country in areas that it has never been allowed to exist before.
“Our ministry is already being asked by public schools to minister to students and their families. Separation of church and state is meant to keep the State from telling the church what to do. It was never intended to restrict the faith-based community from effectively ministering to the citizens of the United States.
“George W. Bush said it best when he stated that government can only feed the stomachs of those that are hurting and that’s not enough. Faith based Community can feed their soul and we the government need to learn how to build bridges to the Faith Based Community and not walls to cooperate us.”
THE TIME TO BUILD FAITH BRIDGES
Palmer went on to say, “I agree whole heartedly with the President Elect that it is time to build faith bridges between our ministries and government. The government has seen the failure of a system that can not reach the souls of it’s people and now is the time for us as ministry leaders to reach out and embrace our government with the truth that will set every American free.