By Derrick DePledge
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has expressed his "general support" for Christian churches that have been sued for allegedly shortchanging public schools on rental income.
According to his spokeswoman, the governor spoke with New Hope's Wayne Cordeiro as well as other pastors about the lawsuit filed by Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber, activists who have fought for the separation between church and state.
The churches, which rent public school facilities for services, have said they followed contracts with the schools.
From Louise Kim McCoy, the governor's spokeswoman:
At their request, Gov. Abercrombie did speak with Wayne Cordeiro along with other pastors regarding the lawsuit filed by Mitch Kahle and others against various churches that rented school facilities.
The Governor expressed his general support for the churches, based upon his surmise, that Department of Education employees and church representatives reached agreements and acted in good faith regarding the facilities rentals. The Governor does not know the specifics.
The Governor recognizes that the lawsuit is a court process, which will determine what the facts are, and how the law applies to those facts. The Governor respects that process and the role of the Judiciary in resolving the allegations.
Kahle and Huber told reporters in an email that they recorded five New Hope services on Oahu over the weekend. The activist said Cordeiro spoke at length about the lawsuit and about the governor's support.
From Kahle, quoting Cordeiro at a Sunday service:
"...I met with the Governor last week, and the Governor said, No! The Governor said, If he thinks we're in collusion with you guys, then he's suing the wrong people, he should be suing us. I said, Governor, Good on you. And the Governor said, 'I want you to know that we're going to do everything we can to help your church, because you've done so much for our community.'
Thank goodness for our Governor. There's some things that I differ in opinion with him, but I tell ya, I'm gonna see if I can win him to Christ. ... He's a friend of our church and we're glad. We're glad. He's for our church, so were glad for that...."