News Articles

Arkansas pastor, Clinton talk amidst latest political crisis

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–Bill Clinton placed a call to
his pastor, Rex Horne in Little Rock, Ark., during the week
when Clinton’s presidency fell into peril over Washington
allegations involving a White House intern.
According to a Jan. 26 report in the Arkansas Democrat-
Gazette, Rex Horne, pastor of Little Rock’s Immanuel Baptist
Church, said he did not offer Clinton any counsel in the
telephone call, but told the president the congregation —
which he joined while governor of Arkansas and remains a
member — would be praying for him.
Horne’s call to prayer for Clinton Jan. 25 came after a
sermon which the Democrat-Gazette described as focusing on
tenacity and faith.
As the newspaper described it, “Horne asked that people
put politics aside — even he disagrees with the president
on several issues — and warned against cynicism and
rejoicing in the discovery of the sordid.”
The newspaper quoted Horne as asking the congregation
rhetorically, “If this church does not pray, what church
Horne, immediate past president of the Arkansas Baptist
State Convention, has been talking by telephone with Clinton
every Saturday night for about 15 minutes when the president
is in Washington, according to a report last March in The
New York Times on several ministers who regularly offer
Clinton spiritual counsel.
The others mentioned in the story were Bill Hybels,
pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago area;
Robert Schuller, TV preacher of the Crystal Cathedral in
California; Tony Campolo, popular speaker and sociology
professor at Eastern College, St. Davids, Pa.; and Gordon
MacDonald, senior pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington,
Mass., who several years ago underwent church discipline for
an extramarital affair.
The Times said Hybels and Campolo were meeting
separately with the president in the White House nearly
every month; MacDonald was corresponding regularly with the
president; and Schuller and Clinton speak together
At Immanuel Baptist Church Jan. 25, the Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette reported, “Many members of Clinton’s church
wouldn’t even discuss the president’s latest troubles.
Standing on the steps of the massive central Little Rock
church on a brilliant Sunday morning, they said the only
topics worth mentioning were their prayers for a fellow
member of the congregation. Several said they supported the
president; others were angry with the media for making so
much of allegations and anonymous statements. But all said
they were praying for him.”
Clinton and his wife, Hillary, attended church at
Washington’s Foundry United Methodist Church “amid shouts
from eager reporters,” the Democrat-Gazette reported.
Horne told the newspaper after the service, “Certainly
these are perilous times, not only for the president, but
for the country.” Horne voiced concern over how people often
take joy in the discovery of scandal, saying, “I think that
is a reflection on us.”
Horne told the newspaper the Little Rock congregation
prays each week for the president, the governor and the
mayor, regardless of who they are or what the day’s
headlines report.
Clinton, of the spiritual counsel he was receiving last
spring, told The New York Times, “It helps me to stay
centered. It helps me to keep in a positive frame of mind.
It keeps me both humble and optimistic. It helps to have
private relationships with people who are trying to help you
reach beyond yourself and stay in touch with what really

Compiled by Art Toalston.