Body cam footage of a DUI stop involving T. Russell Hunter, a founder and leader in an anti-church group known as Abolish Human Abortion, was made available last month.
The footage shows Hunter being arrested for Aggravated DUI . Hunter’s group pickets churches in what is known as the “Church Repent Project.” AHA promotes a valiant and necessary cause, which is the abolition of human abortion. However, the group has also largely focused on demonizing and attacking churches (often very good churches) and are a part of a movement called Sectarian Minimalism. Currently, Hunter has tried to rebrand his movement under the title, Free the States.
As the description on this YouTube video demonstrates, “Hunter lies to the police numerous times, finally admits the lies, was driving with around 0.16 blood/alcohol level, was so drunk he argued with the cop about the kind of car he was driving, and managed to [urinate] in his pants between getting handcuffed and put in the squad car. [He made] numerous requests to be released, some appear to be leading up to a bribe offer but the arresting officer was cutting Hunter off before it could come to that.”
You can watch the video below.
John Andrew Reasnor, closely associated with New Calvinist Social Justice Warrior and former theonomist, Joel McDurmon, weighed in on the controversy on a blog entitled, Kingdom and Abolition.
Hunter, longtime figurehead of “AHA” abortion abolitionism and leader of the tax-exempt Free the States prolife lobbying organization, has not (as far as I can tell) made any public confession or recognition of this scandal. He has, however, confessed this scandal in a private abolitionist facebook group that he administrates.
- Hunter had begun drinking heavily late at night while drawing. He was doing this alone at his studio and then driving home at various degrees of inebriation. Hunter has a history of heavy drinking from his days in grad school and had previously sworn off of alcohol. This was not an one-time mistake of an ethical “slip-up” and this was a habit that Hunter had formed. Hunter getting caught was the one-time event, not his sin. Hunter, in his video, says that this incident was an “isolated event.” Let me be clear. It was not an isolated event and Hunter contradicts himself in saying so. Hunter on one hand admits that he had developed a habit of drunkenness, while on the other hand claims that it was an “isolated event.”
- Hunter also mentions that he was self medicating due to feeling down because of broken relationships (not the point of this article, but these broken relationships were broken by Hunter).
- During this habit of late night, solitary, drinking of liquor, Hunter had kept his drinking from his wife, his coworkers, his local community, and the broader abolitionist community he is the leader of.
- Sadly, Hunter did not repent and confess on his own volition. He was pulled over by police and arrested, and only at that time he confessed to his wife and a small circle of people he works with. This was a grace to Hunter, as I pray this article will be.
- At this time the men in his local community (it is very much uncertain if this is a local church or a small group of friends he sometimes spends time with) decided amongst themselves that Hunter should not disclose this sin and crime to anyone beyond a very small circle of confidants. Further, they decided that it would be good for Hunter to continue on with, his leadership role within abolitionism, and the Free the States lobbying group. Hunter’s lawyer also recommended that he keep this incident as secret as possible.
- According to Hunter his friends are holding him accountable and disciplining him. As far as I can tell, this discipline included moving Hunter’s studio to a different office where these friends also work.
- The abolitionist community and the hundreds, if not thousands, who look to Russell for leadership are intentionally and diligently kept in the dark. According to Russell’s own testimony, this was to protect the cause.
- Many months later, a notoriously anti-abolitionist found out about Hunter’s sin and crime and exposed Hunter. He did not only expose Hunter’s sin and crime, he used Hunter’s sin and crime as a weapon against abolition.
- After this man went public with Hunter’s arrest, Hunter then decided to make a live video confessing what happened. This live video was only made available for those in the secret social media group that Hunter helps administer.
- Again, thus far and as far as I can tell, neither Hunter or Free the States have made any public statement.
Reasnor rightfully points out that the lack of an organized church in Hunter’s life (that’s my paraphrase) has been detrimental to his sobriety and accountability.
I would also second Reasnor’s petition that this not needlessly affect the noble cause of abolition. I do hope it negatively affects the Sectarian Minimalism with which AHA is so closely entwined.
In August of 2016, T. Russell Hunter publicly prayed an imprecatory prayer against me (JD Hall) and Pulpit & Pen. It does not, thus far, seem to have worked.
I pray for T. Russell Hunter, a man with whom I have literally broken bread (Panera Bread, actually). I am confident he knows the Gospel well enough to comprehend the means of forgiveness and absolution. He is a truly brilliant man.
I pray for abolitionism, that it might go in a more healthy direction, one that in outpouring of the Spirit’s work within the church and not an outside work that attacks the church.
I pray for the New Calvinists (like Joel McDurmon and others) who fetishize alcohol and treat it as something that doesn’t deserve great caution.
Blessings upon abolitionism, and blessings upon the movement to end human abortion. The movement is greater than any man, for it is a cause belonging exclusively to God.
[Publisher’s Note: Sorry for the delay in reporting. Hunter and AHA have been off our radar for some time. I did leave a message for Hunter, and I’ll publish any comment he would like to be added as a rejoinder]
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