Former Statesmen Discuss Bipartisan Civility

by Univeristy Relations

Modeling uncommon civility in discourse and action, former congressmen Tony Hall (D-OH) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) addressed the APU community on September 14, 2016. Their presentation, Friendship across the Aisle: United by the Gospel, engaged the audience in a conversation about religious freedom, justice, human rights, and bipartisan cooperation. The first of six in a lecture series sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the event drew more than 100 students, faculty, staff, and community members eager to hear the wisdom and experiences of these two accomplished politicians.

Their 30-year friendship began when they met at a congressional member prayer group. Though they hold very different views on many national and societal issues, they share a deep faith in Christ. They learned early on that their common bond outweighs their differences, and they committed to pray with and for one another. Over time, they developed an abiding trust that has endured three decades and provided a valuable confidante for each.

Hall, a leading advocate for hunger relief and human rights, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times and served under former President George W. Bush as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. agencies for food and agriculture. Wolf, a distinguished senior fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, authored the International Religious Freedom Act, which helped establish the bipartisan, independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Together, they embodied the strength of friendship and the peace that comes from looking beyond disparities in opinion and ideology. Both praised the value of institutions like Azusa Pacific, where difference makers are discipled spiritually and well prepared for vocational success. They also challenged the attendees to take their faith seriously and put it into action. To those who seek ways to effect change in this era of extreme uncertainty, they encouraged believers to follow the sage advice of Saint Teresa: Do that which is in front of you.