A yellow street sign that shows a family running across a street and the words CAUTION against trees and the words below What Would Jesus Do?

What would Jesus do about the undocumented immigrant crisis at our southern border?

He would walk with them to America but then hold up his hand and proclaim, “Stop Here!”

He would also create a far-reaching network of pro-Trump Facebook pages, including Blacks for Trump and lie that he’s African American. 

For us at Freep, this is not the Jesus we know. But for Upper Arlington’s Kelly Kullberg, a far-right Evangelical celebrity of sorts, this is her Jesus, as she transforms him and the scriptures into political weapons.

Deep within the American heartland there are a host of Evangelical Christian strongholds, and no doubt, Columbus is one of them.

Two local congregations or megachurches, both with thousands of devoted followers, stand out. There’s Rod Parsley and his World Harvest Church, which sort of looks like a massive menacing spaceship, in Canal Winchester. In Westerville there’s the main campus of the Vineyard, which recently announced that its congregation raised $13 million in six weeks to build five more campuses.

But do you know who Kelly Kullberg is and how much influence she has? Probably not, because she’s been waging a secretive info war pushing a far-right agenda on the unsuspecting and the easily influenced.

Kullberg, an Ohio State and Ohio University grad, is perhaps best known for her time at Harvard as a graduate student chaplain. Her desire to promote Evangelicalism on campus inspired her to write the best-selling Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Christian Thinkers. Following this, she started the Veritas Forum, a non-profit that helps Christian students on college campuses host forums debating the existence of God and the relationship between science and religion, among other topics.

Veritas, by the way, means “truth,” but since Trump has come on the scene, Kullberg has, just like our President, gone down the rabbit hole of stretching the veritas.

Recently, she was caught by the truth-verifying website Snopes for running 24 Facebook pages, such as “Blacks for Trump” or “Jews & Christians for America,” with 1.4 million followers. 

“These pages are steeped in fantastical notions of ‘globalist’ conspiracies linking Islam, Socialism, and multi-billionaire philanthropist and Democratic Party supporter George Soros to the decline of Western civilization. Some of these pages also claim that survivors of the Parkland High School massacre in the US, for instance, are on a Soros-funded leftist-Islamist payroll,” stated Snopes.

Kullberg recently published an article on an Evangelical news site titled, “9 Things Jesus Might Do About Immigration.” She wrote, “Of course Jesus would walk alongside the people in the migrant caravans. But are we sure He would lead them north?”

We would like to ask Kullberg this: “Would you and He not feel pity when undocumented immigrants drown in rivers as they desperately seek out a better life?”

Not all local Evangelicals think and feel like Kullberg or Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church, for that matter, who once wrote, “America was founded in part with the intention of seeing the false religion of Islam destroyed.”

The good twin of local Evangelism, however, is the Vineyard. Make no mistake about it, they are progressive-minded and loving.

“Vineyard Columbus has always taught that Jesus’ heart is one of welcome,” said Vineyard past0r Bill Christensen to the Free Press recently. “Welcoming the vulnerable, the poor, orphan and immigrant. The consistent stance we want to take is one of welcome to the foreigner. Jesus himself was an immigrant.”

Christensen says to be true to the heart of Jesus, Christians should support policies that respect the dignity of all people including foreign born.

“Our government’s policy of separating families seeking asylum is wrong, an evil oppression of vulnerable children,” he says. “No one wakes up in Central America and randomly decides to uproot their family and travel hundreds of miles across unfamiliar land and desert to come to a country with unfamiliar culture and language unless there are very specific threats to one’s own safety.”

Christensen says his church supports humanitarian bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which is a phrase often used in Congress implying a pathway for citizenship will be legally established for the millions of undocumented immigrants. Of note, the Vineyard Community Center provides low or no cost legal help for immigrants, free ESL classes and citizenship and life-skill classes for immigrants.

Kelly Kullberg’s zeal to push Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, says Christensen, is probably inspired by a fundamental and powerful emotion we all deal with.

“Christians do not have a complete or exclusive hold on truth. Christians like all human beings can misunderstand, miscommunicate and misconstrue things. Within dramatic change in society we can sometimes be fearful and forget who we are,” he says.

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