Hastert encouraged to quit

By The Associated Press

PLANO – An Indian Christian evangelist who boasts he persuaded warlord Charles Taylor to give up the Liberian presidency came to House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s home Tuesday on a similar mission: to get the Republican leader to step down over the congressional page scandal.

Hastert welcomed Houston evangelist K.A. Paul, founder of the Global Peace Initiative, at his door and spent about 30 minutes inside with him. Later, Hastert declined to comment on the meeting, saying, “That’s a privileged conversation.”

Paul said the two prayed together and he told the speaker he should resign.

“You need to for the sake of the country and for the sake of your future,” Paul said he told Hastert. “You pray within your heart and you do it.”

Paul is best known as Taylor’s spiritual adviser, and he has often passed along messages from former Liberian president Taylor, who is in jail awaiting trial before a war crimes tribunal. Paul also claims to have counseled Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Haiti’s rebel leader Guy Philippe.

Why Hastert would agree to meet with Paul mystified Dan Busby, an executive of an accrediting group that found problems with one of Paul’s charities.

In 2005, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which has more than 1,200 members, terminated the membership of Paul’s Gospel to the Unreached Millions for failing to meet financial accountability and governance standards.

“I find that more shocking than surprising,” said Dan Busby, vice president of the accrediting council. “It would mean Dennis Hastert or his people didn’t do their homework on the history of this organization.”

Hastert spokesman Brad Hahn would not comment on how or why the meeting with Paul was arranged.