NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The board of the nation's largest organization of religious broadcasters voted to accept the resignation of the group's new president, who has been criticized for his desire to steer the group away from politics.
Wayne Pederson submitted his resignation to the National Religious Broadcasters amid an outcry over his comments in January to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. The NRB board of directors took up the matter Saturday during the organization's annual convention.
"My concern is for NRB ... to continue in unity," Pederson said Saturday. "We are disappointed and sad to leave, but we would be sadder still if a rift had resulted from this situation. We want you to unite around the common cause that brings us together."
Pederson, former executive vice president for radio at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn., was elected NRB president last fall and already had been working in the organization's headquarters in Manassas, Va.
But his comments to the Star Tribune prompted the NRB executive committee to vote on whether to retain him. The committee voted 5-4 in January to do so, but agreed five days later to give him the opportunity to resign.
Pederson told the newspaper he worries that when people think of Christian broadcasters, "they think of the political right, and I think that's unfair."
"We're all entitled to our political views, and evangelicals tend to gravitate toward more conservative politics," he said. "But sometimes in taking our stands we've allowed ourselves to be typecast, and the effectiveness spiritually has been diminished."
He called for the NRB to focus "on what's important to us spiritually."
NRB chairman and chief executive Glenn Plummer said Saturday the group will maintain its focus.
"First, let me say that any anxiety about a change in direction of NRB is unfounded," he said.
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