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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dear Pam and Charlie: Do you believe in Hell?



Pastor Kevin Hester of Coloma, Michigan, posed the question to a slew of public officials, including Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Gov. Charlie Crist: "I am doing a study on 'Hell' and I was wondering about some of your thoughts on this place," he wrote.

Hell Iorio never responded, Hester said. But Crist's Office of Citizen Services sent a letter explaining that the governor is a longtime member of the First Methodist Church of St. Petersburg, and he knows personally the effectiveness of prayer.

But in classic Crist manner, he evaded the core question. Hester said a few people answered by saying hell is holding public office.

And then there's Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP board of directors, who wrote: "As a child, it was an imagined, hot, smokey evil place, presided over by a long-tailed devil in a red suit. Today, it is a place people used to tell me about."

If you wanna read Hester's letter and Crist's response in full, click here: Download Hester.pdf

-- Janet Zink, Times staff writer

[AP Photo]

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:28am]


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