An Open Letter On November 2, 2008
Your opening remark stressing that we were gathered in church to focus on God was very encouraging and appropriate. It is wonderful to come into God's house, entering into thanksgiving and praise and drowning out all other cares or concerns. And rather than such acts being a sign of retreat, they are strengthening as God inhabits our praise and goes before us.
Yet the insertion of the American Family Association (AFA) literature on the upcoming Presidential election into the church bulletin was a clear distraction to worship and in opposition to the stated goal of focusing on God. (Because I know that the Board of Deacons and Trustees likely had more input concerning placement of the AFA literature than you, I have copied them all.)
Over the years the AFA has demonstrated itself to be nothing more than a tool of the Republican Party. AFA issues are selected and specifically worded to cast a favorable light on Republican candidates and an unfavorable light on Democratic candidates. And one must wonder why the AFA literature was inserted into the church bulletin only two days before the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections, giving members no time to research and find that the information contained is incorrect.
Fortunately I had researched the flyer some time ago when I found a supply on a table in the lobby during a Wednesday night service. I reviewed it then hoping to find that it was not one of the Republican advance pieces the AFA typically produces. I was disappointed. The particular flyer inserted into today’s bulletin contained blatant untruths. Specifically;
• The AFA flyer states that Senator Obama is opposed to limiting marriage to one man and one woman under federal law and under state law. This statement is separated into two entries to make it seem more astounding. What Senator Obama has said is that the definition of marriage is a matter for the church, not the government. Well said! As marriage is God’s institution I am surprised the church would not agree. On the other hand both Senators McCain and Obama are in favor domestic partnerships that allow domestic partners to be covered under health benefits of their partner’s health care plan, purchase property together, adopt children and receive any other benefits available to married partners. Governor Sarah Palin specifically stated such in her debate with Senator Biden.
• The AFA flyer states that Senator Obama opposes the nomination of a pro-life Supreme Court Justice. What both campaigns have said is that there should be no single- issue litmus test for nomination to the Supreme Court. A nominee to the Supreme Court must be weighed on his or her overall record.
• The AFA flyer states that Senator Obama opposes reducing American dependence on foreign oil. Any who viewed any of the televised debates knows this is not true. Senator Obama has pointed out that the Unites States possesses 3% of known oil reserves and consumes 25% of all oil used in the world. Drilling to exhaust our 3% is not the answer! Senator Obama encourages conservation of oil resources, a shift to renewable resources, and requires that offshore drilling be done in a manner that protects the environment. Senator Obama wants oil companies to begin drilling in areas covered by the 5,500 offshore leases they presently hold but are not using before they are given additional drilling rights in pristine environments. Senator Obama has set a 10-year period for American energy independence. What part of this does the AFA consider not well grounded? And what part is in opposition to ending dependence on foreign oil?
I could continue to address the deliberate inaccuracies of the AFA document, but I am sure you get my point by now— there was no need to insert this document into the bulletin where it would be carried into the sanctuary by worshipers unaware that they had been given such a distracting and inaccurate piece of literature with the expectation that they would simply accept its accuracies and follow blindly. (This act of stealth should not have been perpetrated against a people who have learned to trust you.) Wouldn’t you rather be reading my specific questions regarding application of the message? Don’t you believe this note is as much a distraction to me as it is to you? Couldn’t our time (this time) have been better spent?
Why do you or anyone else find it necessary to introduce your politics into God’s House? We have listened to the debates, we have informed ourselves, we know the location of the government buildings and polling places, and we are literate. We come to church to worship!
(Luke 20:25 KJV) And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.