Open hearts doesn’t mean open mic
The Sept. 3 Post Independent front-page story “Church turns away Sheehan” paints an incomplete image of the situation.
The open members meeting on Thursday was to have been an opinion and fact-gathering meeting. Dean Moffatt had been asked to have Jim Chenoweth in attendance to answer questions about Ms. Sheehan’s visit. Mr. Chenoweth elected to not attend.
The Chair of the Administrative Council had been asking for more information from Mr. Moffatt and Mr. Chenoweth for several days, concerning the supporting organization and the essence of the presentation. No information was forthcoming.
There were real concerns associated with having Ms. Sheehan, an acknowledged political activist who has declared she will be seeking political office, use the Church as her speaking platform. With the recent pressures to separate the Church and State, there was the perceived threat of losing the Church’s tax-exempt status.
The fire department has established a 303 persons occupancy limit in the Sanctuary. Historically, many more persons have attended Ms. Sheehan’s presentations in other locations. Our church is not equipped to handle the large numbers that probably would try to enter. There is some question as to whether our insurance would cover such an event.
Our motto, “Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors” welcomes all who wish to worship with us. I don’t believe it is an invitation to an open microphone to anyone who has a message, regardless of content. The organizations which use our building on an ongoing schedule, such as: extended table, music venues, business organizations, etc. are of a homogeneous nature. There are no conflict of interests, and therefore no propensity to have altercations between differing factions. Although the Sheehan presentation might turn out to be completely peaceful and without disturbance, history suggests otherwise.
One final note. The procedure at The First United Methodist Church calls for the administrative council to approve any unusual activity prior to announcing the approval. This step was bypassed and the only people who knew of the approval were the pastor, Mr. Moffatt and the church secretary who acknowledged the requested date was open. The members of the administrative council found out about the approval from the newspapers.
The proper procedure was bypassed and forced the administrative council to hold a special session, and to make the decision after the ball had started rolling. It is unfortunate that so much had been made of Ms. Sheehan’s visit, in the newspaper account, and in letters to the editor, before the ad council had a chance to act.
William Ed Odell
The day after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, President Bush got in a round of golf. Later that week, the president cut short his month-long vacation to fly to San Diego and give a speech to World War II veterans in celebration of the victory over Japan 60 years ago. On the way back to Washington, the president had Air Force One fly slowly over New Orleans at 1,700 feet altitude to better see the storm damage. The next day the president got in another round of golf.
I enjoy a round of golf myself, now and then. But if I was the President of the United States, and the country had just been hit by the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history, I might just cancel those tee times. There are hundreds of golf jokes about how addictive the sport is. But what seems to be missing here is a sense of priorities.
I mention these circumstances because 40 percent of people polled support the job President Bush is doing. The challenge, as I see it, is to convince a lot more of that 40 percent that they are making a serious mistake. Bush supporters believe so strongly in the president that even the simple facts I mentioned above can be ignored or dismissed as some “liberal” plot. And unfortunately, Fox News and other right-wing outlets will not have much to say about things like Secretary of State Rice catching a Broadway play and shopping for Italian shoes, or the vice president fly fishing in Wyoming, even as the rescue efforts were going on.
It is not so much that George W. Bush and his staff aren’t working to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, it is that they just don’t care.
On Sept. 3, we in the Roaring Fork Valley were treated to another ill-advised, myopic history lesson, courtesy of that loveable liberal columnist, Hal Sundin. Hal gives us the true scoop on historic tyrants like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Hitler (oops, mentioned him again, Sue), then confidently compares their likes with, you guessed it, George W. Bush.
Apparently the war on terror, especially its manifestation in Iraq, is in the same category of imperialistic conquest of the megalomaniacs above ” at least, in the dubious logic of Sundin and fellow left-wingers; fascinating analysis, isn’t it?
Sundin and like-minded ranting liberals should stick with subjects they are more qualified to opine on (i.e., fantasy and science fiction).
He laments Bush’s “delusions of grandeur” costing billions of dollars and thousands of lives destroyed ” as if Bush chose this response to terror as his first option, which he certainly did not.
But, hey, let’s demonize George Bush; it’s fashionable these days. As expected, no mention is made of the real cause of such misery and devastation: Islamic terrorists and Jihadists, whose stated goal, make no mistake, is the complete destruction of both Israel and America, and long before we were ever in Iraq.
But then, stubborn facts as this will never stand in the way of the condescending, revisionist, Republican-hating agenda of Sundin, Sue Gray, and others on the rather loopy far left; facing the truth like that would put a nasty crimp in their blissfully ignorant ideology.
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