Monday, June 26, 2006

Retired clergy win a Spotty!

A Spotty is awarded for this Commentary in last Saturday's Star Tribune.
As retired United Methodist clergy, we are extremely disturbed by the comments of columnist Katherine Kersten about our church ("Methodists' focus on activism may be clearing out pews," June 5). They distort facts and disparage the work of our faith communities.

United Methodists continue to converse on the issues discussed at our recent annual conference. Human sexuality is not an issue of "church leadership vs. the pew." The 1,000 lay and clergy voters at the conference session represented every United Methodist congregation in Minnesota.

Regarding human sexuality, our church's Social Principles state, "sexuality is God's good gift to all persons ... . we call all persons to the disciplined, responsible fulfillment of themselves, others, and society in the stewardship of this gift ... . we recognize that God challenges us to find responsible, committed, and loving forms of expression."

We ask: So why did Katherine Kersten write inflammatory commentaries regarding conversations about which she was not even a part? Why did she make inaccurate and misleading comments about our church and its leaders?

Kersten has long been listed on its website as an advisory board member of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a right-wing political action group that has been working for the last 25 years to discredit the social witness of three mainline denominations -- the United Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal churches.

Its reports on our sermons and meetings seem designed to encourage division in our congregations. The IRD is funded by far-right political foundations and persons such as Richard Scaife and Adolph Coors.

In other words, Kersten not only has strong personal biases behind what she says in her columns, but she has been closely aligned with a political action group with an agenda contrary to the social teachings of mainline churches.

Kersten's role as columnist should not give her license to take statements out of context and recklessly wage conflict against mainline Protestant denominations. If her calling is to pursue the truth, it is imperative that she disclose her ties, past and present, to right-wing organizations such as the IRD.

We are not a fundamentalist church. We do not seek to impose our will on one another or on those who are not part of our community. We dare to look for the presence of God in every person we meet; indeed, we embrace the diversity of God's creation.

Our communion table is open to all persons "who wish to live a new life, following in the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ."

That may open us to the scorn and ridicule of Katherine Kersten. So be it! Persons of faith have been scorned before. We do not apologize for daring to address the many critical issues of our day.

John Soderberg, Eagan; Jeanne Audrey Powers, Minneapolis; Lyle Christianson, Golden Valley, and Betty Lundeen, New Brighton, are retired UMC clergy.

Amen, brothers and sisters! The insightful Media Transparency also comments on Kersten's buffoonery:
Last year the Mpls Star Tribune hired a director and fellow of the Center of the American Experiment (CAE), a Twin Cities Republican propaganda outfit, as a general news columnist, after she was fired from the paper's op-ed page, even though she had zero experience as a journalist. Kersten was hired as a columnist after a former head of the Minnesota Republican Party who was CEO of a local bank threatened and then removed his bank's ads from the newspaper, this after another columnist criticized him.
Now, in typical Kersten fashion, she has smeared the United Methodist Church with attacks in concert with the unethical and nasty Institute on Religion and Democracy, where she sits on the advisory board.
Also, the prime contention of Kersten in her column on the United Methodists was that they are losing members because of their social witness beliefs, which is a lie. Proven social science research has shown the UMC's declining membership is due to a lower birth rate, which Kersten either deliberately ignored or didn't take the time to research.
Spot has already commented on this in Katie bashes religion.
Remember, boys and girls, a Spotty is awarded to someone who publishes a letter to the editor, commentary, blog post, or blog post comment that Spot wishes that he had made.
Powered By Qumana

No comments: