Saturday, August 25, 2007
What does 'liberal, welcoming' mean at your church?
Friday's Washington Post includes a column that opens with this anecdote:
The sign outside Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church in Burke announces that it is a "liberal, welcoming religious community." For Rep. Tom Davis yesterday, it was more liberal than welcoming.
The Virginia Republican, a possible Senate candidate who supports the Iraq war, had bravely agreed to attend a meeting of the antiwar Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. It was a journey into the belly of the beast, and Davis got out in one piece. Almost.
He accepted -- but did not drink from -- the bottle of water with the sticker saying "Iraq War/Wrong Way." He spoke from the lectern with the poster demanding "Representative Davis . . . End This War." He politely endured shouts from the audience: "Chicken hawks! Impeach Bush! Our children are dying! You didn't answer the question!"
Then, as the moderator tried to bring the forum to an amicable close, a man in the second row stood up. "This has been a terrible meeting!" shouted David Kuebrich. "Let's not thank Representative Davis, who has been for the most part lock-stepping with the Bush administration."
Others applauded, booed Davis and joined in the protest. The congressman, buttonholed by angry activists, beat a hasty retreat, pushing aside chairs to get out of the church.
Be sure to watch the video report, too, which shows the event organizers doing a good job of trying to establish a civil meeting.
So: Does the fact that an antiwar group held a forum on a weeknight in a UU church sanctuary with a moderate Republican Congressman and a mainstream Democratic adviser mean that the congregation betrayed its "liberal, welcoming" self-image? If the congregation itself had hosted the event, I sure would have let the podium and the water bottles go unadorned. But the boorishness of some of the activists in the audience doesn't necessarily mean that the church itself is unfriendly. Then again, UU political activists are not always the folks I'd appoint to the church welcoming committee.
If this article were about your congregation, would you be more indignant at the reporter, the organization sponsoring the event, the people in the audience, the congregation, or the Congressman?
("For a man in the middle on Iraq, church provides no sanctuary," Dana Milbank, Washington Post 8.24.07)
Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 25 August 2007 at 11:05 AM