Tuesday, April 26, 2005

You Just Keep Your $18, Dear

muzzle
Well, lo and behold. There WAS a response from the OALC to the letters to the editor in The Reflector. Rather than address the specific complaints with a correction or apology, however, the Christian lady made a threat. Frankly, I'm embarrassed on her behalf.

Here is the response from Marvin Case, the editor. (You can email him at staff@thereflector.com):

THINK IT THROUGH

Letters continue this week as writers alternately criticize and defend the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church.

It started with an April 6 letter from a 74-year-old Vancouver resident who moved to the area just two years ago, and with a paid advertisement in the same issue about the church.

In addition to letters on the subject, this writer received a phone call last week suggesting the withholding of advertising revenues.

The caller said she would have placed a garage sale ad in this newspaper had it not been for letters in last week's issue regarding her church. She said those letters should not have been published. And she said other would-be garage sale advertisers might feel the same way and withhold their business.

This newspaper cannot afford the loss of any advertising revenue, including $18 garage sale ads.

But a greater loss would be the loss of trust with the community to publish news and opinions fairly and impartially.

Suppose this newspaper would have chosen not to publish letters about the Old Apostolic Church. Readers, including last week's caller, could understandably wonder what else the newspaper might decline to publish. Would that caller rest more comfortably with a newspaper that pursued an agenda, and chose to muzzle some opinions while publishing others? Would any thinking reader be satisfied to read conflicting opinions on topics as long as their own personal project is left unscathed?

Extending that logic, newspapers would print no opinions because surely somebody somewhere would object to virtually every letter.

The alternative is the right course. Publish virtually every letter that meets minimal criteria--not too long, not critical of an area business, not a thank you. And then allow the thinking public to gather information and form their own conclusions.

It is this writer's belief that respect for this newspaper's commitment to giving people a vehicle for free speech will override the concerns some may have about letters on specific topics.

And it is this writer's hope that last week's caller will change her mind and place her garage sale with this newspaper. Every element of business is appreciated.

Marvin F. Case

6 comments:

  1. The US Constitution guarantees certain inalienable rights to the citizens of the United States. Amongst these rights: free speech, free press, and freedom of religion. We have to respect the freedoms of others even if we disagree with their opinions and lifestyles.
    I guess it is easy to forget the rights of others when we get busy looking out for our own best interests.
    It is good to see that the above mentioned paper has not buckled under the threat of $18 boycotts. Once again, personal freedoms beat out capitalism.

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  2. In general I agree with the newspaper editor, but "not critical of an area business?" Having that standard seems hypocritical to say the least. Go ahead and criticize churches, but leave business alone?

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  3. It's a good point and one that Marvin Case should hear. He can't have it both ways.

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  4. Let it be noted (for the record) that there was enough money left over from donations received for the No Fear ad that the revenue The Reflector lost from this advertisement was covered by God.

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  5. I just reread that and it's kind of confusing so I'll clarify: a donation was made in the amount of twenty dollars today to the Reflector to cover it.

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  6. I left the OALC years ago and it was by far the most difficult decision in my life. I had lost hope that any positive change would be considered much less made in the church. When I left I experienced sleepless nights and sometimes woke up in a cold sweat. It was a time of great anxiety.

    Fast forward to today. I'm relieved it is all behind me.

    Is there anything that might draw me back? What would have to change? For myself, the following, not in any particular order:

    The OALC would have to teach that it is not their place to say who will be saved.

    Teach respect for other people, other churches, other religions.

    Teach the value of appropriate behavior, rather than focus on looks and dress.

    Bring sex abuse out in the open so congregants are aware it has happened in the church, it happens in the church, and they know to be watchful.

    Teach couples to bear children out of love and want, rather than guilt.

    Teach that it is right and proper for men to respect women as important members of the church and family. This could easily be done by valuing and encouraging women's input.

    Discourage young marriages and encourage youth to get an education and be prepared to support a family before marriage.

    Teach parents to hold children in higher esteem by providing play areas at church with supervision. Children spend hours upon hours at church meetings, and often resort to playing with sticks, rocks, running in the parking lots, etc.

    Work together as clergy to be prepared to answer tough questions with rational, thoughtful, and useful responses. Society has changed over the past +150 years since Laestadius' time and it would behoove the church to live in the present. Consider reading more present-day sermons.

    Preach that smoking is wrong. Smoking destroys the body God gave us. How can that be condoned?

    Encourage members to reach out in their communities. God created life. He has a purpose for His creation and we are all created by Him. None of us gets to choose into which family or which country we are born.

    Teach that child abuse is wrong. Spanking a child on the bottom is one thing; but pulling hair, pulling ears, flicking faces, flicking heads, etc., is another. This must be addressed.

    Hold double-ring wedding ceremonies so OALC husbands show the world they are married just like the wives do.

    Preach against living on welfare except in cases of true need. Able-bodied adults should be working and not cheating the system. If there is no work, people should move where there is work.

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