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 email@example.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