06 June 2008

More From Media Double Standardland

About four years ago, Columbus City Council was considering ill-informed regulation on competition rifles. The ban that ultimately went into effect (it has since been made redundant by passage of a statewide general law putting all firearms regulation into the hands of state lawmakers) resulted in the National Rifle Association pulling its planned 2007 Meetings & Exhibitions from Ohio's capitol city and moving the event to St. Louis.

Prior to one of the many hearings, a local pastor gave an invocation and during his remarks and called on God to help the brave council people have the strength to do what needed to be done, and ban the evil guns. Or something like that.

But he quoted scripture, and even called for the people of Columbus to beat their swords into plowshares.

NO one on council batted an eye. No one in the media took notice. But a number of people in the audience were shaken because scripture was being used (they said improperly) to beat down a particular way of thinking. Further, when the over-the-top comments were pointed out to either a newspaper or TV reporter in the outer hallway later that night, the media folks seemed unimpressed. I did not hear the invocation (I was a few minutes late to that particular hearing), but I did HEAR ABOUT IT from a number of people who were in the Council chambers early.

I remember one person who was interviewed by either the Columbus Dispatch or one of the local television stations pointing out that the minister was very much "in the wrong" for what he said -- no matter his personal convictions about guns.

The consensus was that while the pastor had his opinion (as we all do), he should have left it at home or at his church. I concur. This wasn't his church. It was a government building. It is one thing for clergy to come and testify in a government hearing before an elected body, either as an individual, or representing their parishioners. But to have an semi-official "post" and role within Council -- a Council that claimed that it was keeping an open mind on the subject (it wasn't -- the decision had been made before the first hearing took place) -- smacked of trying to load the deck. It came across as . . . well, unprofessional and sneaky.

Either way, no one on Council, nor any of the media, seemed to care -- even though many in the Council chambers were visibly upset by it.

Fast forward to June 6, 2008. Today's Columbus Dispatch features an editorial lambasting clergy for getting involved in politics.


Yes, the "Big D" thinks that clergy have no place in politics, and the reasons for such are best demonstrated by the problems both presumptive party nominees John McCain and Barack Obama are facing after controversial statements made on their behalf from the pulpit by supporters who wear the cloth.

"The separation of church and state is one of the great cornerstones of this nation. Yet each new political season evokes ever-more crossing of the line, with politicians pandering unashamedly for support from religious groups and men and women of the cloth believing their flocks should take their political advice along with their spiritual guidance. These clergy act as if fealty to a religious doctrine translates easily into adherence to a political cause . . . . "
So while the Dispatch had no problem with local clergy urging on City Council members to ban or force the registration of perfectly legal competition rifles, it has a problem today with clergy speaking out about the presidential candidates.

"But the clergy who believe it is their calling to help stir this goulash, believing that a dash or two of old-time, new-time or any-time religion will make it more palatable, are wrong. They jeopardize all they say they stand for when they use the power of their ordination to exert influence in the temporal arena of politics."

Bingo! This should have been written four years ago. But then, the Dispatch has never been friendly to the idea of women keeping a firearm -- no matter what type -- to protect their children.


Jack Burton said...

Ohio is a state that has passed some very good laws on acknowledging the basic freedom of Americans on the RKBA issues... but they still have a ways to go.

CCW in church is one where Ohio has absolutely no right to mandate any default position... but it does anyway.

I discuss this in my essay CCW and Churches: Does the state have a role to play? at:


Joe said...

e Dispatch is not alone in its' hypocracy. Most newspapers appear to either lean toward the liberal view or outright espouse them while shunning the opposing conservative view.

When a church violates the tax exemption status by commenting and opining on political issues, citizens should be writing to the:

IRS at Exempt Organizations Examination Division -
1100 Commerce Street, ATTN: T:EO:E -
Dallas, TX 75242