Sunday, January 06, 2013

Second Attack on Portland Church by Gay Activists. NE Portland Church Excoriated for Sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop. This is What Persecution Looks Like.

A cadre of Portland gay activists is urging public scorn of a NE Portland church for its sponsorship of a Boy Scouts troop.  This small band of secularists has started a petition against the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst for its sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop 22.

We have started a petition in SUPPORT of the church. Please sign it here.

It's the second attack on a local church by gay activists recently. The first of those incidents was last April at SE Portland's Mars Hill Church whose windows were smashed by a group calling itself, "Angry Queers."

The churches are only 1.1 miles apart.


 
The attack on Mars Hill church is still unsolved according to a church leader. See my posts about the case here, here and here.

Why persecute a church for sponsoring a Boy Scout troop? Because the Scouts won't allow homosexuals to be troop leaders.

In addition to the attempted public 'shaming' of the church, the "tolerant" group also urged a boycott of the Scouts Christmas tree recycling which occurs on church property and is the biggest fund raiser for the Troop.
Mars Hills window smashed by "Angry Queers"

Christians have been put on notice by Portland radicals: do what we say or we'll attack you.  The silence of public officials is tacit cheer leading of these attacks. Former Mayor Sam Adams, Portland's first gay Mayor, never repudiated the attack on Mars Hill. The men of the Q[ueer] Center did reach out and help clean up.

Make no mistake, this is what persecution looks like.


The Pastor has written a letter (see complete letter below) to the neighborhood explaining that opening their doors to the Scouts is better than shutting them out:
This annual protest has always been peaceful, appropriate, and articulate. Its point is well-taken: whenever institutions, such as churches or the Boy Scouts, adopt policies or practices of exclusion, we “lead by (bad) example,” seeming to justify society in similar exclusionary behaviors. ...I don’t have any say in the way the local troop organizes itself, but I can tell you that, from what I know of the boys and their leaders, I can’t imagine anyone not being welcome in Troop 22. ... I expect that, in time, scouts who are true to the principles of scouting will find themselves less and less able to support the current BSA policy of homosexual exclusion. I don’t know when, but I think it will happen sooner if we keep talking together instead of cutting our ties.
According to the Scout Master for Troop 22 who talked to me on the air Friday, the Scouts have done wonderful things for the community for decades. He also told me the Troop was kicked out of a local school in 1978 because they wouldn't let girls in their Troop.

A signer of our petition (sign it here) says,

My son was in Cub Scouts Pack 22 for four years. This church was a beacon and a great support for these boys and their families for decades now. Please don't stop serving our community and our boys just because there are a few disgruntled and bitter people who like to be offended at everything. Thank you!


The following is the Pastor's letter to the community, a copy of which was given to the Victoria Taft Show:

Dear Neighbors,

As pastor of the church which sponsors Boy Scout Troop 22, whose annual Christmas Tree recycling event happens this Saturday, I’m writing to you about an objection of conscience which the publicity for the recycling event has prompted recently.

For the past couple of years, some in the Laurelhurst neighborhood have lodged a protest with our congregation over our sponsorship of the scouts, specifically charging that our support implies endorsement of the national policy of the Boy Scouts of America which excludes homosexuals from leadership in local units. This annual protest has always been peaceful, appropriate, and articulate. Its point is well-taken: whenever institutions, such as churches or the Boy Scouts, adopt policies or practices of exclusion, we “lead by (bad) example,” seeming to justify society in similar exclusionary behaviors. The protesters have suggested, as remedy, that the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst (PCL) should discontinue our sponsorship of Troop 22 and cancel the recycling fund-raiser.

We have not done so, for reasons which flow out of our own recent denomination-wide experience discussing homosexuality. To make a long story short, in 1978, when the national Presbyterian Church was asked to include gay and lesbian members as leaders, the denomination refused, by an overwhelming majority. But rather than settling the issue, that vote served to launch a national conversation within the Presbyterian family. Instead of leaving the church, gay and lesbian Presbyterians—our own brothers, sisters, children, and friends—came “out of the closet” and began telling the rest of us their stories. Over three decades’ time, in discussions which took most of us out of our comfort zones repeatedly, the tide of opinion shifted slowly but steadily, until in 2010, a narrow but growing majority reversed the earlier decision and made it possible for anyone to be in leadership in the Presbyterian Church regardless of sexual orientation. (And, the story is ongoing, because now, the new minority-erstwhile-majority—fellow members who remain dear to us—argue strenuously that we in the new majority have made a grave mistake.)

This, I submit, is a story of normal life in a community of conscience: messy, open-ended, and unsettled. If Presbyterians have any learning to share with our fellow citizens in the wider community, it is that staying in relationship is the best (but not easy) way for the greatest number of people to encounter human differences so as to broaden their understanding rather than harden their preconceptions. That is, we should try to keep as broad a diversity of friends as possible, however uncomfortable it makes us, as an antidote to polarization.

Here in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, I take this lesson to mean that we have a better chance of progressing toward Dr. King’s “beloved community” by deepening our partnerships instead of severing them. The recent annual protest has led to conversations between PCL’s and Troop 22’s leaders—lengthy ones—and at least one with a BSA leader in the regional Cascade Council: conversations which wouldn’t have happened had we ended our affiliation. I don’t have any say in the way the local troop organizes itself, but I can tell you that, from what I know of the boys and their leaders, I can’t imagine anyone not being welcome in Troop 22. And I will hazard this prediction: just as Presbyterians have kept discovering that the teachings of Jesus hold within them the seeds which grow up to overturn all systems of prejudice, so I expect that, in time, scouts who are true to the principles of scouting will find themselves less and less able to support the current BSA policy of homosexual exclusion. I don’t know when, but I think it will happen sooner if we keep talking together instead of cutting our ties.

Thanks so much for listening. What do you think?

Sincerely,

Greg Ikehara-Martin
Pastor, Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst (PCL)

4 comments:

  1. Celebrate diversity, unless of course you disagree with us.

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  2. Hi Victoria,

    It's a nice sentiment that would appeal to most reasonable people, but that's his first mistake; thinking the people people he is dealing with are reasonable. I suspect they would detest the word normal and have little respect for his beliefs or those of his congregation.

    The pastor needs to make a decision about how important his values are to him or start another 30 year long discussion that may see him and his church rendered as a reservoir of ignorance and bigotry and no longer acceptable. These people allow no gray areas or judgement calls on their issues and will react with hate. If he needs inspiration, he might reflect on Pastor Niemoller's poems about the Nazis and standing against hate.

    As a private organization, the BSA's position is not discrimnatory, but falls under well decided law about the freedom to associate. The BSA has been successfully excluded by the United Good Way due to it's dependence on government employee deductions as well as the use of public facilities such as schools. there is no such control over private property.

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  3. Everyone "discriminates" when they hire an employee, teacher, housekeeper, babysitter, who they will marry etc.. This is bigoted BS to force scouts to hire people that have a MUCH higher percentage of child molesting- God give them their rewards soon. These bigoted Fascist, aggressive gay groups are demented and ugly people.

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  4. Hi regnr8,

    I meant discriminate in the legal sense, but your correct about life situations. I think you overstate your case as there is no evidence that I know of that gay people are more likely to molest kids than any other group.

    The simplest argument is that I'm sure that many gay Americans voted for Obama in 2008 knowing he was against gay marriage, but they believed that was a smaller issue than his agenda. The same is true for the BSA, the good they do far outweighs the "harm" of their hiring policy.

    Depends on which count you take, gay and lesbian Americans make up 3-5% of the population, so lets destroy the BSA because of a handful of haters that dwell in that group.

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