To the editor:
There are three things I thought I’d never see in my life. Many years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you told me Fareway was going to stock up on cold beer and liquor. Another thing I never considered was the possibility of Japan essentially launching aircraft carriers again. The very last thing I would have ever thought I’d see is a local pastor posting a blatantly political letter yet also recommending his own church.
That’s just the beginning of the issues I have with Pastor Reyes’ recent letter to the editor.
First off, I don’t want to hear or read any complaints about The Perry News being unwilling to publish letters from the Radical Right. It’s right there for everyone to see. You have no idea how many times I’ve sat on my thumbs because I didn’t want a response of mine to discourage someone from posting again. I usually just let things go.
Well, no way could I just let this go. I have attempted to post on the pastor’s news feed on several occasions only to see my comments deleted. I was never disrespectful. I never used a bad word. It annoys me because I genuinely like the man. Not once was I ever mean spirited.
I offered other opinions. I even contradicted him a couple of times but not in any kind of nasty way. I got deleted and blocked on a forum he frequents, the moderator of which called me a pagan and blocked me. I give folks the liberty of poofing my comments, but it just suggests some people can’t handle criticism even when it’s couched with respect and clean language.
With no bitterness or resentment whatsoever, I must state that he can’t poof me here. Yes, folks of any political or religious persuasion can post on The Perry News (provided their information is quantifiably correct). Those who disagree are also free to respond with a comment or another letter. You’re free to make your own feed a one-way trip but that doesn’t fly in the public sphere. I digress.
I’ll state this as plainly and simply as possible: Pastor Reyes has submitted a blatantly political letter in which he also promotes his own church. He’s certainly free to do so. No one will deny him that right. The problem is that his church is a non-profit institution exempt from taxes, provided it does not directly or indirectly involve itself with political activity. The church can stay clear of politics and remain exempt from taxes, or it can exercise its Constitutional right of promoting political causes and be taxed. The law governing this matter is in no way vague.
I don’t want to cause any trouble. Unlike many of my friends, I am content to let the pastor and others like him off with a warning. I don’t really want to go down a hard road here, but I am drawing a hard line. Individual Christians can be as active as they please. Members of church congregations are also free to splinter off with their own independent organizations, provided they use no church facilities or resources to do so.
My point is that no way are churches allowed to throw their money, clout or any ecclesiastical authority behind political causes and not be taxed. I am certainly more tolerant here. A good many of my friends want churches taxed regardless.
Beware. Pastor Reyes and many like him have pushed things too far. If they don’t want us pushing back, they need to stop. I for one would rather avoid the conflict and hostilities.
That’s enough for this installment. I’m going to take issue with the content of his letter in a day or two. Until then, I am fervently praying about all this. There’s too much turbulence in the country already. The small ripple of a tiny pebble tossed in the sea can create a genuine tsunami on a distant shore.