Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Christophobic Columnists

One of the increasingly less successful taunts used by the left is to defame people with whom they disagree.   A prime example of that came from a column in today's Sacramento Bee where William Endicott, a former editor who should know better, tried to ascribe "homophobia" to the leader of the Fremont Presbyterian Church.  

On the First of January the Bee had a story about a gay man who committed suicide.  The man, Thomas Panniccia, was evidently one of the first members of the Armed Forces to declare publicly that he was gay.   On the anniversary of his declaration he committed suicide.   The pastor, Donald Baird, of Panniccia's church was described in the article as his "mentor, friend and pastor."   Fremont is one of many protestant churches that has struggled with the issues of gay marriage and ordination of gays.   Baird is pretty clear - "If a church loses its integrity, it ceases to be a church," Baird said. "The world changes. God's word doesn't."   Obviously , there are some who take a much more flexible view of scripture - who believe that they can update the Bible to suit their personal biases or current political views.   There is plenty of evidence that one of the reasons that mainline protestant denominations continue to lose members is that many of their leaders seem almost cavalier with their scripture.

Pannicia was, according to the story an important part of the parish. He had a job as an outreach coordinator, which he got after he moved to Sacramento and was laid off from his computer job.    The pastor's son said the veteran was an important part of the family of the parish - he was "truly accepted and comfortable."   One of the tenets of the parish, based on their interpretation of scripture, is that no person should engage in sexual relations without being married.   According to the article Pannicia accepted that tenet.   He clearly could have found another church, if he disagreed with it.  Baird said "I'm not homophobic. I know people have this view that evangelicals hate gays, and that's not true. We don't. We hate sin, and we are all sinners."   When I read the story, I thought here is an interesting set of issues, and a religious leader who is struggling with his job of leading a Christian flock.

Endicott uses the quote from Baird without reflecting a bit on it and then goes on to suggest that it suggests that Baird believes "being born gay is a sin."  I am not sure how he discerned this unless he is indeed scared of Christians or Christophobic.   Part of any religious denomination is a set of tenets which help us to become better people.   Reverend Baird's church, or at least a substantial portion of its members, do not accept sexual relations outside of marriage - either heterosexual or homosexual.  Their focus is not status, but behavior.   The commandments say thou shall not steal, if someone does not subscribe to that are they robophobic?   Of course not. 

I've met Mr. Endicott a couple of times and I suspect he is, if he carries any religious views, on the left.   But tolerance does not seem to be a strong suit for him.  I took away from the first story a compelling description of how two Christians struggled with trying to live their lives appropriately.   Endicott's column today suggests that he did not spend the same amount of care that the original author did with the issues raised by this tragedy.

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