Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A loss for the good guys on the ordinance

I promised that I would update my readers on our local politics. Being a pessimist, I was not terribly surprised that the homosexual and transgender special rights ordinance passed in my town, though that had not stopped me from working steadily against it. This story is particularly timely in this connection. I just saw it yesterday and plan to blog more about it soon. The skies are darkening, and as Scott W. says, you can try remaining silent, like Thomas More, but it may not work forever.

A small victory against the bullies on the other side yesterday is owing to Pastor __________ of a local Christian Reformed Church. (This does not identify him, as it is nearly impossible to throw a rock in my town without hitting a Christian Reformed Church.) His church is a polling place, and yesterday the homosexual activists planted a "Vote Yes" sign right next to the church driveway. This despite the fact that most of the church members were definitely "Vote No" people, though the church had no signs up. The activists had carefully measured, and the sign was outside the 100 foot zone from the door of the church, but that of course doesn't change the fact that outside that zone was private property, and by sticking the sign in the ground on church property, they were making it look like the church endorsed the ordinance. I became aware of the situation and phoned Pastor __________. (He is not my pastor, and I'd never spoken with him, but I know quite a number of the people in his church as local friends and neighbors.) I had to leave a message, and I came away saying, discouraged, "They're gonna tell him he has to allow them to have the sign on his property because it's a polling place, as long as it's outside the 100 foot zone, and that's going to be the end of it."

But I had reckoned without Pastor _________'s principle and persistence. I got the whole story later. Of course, the activists did try exactly that line. Indeed, when he told them, "This is private property," they said, "Not today. Today it's a polling place." Why that should require the permission of partisan electioneering on the property remains a mystery to this hour! The ACLU was firmly on the side of the activist bullies, and every time the pastor came back (sometimes from conversations with the City Attorney, who was apparently just trying to interpret and apply the law correctly) and told them they had to take out the sign, the head activist would say, "That's not what my lawyer says." The lawyers went back and forth and eventually called the state election officials in Lansing. The upshot was that the activists were required to take the sign out of the ground so that it was not associated with the church but were permitted to carry it as an expression of their own views.

I still don't fully understand why they had to be allowed to do this in the church parking lot and couldn't at least be required to move to the public sidewalk, but they had attempted to brazen the matter out and associate the church willy-nilly with their own position by planting a sign on church property, and they did not win that little battle. Pastor ________ also now knows the scoop if something like this comes up again. He spent several hours of his day making phone calls, dealing with unpleasant people, and not giving in to the bluffing tactics of the activists coached by the ACLU, and I apologize to him for having assumed he would give up.

I drove past the church after dark last evening but before the polls were closed. In the parking lot was one person holding up a Vote Yes sign. And next to the driveway was an elderly man holding up a Vote No sign. Bless him. I should have stopped and said something encouraging to him. Wish I had.

For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.


Anonymous said...

For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business

Fine words. I heard a pastor turn it into a sports analogy--"it's not my job to win the game because God has already promised victory, it's just my job to run out the clock." I would add that in this day to be mindful not to defect to the other team. :)

As far as the keeping silent, on another blog, one commentor insisted that the man fired for his job should have kept silent. Now, I'm not so sure. For one, it was a young man who appeared to be single and could "afford" to speak the truth (he could get another job, move, etc.), but the other thought that occured to me is that perhaps we ought to speak up before it starts becoming criminal to do so.


Lydia McGrew said...

Can't claim the words for myself. T.S. Eliot, "East Coker," right near the end.

It sounded to me like if we accept the young man's account of what happened at the clothing store, he did try to keep silent but was repeatedly goaded until he did say something. That sort of goading does rather force one's hand. Even if he were my husband, I would back his judgment. I'd probably say something like, "I know you thought of us, and you restrained yourself, but she was insisting on an answer, and I know there comes a time when one needs to speak up. I support you."

At least I hope I'd say that. Now I'm crossing my fingers that God never lets that actually happen to my husband!

It's possible the young guy is a hothead, and if so, his friends will know that. But that's certainly not self-evident from the story.