A couple of weeks back I read in the Mississippi Catholic an article on “Congregations for Children” [CFC], the joint effort of the leaders of the Catholic, Episcopal and (United) Methodist peoples in this area on behalf of a common legislative program. Bishop Duncan Gray III was quoted as saying that the CFC members would “make pests of themselves [at the legislature] for a long time” to assure the enactment of that program.
Christians of good will, of course, can differ as to the wisdom of that agenda. For example, one item on that agenda is full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Plan (MAEP). Based on my family’s 12 years in the Jackson Public School System (JPS), I am fairly confident that the overwhelming majority of Episcopalians, Methodists and Catholics living within the corporate limits of the City of
With that in mind, isn’t it at least arguable that CFC’s political capital might be better spent lobbying for vouchers or other subsidies that would allow all Mississippians the same education choices that most Catholic, Episcopalian and Methodist children in the
On the other hand, there should be no room for debate among Christians that every child conceived has a fundamental right to life. Such was the universal Christian teaching for over 1,900 years.
What is it about a group that calls itself Congregations for Children that causes it to unite with such public fervor to support legislation about which Christians may (and many do) legitimately disagree, yet maintain such public silence about abortion, which is certainly among the greatest evils inflicted on children in our day?
The last abortion clinic in
James T. McCafferty III
In Gary Thompson’s response (Feb. 20 issue of the Advocate) to my criticism of our bishop’s political activities, Thompson speaks of Moses’ leading the Israelites out of
Our denomination is not only failing to grow, it is losing membership in frightening numbers. If a seeker looking for redemption and a church home asked one of us what exactly The United Methodist Church stood for, what would we tell him? Do we mention all the social and political positions so grandly lifted up by much of our leadership? That’s great if we’re seeking members for a political action committee. Can we legitimately explain how our church can enhance his spiritual growth? Or must we tell him how effectively we deal with diversity, homosexuality and justice? Our dwindling numbers indicate that a lot of former (and perhaps some about-to-be former) United Methodists aren’t buying what we’re selling. How long until we have a going-out-of-business sale?
If “Citizen” Hope Morgan Ward feels compelled to lobby the Mississippi Legislature for political causes she feels strongly about, then I admire her for doing so; however, to do so as “Bishop” Hope Morgan Ward wrongly implies that she speaks for her flock. When it comes to any future lobbying for legislative action, I hope that she will make it clear whether she does so as “citizen” or as “bishop.”
In closing his letter, Thompson stated that “Jesus was not killed because he was ‘spiritual,’ ” with the implication that he was killed because he was political. Jesus posed no political threat to any government. He posed a significant political threat, however, to the leaders of the Jewish church. I suggest that he was crucified because of his obedience to God, not because of his politics. As Thompson said, we are instructed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned. As United Methodists, let us be obedient to that instruction, rather than lobbying the Legislature to do it for us. Let us be men and women of action, rather than asking the legislature to increase the size of the government’s financial trough.
As many days come and go, I will always remember Martha “Twick” Morrison. Her attitude, personality and speech were those of a thoroughbred, spiritual giant. She had superior acumen. I worked on several conference committees with her, and the rewards are all highly acceptable. Twick always traveled on the right side of the road. Not always appreciated, but the truth. My last assignment was with the Religion and Race Committee. Without a doubt, she was well prepared for the duty. Her life and works spoke for her. My advice to you who had associations and contact with her is let your conscience be your guide.