Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.
Susannah asks a perfectly reasonable question. “In an earlier post, Doug wrote: ‘I have had a number of people (from outside our church community) stop me on the street to say something like this, “You know, I don’t agree with all your stuff — but what is being done to you all is despicable.’ He goes on to add that there is a plan to rid Moscow of conservative Presbyterians. At the risk of getting a “funny” answer, I want to ask, what is being done to conservative Presbyterians? Of course, I’ve read the ongoing debate on Vision 2020, and seen some of the newspaper coverage–advertising and editorial content. But is there more that I’ve missed?”
I really believe that honest questions should get honest answers. And Susannah’s question is a reasonable one — although a good portion of the answer should have been evident already in the public coverage this controversy has received. Let me give two examples of what is being done beyond simple verbal disagreement.
NSA started to put up its Christmas lights this week. The first batch had been up for just a couple hours before a line of them was pulled down by some ad hoc volunteer members of the Tolerance Squad. It was a simple act of vandalism, involving a good bit of money. Susannah, we are not the ones pulling Christmas lights off your establishments. We are not spitting on the doors of those with whom we disagree. That is the kind of thing being done to us, and in the name of your tolerance. No, thank you.
And this connects to the second point — this is the climate in which the “Not in Our Town” campaign is being conducted. When our people are being physically harassed (and they are), and at the same time there is a campaign to rid the town of us, and those who are involved in the leadership of this campaign appear not to have noticed the harassment, and have not condemned such things, what are we to think? “Not in Our Town” appears to be ambiguous as a phrase, but it leads to questions, like what is not to be in our town? Judging from the posters I have seen, the answer to that would appear to be hate. How do you get rid of what you identify (wrongly) as hate, haters, hate speech, and hate groups? What do you mean, not in our town?
Do we conservative Presbyterians have to move? Or can we stay if we never express our views? Why did we have to seriously discuss whether it would be foolhardy (and a waste of money) to put up Christmas lights on our building?