The only thing that is worse than pathetic behavior is pathetic behavior supplemented with pathetic excuses. Those who would violate the pastoral/church member relation (on a massive scale) in order to get material for their partisan mud-gobbing are pathetic. Those who would try to justify such a thing by pointing to what they thought they found as a result are worse, because the attempted defense means that they are now pretending to have a functioning conscience.
What do these dead-catters think they have found? They think they have found incriminating evidence that Paul Kimmell is a lackey of the Christ Church board of elders. What they actually have is an example of how all faithful Christians live in the world. If someone were to come to me as their pastor and say, “my boss at work wants me to lie to the investigators from Boise who are trying to find out where the million-dollar money hole at the University of Idaho is. My Christian faith requires me to submit to my boss, but it also requires me to tell the truth. What do I do?” As a pastor, I tell them what their responsibilities are as a Christian, which would be, in such a [admittedly extreme, hypothetical] case, to tell the truth. The same kind of thing goes for law, medicine, and auto mechanics. The church exercises oversight in those areas where the church is assigned oversight in Scriptures. We therefore require our members to be honest, faithful, conscientious, etc. We don’t tell auto mechanics what auto part to order, or instruct the surgeon on the technics of heart by-pass surgery. And we don’t tell Paul Kimmell how to vote — unless the vote were an attempt to frame iniquity with a law, as the psalmist says. If the vote were on whether to have Jews wear little identifying stars of David on their clothing, we would require any member of our fellowship who had a vote to vote no. And we would discipline him if he did not vote no. This is because there is a separation of church and state (and ought to be), but there is no separation of morality and state. If Paul ever wanted to use his office to lie, cheat and slander, we would address it. To take an extreme example, if Paul Kimmell ever stole pastoral minutes from the church and used them to attack his personal enemies, we would deal with that as well. But Paul is a man of integrity, and he would not ever do anything like that.
Others in our community, however — who have the moral fiber of a sack full of wet eels — have no intention of being responsible and accountable to others the way Paul has been. They want to pass around stolen and misappropriated minutes, full of pastorally sensitive information, and comb through those minutes looking for dirt on others. We are currently not in a physical position to stop those who have no sense of shame — or their slightly troubled apologists. But we can point out the contemptible nature of what is being done, and note that one of the chief offenders seems to agree with this — he is certainly ashamed of his own name. I would be too.
If someone calls these people on the obvious ethical impropriety of what they are doing, they want to defend themselves through an appeal to Watergate. What nobility! The republic is saved!
What they are actually doing is harrassing a local church, not to mention every individual in that church who ever sought help for a personal problem. Instead of people demanding that Paul Kimmell answer questions on this issue, I really think the “demand for answers” needs to be turned around. The handful of bitter people on Blurrsion 20/20, once they have gotten a life, need to answer these questions. 1. What name did your mother give you? 2. Why are you embarrassed by this? 3. Where and how did you get the elder minutes? 4. Do you have any current plans to wiretap the confessional at St. Mary’s? 5. Gee, why not? Lots of useful information there, I bet. Especially with elections coming up and all. 6. Did you know that you have grease on your nose from dumpster diving behind Anselm House?