Washington Nats say no God in baseball?

God and baseballI guess the management of the Washington Nationals didn’t share my sentiments regarding Sunday’s Washington Post feature on the Bible in baseball. Team management particularly didn’t like a section of the story in which team chapel leader Jon Moeller nodded when asked if Jewish people are doomed to hell because they don’t believe in Jesus Christ.

Our own commenter “Michael” first noted this story on the website of the Washington radio network WTOP that Jewish leaders were not pleased with this part of the Post story:

The players not only pray, but they also discuss personal matters — marital tension, addiction issues, family illnesses, financial stress — drawing sometimes surprising lessons. Church was concerned because his former girlfriend was Jewish. He turned to Moeller, “I said, like, Jewish people, they don’t believe in Jesus. Does that mean they’re doomed? Jon nodded, like, that’s what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don’t know any better. It’s up to us to spread the word.”

A friend and fellow blogger gave me the heads up that Jon Moeller had since been suspended for his comments in the Post (the AP covers Moeller’s suspension in this story). Blogger Tim Ellsworth has notified us that he has blogged on the controversy and is promising more tomorrow.

To sum things up, Moeller has been suspended for a nod regarding a controversial subject that has been raging for centuries, the player involved has made an apology in a statement and now the team will receive a dose of negative publicity as it makes a desperate attempt for the playoffs.

But in all seriousness, the comments in the Post do have theological significance, and I wonder if the reporter realized that when he included them in his story. It’s also clear why the significance of these comments sailed right over my head. As a Protestant, I am not all that sensitive toward things that would be seen as “bringing hate into the locker room,” as one Jewish leader put it.

Whoever said religion didn’t matter in sports? The irony of this story is that the original article was based on the premise that bigtime athletes were more open about religion and teams were readily embracing it, some with the hopes that God would somehow favor their team. Now the team chapel leader has been placed on the DL and has angered Jewish leaders in Washington.

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  • Mark

    Wow…suspended for what’s generally been considered orthodox Christianity for a couple thousand years–I think we’ve got a pretty huge issue on our hands.

  • http://raphael.doxos.com Huw Raphael

    I think the issue is he was suspended for *saying* it. But Orthodox Christianity doesn’t teach that everyone else is “doomed”. That’s a grey area where the Orthodox Church says “God is judge – we are not” and we pray for those outside the faith. It is, however, pretty standard Evangelicalism so we have a religion and free speech issue.

  • http://www.wrandomwramblings.blogspot.com Scott Roche

    “But Orthodox Christianity doesn’t teach that everyone else is “doomed”.”

    I think you need to back that up.

  • Karen Willcox

    In an article in “Again” magazine, Vol.21 no.4, Fr. Bill Olnhausen writes: “Regarding God’s mysterious work outside the Orthodox Church, we have nothing to say. We make no judgments about what God is doing there, or about what happens to the souls of those who are not Orthodox or not Christian on earth. It is all we can do to try to ‘work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12).

    That pretty much sums it up. Here’s a link:
    http://www.conciliarpress.com/again/content/view/17/31/9/9/

  • Michael

    Ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether what was being discussed was “truth” or not. In a workplace where religious pluralism should be respected, it is an inappropriate thing to be saying. Period.

    It is that inability to respect the religious pluralism and tolerance of the workplace which is at the core of these kinds of situations and why Evangelicals so often rub up against the values of others.

  • http://www.timellsworth.com Tim

    Usually Baseball Chapel doesn’t allow members of the media to attend chapel services during the regular season. I’ve been during spring training, but they wouldn’t let me go during the season. I guess they made an exception since the Washington Post is such a prominent publication. After this episode, I’ll bet they won’t make such exceptions again anytime soon.

  • http://raphael.doxos.com Huw Raphael

    Karen – thanks for posting that as third shift work tends to throw off my response time. There are quotes from Saints and Fathers to back that up as well.

    But Michael is right: the issue is not the theology but rather the politics. However I disagree with his point: all view points, even yucky ones, do have freedom of expression. Evangelicals believe that it is their place in the marketplace of religions to offer that theory. It may even open the door for some serious discussion.

    It is not respecting of “religious pluralism” to silence a religion. Truth and discomfort often go hand in hand. “Tolerance” is not the issue – Truth is the issue.

  • Stephen A.

    Well, the agenda of the Post was clear to me from the first and I wasn’t as fooled as our GR friend was in the first blog. I suppose one could have predicted the suspension and the uproar that followed the story, which again was designed to show religious people as kooks.

    Now the double standard. Had the insult been addressed to conservative Christianity and not the Jewish religion, I suspect it would have 1) gone unreported and unnoticed and 2) any complaints would have been seen as petty, which they may very well have been, and were in this case.

    Reserving judgement for a moment about whether all nonbelievers go to straight to hell, the issues surfacing here again are the right to speak freely about religious beliefs in public places and the media’s non-coverage of the ‘religious cleansing’ going on in American society. Let’s see if the Post covers THAT angle.

    I may have not said what this chaplain said, but he has a right to say it. I would hope the Post’s editorial board would back that up, too, but they won’t, because of the same climate of fear.

    Forget global warming, this is truly a chilling climate we live in when it comes to religious free speech.

  • Michael

    Hurw, I agree to a point.

    The reality, however, is that a workplace is not a Free Speech zone. Your employer has the right to curb your free speech in most situations.

    Even religious discrimination under Title VII has a business necessity test. Religion has to be accommodated only to the point that it is not an undue hardship. And there is currently a string of cases that finds of proslytizing in the workplace represents harassment or a hostile work environment.

  • http://raphael.doxos.com Huw Raphael

    We shall have to disagree here, for I will say the secular law is wrong. Silencing a religion is harassment – and the false division between the work place and elsewhere is shown by the fact that a good many folks work at home. The “workplace” is a legal fiction. We risk much on such fictions.

    Again. Truth is the issue, not a secular “value” and the Evangelical will think a person’s immortal soul is at risk.

  • http://n/a ah

    I consider this a baiting question to an acknowledged Christian. I guess it’s important to get some rhetorical self-defense going:
    “That’s a hateful question to ask.”
    “Where did you get that idea.”
    “This interview is trying to put words in my mouth, and it’s over.”
    “Some things are God’s business, and not fodder for some reporter’s deadline.”
    “Why would you ask that question, rather than others?”

  • http://hotstovepolitics.blogspot.com Luke

    I think it is ridiculous that Moeller gets suspended for speaking his heart, while steriod users continue to playand are treated as royalty by the MSM. One more MSM attack on Christians and Christianity.

  • Michael

    Where is the evidence there is an attack? This was a piece that received high praise by others on this site and I don’t see any evidence that he was set-up. While he may have been “speaking his heart,” that doesn’t prevent others from pointing out that the words can be viewed as anti-Semitic.

    People say things that end up in print they often regret (or don’t regret) later. Should the reporter have not written about this interesting exchange, just because it could place the speaker into controversial light?

  • Mark

    I should have clarified re my earlier post: orthodox with a small “o”. I’m not sure what relevance Orthodox with a big “O” has to do with this.

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  • Dave

    Please pray for Jon and for the Nats’ players who benefit from his ministry. The future of the baseball chapel program locally and nationally could be in jeopardy, especially if the Anti-defamation league and the ACLU get involved (God forbid!). Sunday is approaching and, as of this moment, there is no word from the club if a chapel service will be held for both the Nats and the visiting club.

  • arianna

    What should have been a private conversation between a chapel leader and a believer has become public.
    The comment from the chapel leader is not “anti-semetic”. He clearly answered the question and stated his belief that if one does not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, one is doomed.
    If a muslim had asked an imam the same question (he being Muslim, the girlfried being Jewish), the imam would have no doubt said that one must believe in Allah and Mohammed as the final and last prophet otherwise one is doomed.
    Would it had gotten such play?

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    So, if a mostly-Jewish team had a rabbi to lead its religious services, and the rabbi (in the presence of a reporter) was asked about the status of Christians in the Jewish faith, and gave the answer that accorded with Jewish tradition — that Christianity is a heresy, and that trinitarianism is a form of polytheism banned under the Noahide Laws that apply even to gentiles — what do y’all think the general American reaction would be?

  • tmatt

    Several things happening all at once:

    * The Nats had the right to shut this down in the workplace. But players have a right to do it on their own.

    * The Post knew it had a wild story.

    * As I keep saying, sex and SALVATION are the big two stories right now.

    * Always remember this law when studying this kind of story: The Religious Right (whatever that is, in a story about this kind of issue) is stupid and must therefore lose to the enlightened.

  • Michael

    Avram, if it happened in Washington, I can guarantee that conservative Christians would be up in arms and holding press conferences, talking about how they are oppressed and their beliefs are shunted-aside.

  • Michael

    Applying this loaded test–The Religious Right (whatever that is, in a story about this kind of issue) is stupid and must therefore lose to the enlightened–to this story, what about the story leads you believe that was the writer or editor’s motive?

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Michael, I’m pretty sure you’re right. I’m sure that’d be the case just about anywhere in the US.

    Last year there were people making a fuss over stores putting up signs saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” (though I don’t recall reading that anybody knuckled under to the pressure); there’s certainly no shortage of Christians looking for things to get offended over.

  • Dave

    Jesus told his fellow Jew, Nicodemus “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Later as Nicodemus questioned His statement Jesus admonished him with ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?’

    I think Jesus would say the same thing to many of us practicing Christians today. Jesus is neither evangelical or orthodox, He is the Christ, and Christians better follow Him.

    The Pastor is paying a price for his faith, but he is also bringing glory to Jesus. I’m thankful he didn’t deny Jesus to satisfy the baseball club. I pray the Chapel service team would be given wisdom and favor in bringing the gospel to baseball and other sports. Amen.

  • Stephen A.

    Avram, if the service was voluntary, and there were no penalties for not joining in, then it would be TOTALLY legitimate.

    If the views you suggest here were expressed, they may be uncomfortable to hear, but this view isn’t shocking and it’s consistent with that hypothetical) person’s beliefs.

    In other words, I’d say “so what” and I think theologically conservative Christians would say “so what?”

    Your comment “there’s certainly no shortage of Christians looking for things to get offended over” is very ironic in light of this article.

    You’ve got it backwards. It appears that the anti-religion police are working overtime looking for Christians who express their faith forthrightly.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen, what “anti-religion police” are you referring to? Did you notice that I used literal language and cited a specific example, while you’ve used exaggerated language? Do you believe your own point is so weak that you need to puff it up? And did you notice that the group that took offense to Moeller’s claim was itself religious and theologically conservative?

    There’s a difference between legitimate and appropriate. If I were the campaign manager for a politician, and I publicly stated that I intended to vote for my candidate’s opponent, I’d be expressing a legitimate opinion, but I’d also be putting myself out of a job.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    “trinitarianism is a form of polytheism banned under the Noahide Laws”

    I have personally heard other Jews deny this, and similar statements in rabbinical books (“-Gentiles are not forbidden partnership in worship-”)… and yes, this verges on saying that the First Commandment does not apply to gentiles.

  • Michael

    Avram points to another theme we see in reactions to these kinds of stories. I call it the “I am a person of faith as get out of free card” analysis. Somehow all trangressions or biases or intolerance should be ignored since it is coming from “people of faith” (usually, orthodox and Evangelical Christians).

    It is a variation of the sex and salvation narrative. How dare we question whether a chaplain is anti-semitic just because he’s spouting beliefs that have been around for thousand of years (and questioned as being anti-Semitic for about the same amount of time). How dare we expect a church to hire a gay janitor (or divorced teacher) since it is against our beliefs, even if we are getting public money. How dare you question our opposition to gay marriage, it’s a deeply held realigious belief.

    It’s clear with coverage of Islam, for instance, where “it’s part of my faith, don’t question it” is no longer is satisfactory journalism or a reasoniable defense. When will similar standards or questions be asked of religious conservatives, who use their faith as a shield against criticism?

  • Stephen A.

    Avram, you latched onto one phrase at the end of a rather LITERAL response to your post, apparently in order to dismiss what I was saying and make it seem unintellectual.

    Yes, “anti-religion police” is hyperbole, but you’re smart enough to know I mean the ACLU, but also the NYTimes, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, LA Times, etc. You know, the usual suspects – the MSM – who are usually cited for going after religion and religious people, and cited for good reason.

    It’s just tiring to spell it all out for you liberal folks who think cleansing (conservative) religious expression is entirely appropriate.

    If your campaign manager’s analogy was meant to illustrate the appropriateness of the preacher’s comments (and I have to admit I’m not exactly sure if that’s where it was going) then I’ve already said he should have used some care with his audienc. Though censoring all religious speech is not really an acceptable outcome here, in my view.

  • Stephen A.

    Michael, are you saying a reporter should confront or actually challenge a religious conservative who, for example, publicly says that they believe they are “saved” but others are “not saved”? Surely, that’s showing more of the reporter’s bias against a person’s religion than it does the religious person’s alleged “bias.”

    I believe a reporter must ALWAYS avoid slanting the story to show how “bad” that person’s so-called biases are (like trying to paint opponents of gay marriage as bigots, to use your excellent example of bias.)

    I agree that the “don’t question my beliefs” tactic is not a legitimate shield to use to put off reporters from asking questions that are probative and are designed to reveal the beliefs behind the attitudes. So long as it doesn’t go over the line into overt *criticism* of the beliefs, those questions are simply examples of good, thorough religion reporting.

    Though with the attitudes and biases of SOME reporters, I know why some folks get defensive when reporters start asking about deeply held beliefs.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    By “other Jews” above, I meant “Jews other than whoever Avram is citing”, before I am jumped on as a provocateur.

  • Michael

    Though censoring all religious speech is not really an acceptable outcome here, in my view.

    How is it censoring to ask people who are invited to provide a chapel service to a wide-range of baseball players to avoid comments that breach the religiously plural nature of a workplace (or baseball team).

  • tmatt

    Michael:

    The chapel service was voluntary. It would fall under the workplace religion laws cranked out — in the CLINTON years — by a wide coalition that included everyone from the ACLU to the Southern Baptists.

    Voluntary is voluntary. There is no pluralism required in voluntary, at least not in a society that recognizes freedom of association. I think the US is still such a place. Gay rights groups — to name one example — certainly count on that being the case.

  • Michael

    Actually, no such law exists for the private sector, TMatt.

    The Workplace Religious Freedom Act has never been passed and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was found unconstitutional and gutted. Even the laws that cover the public sector focus on “workplace efficiency.” It seems fairly reasonable that a voluntary chapel service where comments that were considered anti-Semitic were made would potentially threaten workplace efficiency.

    While you are correct that no one can punish an employee for attending a voluntary chapel service ON THEIR OWN TIME, many baseball players have been forced to renounce racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic remarks in the past. Arguably, it may even be part of their contracts.

  • Michael

    Gay rights groups — to name one example — certainly count on that being the case.

    Of course, advocating for gay rights or being gay is protected in the workplace in just 16 states. No such law exists on the federal level or for federal employees.

  • Maureen

    I personally don’t agree with either the player’s real or Avram’s theoretical comment. But why should I care? Honestly, there are a whole range of reasons why various religions think various people are going to Hell, some of which intersect in a Venn diagram and some of which don’t.

    I’m not particularly worried about why other religions than my own think I’m going to Hell, as I have plenty of trouble with my own religious standards. If I wanted to worry about theirs, I’d join up with them.

    Total non-story.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen:

    Yes, and I’m smart enough to know that the depiction of those groups as “anti-religious” is a lie. Here are a few cases of the ACLU defending religious people and/or practices:

    A few years ago, the ACLU helped Jerry Falwell challenge and overturn a Virginia law that benned religious organizations from incorporating.

    The ACLU of Nebraska is defending a Presbyterian church from a city zoning statute that would evict it from its premises.

    The ACLU of New Jersey successfully got the state Supreme Court to rule that a prosecutor had acted improperly by removing two jurors for their religion.

    The ACLU of Virginia successfully pressured a water park to agree not to prohibit baptisms, and to issue statements making clear that religious groups have the same rights as everyone else to use public park facilities.

    Here’s one with all sorts of juicy angles on it: The ACLU of Michigan is backing a Catholic man who was punished for not completing a Pentecostal drug rehab program that he learned had the intent of converting him from Catholicism to Pentecostalism.

    This blog post has more examples, including three cases of the ACLU defending street preachers.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Terry, wasn’t the chaplin’s employment also voluntary?

    What I’d really like to know was whether all of the players who use the chapel approved of Moeller’s nod. Were they any Christians of more universalist sympathies there? Were they at all offended that one particular side of a complicated religious issue was presented as the One Official Truth by their chaplain, without even any acknowledgement that there might be other sides to the issue?

    If there were Catholic players using the chapel, and, say, a Baptist chapel leader made some rabid anti-Papist statements, how do you think that would turn out?

  • tmatt

    The key here is who employed the chaplain. The team has every RIGHT to stop something on site — I did not mean to imply this was an equal-access case — but the team did not have to.

  • Stephen A.

    Avram, are you trying to imply that the ACLU supports free religious expression in the workplace? That’s a new one for me. I’d be very interested to read about that.

    Unfortunately, none of the cases you cite deal with the ACLU or other groups supporting such expression, so I can’t. Keep trying, though.

    The ACLU has helped eradicate any public acknowedgement of religious faith (almost entirely expressions of Christianity, for some reason) and we all know about manger scenes, the ID debate, etc.

    But when teachers get the mistaken belief into their heads that the word “God” cannot be spoken in a classroom, or an employer fears that a religious view (even one strongly expressed) may be unconstitutional or illegal, I have to wonder why the ACLU and other groups aren’t that zealous in debunking these falsehoods.

    I think you need to read Michael’s recent post, because if laws protecting workplace expression of religion were “gutted” by the courts in the 90s, then the courts are indeed active here, and I’d love to see who wrote amicus briefs for and against free expression in these cases.

    Bet I know what the ACLU said.

  • Stephen A.

    Okay Avram, I just read that last link, to the blog. There appears to be a case *similar* to the baseball prayer group situation, in that someone’s preaching *may* offend someone, so action is taken to shut them down.

    Fine. I can’t wait for the ACLU to take up the baseball prayer group case, since using the same logic, an outside pressure group who didn’t like the content is using the “heckler’s veto” to shut it down.

    Would you agree with the Indiana ACLU branch’s action here?

    =================

    “In another story involving street preachers, the ACLU of Indiana has filed suit against the city of Scottsburg on behalf of Pastor John Lewis of the Old Paths Baptist Church to get the police to stop harrassing him when he preaches on the street against abortion and homosexuality, among other things. The police have repeatedly threatened to arrest Lewis, which prompted the ACLU action:

    > Scottsburg police told Pastor Lewis that they are concerned about the possible reaction of listeners who hear plaintiffs’ message, which is delivered on city sidewalks through megaphones providing moderate amplified sounds that are no louder than passing traffic.

    “Pastor Lewis and his church members were ordered to stop, not because there was some ordinance they were violating or that the noise rose to the level of disorderly conduct, but because the police were concerned that the persons hearing the message might react against it,” said ICLU Legal Director Ken Falk. “This appears to be a classic case of a “heckler’s veto” which is unconstitutional.”

  • Michael

    Actually, the ACLU routinely represents religious people whose rights are being threatened because they are members of a minority religion or in a free speech situation, like street preachers.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen, I’m not trying to “imply” anything; I’m stating outright that the ACLU is not “anti-religion”.

    The ACLU has helped eradicate any public acknowedgement of religious faith (almost entirely expressions of Christianity, for some reason)

    They have? That’s funny; I see public expressions of religious faith around me all the time. They’re on my money, they’re on buildings around me, I hear them from my elected officials, all the time.

    and we all know about manger scenes, the ID debate, etc.

    What exactly do “we all” know about these things? Did you know this?:

    Brigitte Anderson, President of the ACLU of Montana, said that she and her family enjoy their own Nativity scene at home, moving Mary and Joseph closer to the manger each night as the day of Christ’s birth approaches.

    “There are so many beautiful displays of crèche scenes around the state; in private yards, outside and inside churches. Christ is not in need of government assistance,” she said.

    The ACLU oppses attempts by the government to force religious observence onto people. This includes religious displays on government property and religious indoctrination (like Intelligent Design) in public schools.

    I have no problem with the Indiana ACLU branch’s actions in Scottsburg as described above (assuming that Lewis isn’t harassing people when he preaches). I’ve always disliked the concept of the “heckler’s veto”. I pass by street preachers all the time here in NYC, and I’ve never had an impulse to get the cops to shut them down.

  • Stephen A.

    “I see public expressions of religious faith around me all the time. They’re on my money, they’re on buildings around me, I hear them from my elected officials, all the time.”

    What an odd list to demonstrate that religious expression is NOT under attack.

    - religious liberals are attacking “In God We Trust” on currency (though I don’t think it’s hit the courts – yet.)
    - The ACLU has enthusiastically *joined* the court fight against the Ten Commandments being displayed on public buildings and that is raging through the courts now.
    - Any public official who DARES to express conservative religious beliefs (Romney, Santorum, even BUSH) are derided and accused by the religious and secular Left of “bringing” religion into politics or trying to “force” their beliefs on others.
    - the secularists in society are also using McCarthyite tactics like “exposing” the religious beliefs of researchers, scientists and professors who “stepping out of line.” Has the ACLU spoken out against these tactics when they were used against the person at the Smithsonian who allowed ID to get a hearing in a journal?

    I’m not going to let all this be narrowed to ONE group, since my original comments hit on a general bias against religion in the media elites. But again, c’mon. The ACLU? Friends of conservative religious expression? That’s a stretch.

    Despite the warm fuzzy image you’re projecting for the ACLU, for every preacher they’ve defended, five “piss Christ” exhibits and Gay Jesus portrayals get just as vigorous an effort, if not more so.

    They tend to fight for those ideas and people who are “unpopular.” Good for them. But while a case can be made that elite society is hostile to conservative Christians I’m sure their majority status excludes them from being granted “persecuted group” status by the ACLU. (Except for preachers who accost people on the sidewalk.)

    Go on. Ask an ACLU state president if they would defend a teen’s right to silently read a Bible in school, or pray there (even silently.) Their support for religious freedom quickly evaporates against their need to cleanse religion from the public square.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen: The ACLU? Friends of conservative religious expression? That’s a stretch.

    No, the ACLU, friends of people whose civil rights are being encroached upon, whether they’re religious or not. (Except for 2nd Amendment rights, for some odd reason. I don’t know the history behind that.) Why is this so hard for you to understand? How many factual examples of actual cases do I have to give you? Here:

    - ACLU of New Jersey Joins Lawsuit Supporting Second-Grader’s Right to Sing “Awesome God” at Talent Show
    - ACLU gets Bible verse back in local yearbook

    I haven’t been able to find anything about ACLU involvement (on either side) in a case like you describe, of a student being forbidden from reading the Bible during recess. The only case I’ve been able to turn up is that of Luke Whitson, and none of the stories mention ACLU involvement. I wouldn’t be surprised if his parents were deliberately avoiding the ACLU, either out of the belief that the ACLU wouldn’t help, or out of a desire to further the right-wing agenda of painting the ACLU as an anti-religious organization.

    But here’s something from the ACLU’s guide to religious freedom in schools:

    IS IT EVER OK TO PRAY IN SCHOOL?

    Sure. Individual students have the right to pray whenever they want to, as long as they don’t disrupt classroom instruction or other educational activities — or try to force others to pray along with them. If a school official has told you that you can’t pray at all during the school day, your right to exercise your religion is being violated. Contact your local ACLU for help.

    WHAT ABOUT RELIGIOUS CLUBS OR BIBLE DISTRIBUTION?

    Student-organized Bible clubs are OK as long as three conditions are met:

    (1) the activity must take place during non-school hours; (2) school officials can’t be involved in organizing or running the club, and (3) the school must make its facilities available to all student groups on an equal basis. So your Bible club couldn’t be the only group allowed access to the school grounds. Neither could your school let other student groups use the building for meetings and events and deny your Bible club the same opportunity.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen: Any public official who DARES to express conservative religious beliefs (Romney, Santorum, even BUSH) are derided and accused by the religious and secular Left of “bringing” religion into politics or trying to “force” their beliefs on others.

    Hold on just a minute — what the heck is this? According to you, it’s not enough that conservative religious politicians get to voice their views, but you want everybody who disagrees to keep quiet? Freedom of speech means everybody gets to talk — Bush says something, Kennedy criticizes him for it, Terry criticizes Kennedy, I criticize Terry, Rush Limbaugh spoutsoff some idiocy, Michael Moore makes a movie about it, etc. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean one side gets to talk and then the other has to shut up and take it.

  • Stephen A.

    “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean one side gets to talk and then the other has to shut up and take it.”

    Exactly. Liberals have no right to tell religious people to shut up or to accuse them of trying to “force” their religion on others when they simply express religious beliefs.

    But that’s exactly what’s happening, even though liberals are in denial about it (even as they do it.)

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen, criticism does not equal censorship.

  • Stephen A.

    True, but censorship does equal censorship. Telling people to hide their faith “or else” is is censorship.

    Those who choose not to participate and others who are now saying it’s “illegal” to hold a prayer meeting in a public facility just because they happen to be offended by what’s said in those meetings are censoring it.

    Everyone’s open to criticism. I’ve criticized the group leader for perhaps not being tactful here, but in the end, he has a right to speak his mind and lead a group of people in a pre-game prayer, just as others have the right to criticize him.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Stephen, what are you talking about? Who has been told “to hide their faith ‘or else’”? What prayer meeting are you talking about?

    And how is it censorship to choose not to participate in a meeting? If I’m a member of an organization, am I obliged to stay a member forever even I decide I no longer agree with the organization’s goals or methods?

  • http://www.nhreligion.com Stephen A.

    The, uhh, prayer and Bible study meeting at the top of this page, in which outsiders said they were offended. ???

    And not only are you missing the entire point of this blog posting, you’re twisting my words.

    I never said it’s censorship to choose not to participate. It’s censorship for those who chose not to participate in this (or any other) meeting to then go on to demand that it cease or to have control over what’s said in the meeting – which is what’s happening here.

    Why would you imply I said someone must stay a member of a group forever? What’s the matter with you?

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Ah, I think I get it. Your phrasing was unclear: “Those who choose not to participate and others who are now saying it’s ‘illegal’ [...] are censoring it.” That looked like both groups mentioned in the first half of the sentence were performing the act given at the end of the sentence.

    Anyway, who’s accusing the Washington Nationals prayer meeting being illegal? Who’s asking that the meetings cease? The Nationals have suspended Moeller’s locker-room access while they investigate, and asked Baseball Chapel to provide a replacement. This implies that the meetings are still going on, just without Moeller.

    Moeller presumably retains the right to say whatever he wants about his beliefs without legal reprisal. He has no guarantee of keeping his job, but neither do I.

  • Stephen A.

    Moeller himself has been silenced, censored, call it what you will. The effect was the same.

    I actually don’t know if the meetings are continuing or not at this point.

    I also think the sentence was pretty clear the first time, but hey, I’m glad you’ve found meaning in it that you could understand after my clarification.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    No, Moeller has been neither silenced nor censored. He is at risk of being reassigned, or perhaps possibly of losing his job, because his client had issues with his job performance.

  • http://www.washingtonrox.blogspot.com Daedalus

    Church belongs at a church, not a place of work. (I don’t mean Ryan Church, but he should keep his church at church, too.) Would a chapel ever be allowed in my office? NO. They want to go to church, they can do it on their own time. Baseball teams do not need their own chaplains- it’s not a war!

    These ballplayers who believe that God is up there swinging the bat for them need to get some sense. God does not hit homeruns.

  • Stephen A.

    Hmmm…Moeller hasn’t been censored, he’s just been reassigned and has perhaps lost his job?

    Wow, that’s a relief!

    It’s a good thing he wasn’t actually CENSORED because of his expressed beliefs, huh?

    Pure liberalspeak.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    Avram: The real-life “liberals” around me espouse a blatant double standard on “dragging religion into politics”. A bishop (of New York) preaches a sermon denouncing policies of a Republican administration, nothing is heard of the alleged “wall of seperation”. A bishop preaches a sermon denouncing abortion, he is “interferinginpolitics” and “violatingtheseperationofchurchandstate.”
    When the Queens Federation of Churches sent its director around to tell us, from the pulpit, in Sunday services, that we should vote “No” the next month on Question 1 (a new state constitution), the only complaints about “dragging politics into religion” I heard, then or since, were my own. But I suppose you will say that Doesn’t Count, because 1967 was prehistory.


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