I was perusing the other blogs here at Patheos when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a post on Get Religion that contained a blurb about a news story concerning the pastor of a Nazarene church that’s about … ummmmm … eight blocks or so from my house.
It seems that Pastor Lance Schmitz, of the Capitol Hill Church of the Nazarene, delivered a nationally-based petition to the Hobby Lobby headquarters here in Oklahoma City. The petition protested Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against the HHS Mandate. According to an Associated Press story I read, the petition was circulated by an on-line group called Faithful America, along with another group called Ultra Violet.
Faithful America’s website looks to be one of those hit sites that tries to co-opt the message of the gospel to support one side of the culture wars. In their case, it appears to be the side that favors same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. According to themselves, they “speak for mainstream America.”
The AP article says that UltraViolet “promotes women’s rights.” According to their web site they are affiliated with MoveOn.org. Their director is formerly with People for the American Way.
So far as I know, the Pastor at the Capitol Hill Church of the Nazarene represents himself, and maybe the people of his flock. This is a very small church with only a few members.
So, what does a teeny-tiny, itty-bitty Nazarene Church in a neighborhood where people are more concerned with drive-by shootings, bad schools and making it to the end of the month than on-line petitions have to do with these two national groups?
All I know is that I can say without much hesitation that this minister does not speak for most of the people in the neighborhood he is trying to pastor. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that a good many of them would disagree with him and feel alienated by his actions. I can also say that I doubt if David Green, the President of Hobby Lobby, is going to cry himself to sleep tonight over this petition.
I’m not questioning this pastor’s sincerity or good intentions. I’m assuming he had a good time, delivering the petition. But if he wants to grow a church in that neighborhood with a membership beyond the size of what would fill a child’s clubhouse, he might re-think aligning himself with outsiders that most of the people there are bound to regard as their enemies.