Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Letters to the Editor

Today is a first (of sorts) for me...the first time I decided to write a letter to the editor since I was in high school was last week, and today, The Daily News (our local paper) is running it.  You can find both my letter and the letter it is responding to in their entirety (sans individual names) below.

I have one clarification to make--I am identified by occupation in the letter.  This can make it look like I was speaking for my congregation in an official capacity.  I was not, I was speaking only for myself, though I did strive for my thoughts on Christian diversity to be reflective of the Disciples of Christ ourselves.  When I emailed my letter in, I simply signed it "Rev. Eric Atcheson," but below it was all of my occupational contact information that is standard in my email signature, and  the newspaper included part of it.  I apologize.

Yours in Christ,

The letter I was responding to:

Christianity vs. liberalism

Some people have a strange idea that Christians want to force their will upon you. Think again. Who thinks you shouldn't spank kids? Liberals. Who thinks you should be able to spank kids? Christians. Did Christians pass laws forcing you to spank? No. Who forced their will upon all so you can't spank kids? Liberals.

Who doesn't want to use the morning-after pill? Christians. Who tries to force pharmacists with principles to sell the pill? Liberals. Who doesn't want to use contraceptives? Some Christians. Who wants to spend tax money from Christians to purchase these items for some girls? Liberals.

Christians feel if somebody wants contraceptives, give up a couple of visits to Starbucks and purchase their own or go to a free clinic to obtain them. Christians refusing to spend their tax money on something which they believe morally wrong is far from forcing their will upon others.

Christians invite, Liberals demand. If you don't believe me, check out what the Liberals are doing to farm families — pages of new regulations saying what farmers' kids can and can't do.

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My letter: 

The diverse Christian spectrum

This is in response to a letter of May 2. Or, more specifically, this is in response to the fundamental premise of that letter, which seems to be that Christianity and liberalism are complete opposites.

I cannot imagine how someone could arrive soundly at such an over generalized, "us and them" premise. Not only does scripture speak to issues often associated with "family values" conservatives, like divorce (Matthew 5:31-32) and chastity (1 Corinthians 7:8), but it also speaks to issues often associated with "social justice" liberals, like equality for the poor (Luke 6:20) and protecting the vulnerable (James 1:27).

In other words, there's a reason why Christians come in all political flavors — it is because scripture instructs us on many issues across the spectrum, and it is up to us to determine how to use our faith to inform our votes.

So, when you see the cross I wear around my neck, please do not just assume that I think a particular way about things. Instead, have a cup of coffee with me and hear what I have to say. I would be happy to return the favor.

Rev. Eric Atcheson Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Longview

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