"Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! --- Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:24
Four bishops have recently declared war on gambling in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is a result of Governor Rendell’s attempt to expand gambling with the hope of bringing in more revenue into the state’s piggy bank. Those bishops are Thomas J. Bickerton of Pittsburgh, Jane Allen Middleton of Harrisburg, Peggy A. Johnson of Philadelphia, and Susan W. Hassinger, of Albany, N.Y., whose area takes in a bit of Northeastern Pennsylvania
The bishops have issued a pastoral letter in which they said, “Contact your legislator and Gov. Rendell. Tell them video poker goes against God’s best intentions for Gods children.”
The bishops also noted that “The United Methodist Church believes ‘gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, destructive of good government and good stewardship,’” as they cited long-standing church law and scripture.
For a long time there has been no lack within the United Methodist Church when it comes to all out frontal attack on gambling. In fact, the way some church leaders approach it, one would be quickly convinced that it is the greatest evil to ever penetrate the human race!
Let’s consider another much more critical social and moral issue which the bishops of the UMC do not address, ever. It’s the issue of the destruction of unborn children at the rate of about 25,000 per week in the “land of the free and the home of the brave!” Quite a number of these very young ones are brutally mutilated and murdered within the borders of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Now then, ponder a modest proposition for the bishops since they have fired the shot – how about changing the wording a bit and issue one more letter to be read in the churches, since we are now making the claim for correcting immoral practices in Pennsylvania?
Here’s the revised “edition” on the two statements mentioned above, and the same could be applied throughout the whole letter. As UM’s know very well – the practice of doing amending at annual conference sessions is a very popular pastime – so let’s do some of it here:
Statement #1 amended to read “Contact your legislator and Gov. Rendell. Tell them abortion goes against God’s best intentions for Gods children.”
Statement #2 amended to read “The United Methodist Church believes ‘abortion is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, destructive of good government and good stewardship.’”
The last statement presents a bit of a problem since the official position of the United Methodist Church can be regarded as giving the “green light” to the practice of abortion, although there is an attempt to couch the statements in pious sounding language. But in the final analysis, any woman can get an abortion who wants one on the basis of simply saying that the pregnancy will bring undue psychological stress, financial stress, health related stress, employment stress, social stress, family stress, home environment stress, household pet stress, garbage can stress, or whatever – it’s very easy to come up with a “reason” as to why an unborn child should be exterminated as simply as swatting a fly!
So, bishops, how about it – may we soon expect the second pastoral letter with the above amended statements in the war against social evils that are “a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, destructive of good government and good stewardship?”
To be continued in the next post………
"For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.” --- Jeremiah 7:5-8