Friday, May 29, 2009

PA UM Bishops' War on Gambling in Pennsylvania continued....

"Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! --- Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:24

Yesterday the focus was on four UMC bishops who have issued a pastoral letter urging all United Methodists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to oppose Gov. Rendell’s proposal to expand gambling by means of video poker machines set up in a number of business establishments.

Many years ago before my retirement I, along with all W. PA Conference pastors, received a “pastoral letter” from the three UMC bishops in Pennsylvania. We were told to read the letter to our congregations and urge opposition and call for ultimate elimination of the death penalty in the state.

I wrote to each of those bishops personally and told each one that I would be most willing to read their letter to my people IF and WHEN I received a letter from them equally strong and forceful in opposing abortion on demand. After all, a "death penalty" of a kind is involved when an unborn child is executed in the womb, is it not?

Time passed and eventually I received a reply from the bishop of the Central PA Conference. The letter contained a few terse phrases which when translated clearly declared, “Who are you to question us?” That is a temptation some bishops seem to have once they take office – they now have a “kingdom” and when they say “Jump!” everyone snaps to attention and says, “Yes sir/madam – just how much altitude does your honor desire from us in that jump?” Pastors and congregations are expected to march in lockstep with no questions to be asked nor any objections to be raised when the bishop speaks!

The female bishop at the eastern end of the state never did send a reply to my letter. And as I followed her career in later years I understood why she did not respond.

More time passed and eventually my own bishop responded. He conceded that the issue was a serious one, but felt maybe I was making a little bit too much of it – you know, a matter of making "a mountain out of a mole hill" sort of thing!

And so, I didn’t read the letter. I did post it on the bulletin boards of my churches along side of the letter I sent to the bishops and informed my people what had transpired.

That is how it has been over the decades – United Methodist bishops have spoken out on issues of all kinds – pastoral letters have been drafted and congregations have been urged to take action to bring about changes toward improvement of some kind within our culture.

But on the issue which will bring the wrath of a holy God upon this nation more quickly than any other offense, the bishops seem to have a Mafia type “code of silence!” Not a one will boldly speak out in vehement protest about the horrors of the mass destruction of the unborn, nor urge those within his/her conference to do so.

At the present time W PA Annual Conference has been on a campaign to send treated mosquito netting to Africa in the battle against malaria with Bishop Bickerton hammering on the fact of huge numbers of persons dying each year from malaria. Jean and I have supported this effort financially. But why does the bishop not express at least equal concern for over a million unborn children in the United States being mutilated and murdered in the womb each year?

Maybe I have it all wrong – and that is, that it is much more a serious matter as to what a mosquito does to a person in Africa than what a hypocrite posing as a “doctor” does with a custom made vacuum cleaner in tearing to shreds an unborn child whom God is forming in the womb in the United States of America! For further discussion on this issue see
A Mosquito Does Not Rationalize, Resist Or Retaliate! Use return feature on your web browser to come back to this place.

Will someone please explain this mystery to me as the United States’ version of “holocaust” continues with enthusiastic support from our president and very little serious objection while we United Methodists with overwhelming enthusiasm fight the evils of gambling in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

"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

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