Letters to the Editor
Clear thinking absent from church commentary
In recent weeks, statements have been made about St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church in Tempe. Some of those statements were made by people who are no longer members of the church, some were made by people who were former heads of the church; regardless, all these statements were made without factual basis, clear thinking devoid of emotion, and regard for other people of whom they speak of.
As a matter of feelings and being an educated man and devoted empiricist, I would like to make some statements of my own; statements that stem from thinking and not malice.
I belong to St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church. I was raised and continue to believe that in times of trial and hardship, a church is a place of refuge, a sanctuary and safe place for those who are lost or simply need gentle guidance toward a path of living a good life.
I believe a church is somewhere that should be devoid of ostracizing. When people come to the church, they are accepted for who they are, regardless of what may become of them, whether by nature, nurture or choice. Acceptance, above all things, is the root of love, the basis for compassion, which helps us care for each other.
Taking the stance that a group of people should not be accepted based on either what they have chosen or what was chosen for them is tantamount to deciding that some people cursed with systemic diseases or isolated as circumstances of a divorce, are less desirable to consort with than others. Would we be intelligent or compassionate human beings if we decided that people with Lupus are not worthy of association because they are not able to contribute as much of their time and energy as someone without this affliction? Would we say that a person who once professed and preached the faith of one religious denomination is not worthy of speaking with because they were expelled from that faith? Is it a caring and compassionate leader that holds a secret church meeting, denying documented members of that church entry with an armed police presence?
I voted in the last election despite being told by a preacher under Keith Andrew’s direction that I should not vote, that members of the church were not citizens of the United States but members of the nation of God; should membership in one preclude you from being in the other? Should we exclude yet more people as suggested?
I accept and love all, regardless of what nature, fate, God or free will has blessed or cursed that person with. I have never used my position, my influence, or my oratory skills to badger, bemoan or belittle people who could not give to my cause, or ask a family who suffered a miscarriage the previous week to continue to donate in a time of serious grief.
I am a person who believes that God’s love is an unconditional love, not one that ostracizes some and simply leaves others behind. I have never told people leaving a gathering with me to say goodbye and that they would never see their friends at that gathering ever again because they did not agree with me.
I say that those people who are intolerant of free thought, unable to love others despite their flaws and shortcomings, unwilling to accept those who need help and guidance because of what was thrust upon them by choice or otherwise, and incapable of embracing the adaptation of the Bible and the church leadership to the realities of the real world can continue to worship where they choose. I am a member of St. James Church. I love, I care, and I hope one day that these people will see the light and shed their intolerance in lieu of compassion. I live my life through faith, not through the words of someone who claims to love me but shuts me out of my own church.
-- Dan and Becca Khuu