Just Another Lie
John Dorhauer printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 11:15:06 PM EST
John Dorhauer, Talk To Action writer
The work of renewal groups is fueled by lies and half-truths told often enough and loud enough by bullies that they become accepted as fact when left unchallenged.

While attending the first annual meeting of the Faithful and Welcoming Churches (FWC) renewal group of the United Church of Christ in early August, David Runnion-Bareford (Executive Director of the more established renewal group, The Biblical Witness Fellowship) claimed that the National Offices of the United Church of Christ was responsible for choosing 2/3 of General Synod delegates.

This is a lie: and he knows it.

The lie went unchallenged by any of the participants who, quite frankly, were fairly well predisposed to believe this kind of crap to begin with, and for whom David was somewhat of an expert in the field.

Though David himself did nothing to explain the veracity of his claim, it is presumably supported by the understanding that all elected members of the National Boards are given voice and vote at the biennial gathering of the United Church of Christ known as General Synod.

While that is true, it nonetheless does nothing to support the outrageous lie told by David at the FWC annual meeting. Let me give some data here.

First of all, the Constitution of the UCC authorizes each Board of the National Ministries (of which there are four) to establish its own number at anywhere between 55 and 58 - bringing the total of potential voting delegates from the Boards to no more than 232 - not even close to half of the delegates representing the UCC at Synod.

Second, it is a false to assume that the National Offices have anything to do with the election of most of those delegates that serve on the respective Boards. Each of the 39 Conferences is allowed to elect their own representatives to each of the Boards. This means that around ¾ of all of the Boards are created with no input from National Leadership.

Third, the remaining delegates are chosen by each respective Conference. Like the United States, Conferences split the remaining delegate seats among themselves based on their membership totals: the larger the Conference, the higher percentage of the delegates there will be from your Conference. In 2005, the Missouri Mid-South Conference was given 20 delegates to serve at General Synod. Not once in the process did anyone from the National Offices consult with us about the formation of our delegation. They would never do that, and we would never allow them if they tried.

In Missouri (the only Conference for which I can speak directly), we divide the delegation evenly amongst our three Associations. Each Association then forms a nominating committee (elected at the previous year's annual meeting), one of whose responsibilities it is to find local church members willing to serve from our Association to fill out the Conference's delegation to Synod. At no point in time does anyone from our National offices contact - or even know the names of - those who serve on that Nominating Committee.

The people nominated by this Committee are then voted on at the next Annual Meeting of the Association. Names may be submitted from the floor in nomination, and an election is held.

What, then, - short of the fantasy world in which he lives - is it that leads David Runnion-Bareford to claim against all credible evidence that the National Offices of the UCC are involved in some grand conspiracy to manipulate votes at General Synod by hand selecting 2/3 of the delegates?

That he can do this with impunity is a disgrace. That he can do it with a straight face is evidence of his deep seeded desire to slander his own denomination by any means necessary. That he can do it despite all credible evidence to the contrary is testimony of his own incongruity with matters true.

But then again, credible evidence is never a prerequisite for what defines something as true in the hands of renewal movement leaders. If it discredits their perceived enemy, it is useful and true. If it supports the presupposition that the institution in question is evil, it is de facto valid. And creative thinkers like David have spent a career concocting half-truths and outright lies, couching them not in fact but in faith, hoping that if told often enough and loud enough it will become credible.

This is one of many of his well-placed lies that cannot stand the light of day; but in the dark hallways of the Bechtelsville Church on that Friday in early August, in the presence of a crowd willing to believe anything that would discredit their mutually despised denomination, this lie fell on friendly ears and, left unchallenged became a part of the ammunition that would be used to destroy their common enemy.




Display:
who bases his appeal on demagogic lies, does not sound like much of a reformer. And what he is renewing, well, who can say?

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 08:22:09 PM EST

I know that's a lie, also because I ran for Synod Delegate a couple of times.  The delegates were elected at our Association Meetings.  I didn't win, but our Pastor at the time was elected, and we are from a very small, conservative congregation.

by sheltie on Mon Sep 11, 2006 at 03:53:34 PM EST

I agree liars should be confronted and this statment you quoted should be corrected. 

I must regretfully take issue with the tone & substance of your comments as there may be errors of perception, perspective or of facts. Maybe something was taken out of context.

Of course, if he mis-spoke and meant 1/3 are picked by national boards, then he would have been close as I think there are about 750 delegate or so.  Has anyone checked with David R-B? 

I was there & missed that comment although I took careful notes  and agree with the press releases on the UCC News website which give a quite different picture of the meeting than presented here.  Are they in error?

I our personal conversations which I enjoyed, I missed your challenge on this point as I would have agreed and sought to correct this mis-statement of the delegate selection process. I agree mis-statements and errors by leaders should be corrected.

I always think it proper to confront those who make errors with their error & give them the chance to make amends.  I do not believe the statment as quoted, nor do any other the Synod delegates who were present. None of the other leaders whom I know believe the delegate selection process is any different than you describe.

The hallways were well-lighted, not dark. Yourself and all denominational staff were warmly received.  The goals voted on and reported by UCNews shows no attitude of 'despising'.  The UCC is not my enemy. Neither are you. 

I recall the keynote speaker challenging all of us to avoid vilifying those with whom we disagree.  It seems although we were present in the same room our experience was quite different.   

Whatever else David R-B may be, I've never known him to bully anyone as I once was by others.  While I've known many who disagree with him deeply and profoundly, this is a new charge against a fellow member of the clergy with whom we both are in covenant.

However, if he is a bully, should not the evidence be brought forward and ethical charges considered? Bullies should not be allowed to run rampant in the church. If that is happening, then further action should occur to bring justice.  

Blessings! 



by SClifford on Thu Sep 14, 2006 at 11:46:41 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


A Talk to Action Anthology on Neo-Confederacy, Nullification and Secession (Updated)
Over the past year, a number of posts have addressed the growing Neo-Confederate movement, the advocacy of nullification of federal laws, and even the......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Two Years Ago Today, the 'Least Credible History Book in Print' was Published
This post is an updated version of my post from this same date last year, which, not surprisingly, was titled "One Year Ago Today,......
By Chris Rodda (1 comment)
Geocentrist Creationists Seek To Become The Center Of Attention
There are days when fundamentalist zealots do something so off the wall that I don't know whether to laugh or cry, so I do......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
A Full Quiver of Bad Advice
Mike Huckabee mailed out an open invitation to all Texas pastors inviting them to attend the Texas Renewal Project.  The first 1,000 to respond......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
Opus Dei Priest's Secessionist Roadmap to Theocracy
Fr. C.J. ("John") McCloskey is in many ways the  American face of the secretive Catholic organization, Opus Dei.  He is a former Wall Streeter,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Don't Be April Fooled by Far-Right Activists Dressed Up as Democratic Candidates
This is cross-posted from The Huffington Post. It expands and updates previous posts about the Neo-Confederate theocrats Michael Peroutka and Pastor David Whitney. Maryland......
By jhutson (0 comments)
Dangerous Defiance: Md. Official Ignores Court Ruling On Sectarian Prayer
I'm not a lawyer, but let me give you a little free legal advice anyway: It's never a good idea to defy a federal......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors'
Austin Ruse doesn't understand why people were so upset when he said on a national radio program that university leaders "should all be taken......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices' Religious Beliefs
Today's Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.The question......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
RINO Says His Dino Proves Noah's Flood -- Wha Wha What?
Michael Peroutka, the presidential candidate of the Constitution Party in 2004 and co-founder of the theocratic Institute on the Constitution, made news recently when......
By jhutson (0 comments)
Franklin Graham Slams Obama and Supports Putin in Battle Over Gay Rights
With a column vigorously supporting Vladimir Putin's anti-gay crusade in Russia, Evangelist Franklin Graham finds himself edging closer to inheriting the mantle of Fred......
By Bill Berkowitz (3 comments)
Neo-Confederate Democrats: Oxymorons?
“Many of you may be thinking that I have lost my mind,” Republican Del. Don Dwyer wrote in a March 2013 email and Facebook......
By jhutson (2 comments)
The Catholic Right Star & the Porn Star -- UPDATED
A Duke University freshman best known by her stage name Belle Knox has been much in the news. She was even interviewed by Piers......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Baptists and Bullets in Texas Politics
One thing regional Baptist GOP candidates share in common is a deep affection for gun rights.  The endorsements of pro-gun positions takes precedence over......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
The Battling Noahs & The Titanic Film Comeback of Noah & His Ark
Who would have imagined that in 2014, Noah, yes the Noah of the Biblical story of Noah and his Ark, would be garnering so......
By Bill Berkowitz (1 comment)

America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (1 comment)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (0 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)
Jerry Falwell's Fundamentalist Liberty University Still Getting Hundreds of Millions in Federal Aid
In 2010, Liberty University got more federal funding than the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In a 2011 Talk To Action story, contributor Bill Berkowitz covered the new trend in which right-wing evangelical colleges and......
Bruce Wilson (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.