Monday, March 19, 2007

Kansas: Jerry Johnston's "empire of fear" hurts people more than possible fiscal misdeeds

By Diane Silver

Applause to the Rev. Thom Belote for his stirring sermon about the real problem with the Rev. Jerry Johnston and his First Family Church.

The minister of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Overland Park, Belote argues that the damage done by Johnston's politics and preaching far outweigh the shortcomings of Johnston's character. The Kansas City Star profiled Johnston's character issues last week.

Belote reprinted the sermon in his blog. The emphasis is mine.
The story is he has built his empire, his empire of fear and ignorance, on a message of hostility to every single person who is here this morning, and every single person who worshipped yesterday at a synagogue, or Friday at a mosque, or at a Buddhist center or a United Methodist church or UCC church or Quaker Meeting or those persons who participate in no religious community at all. How many of these persons of different colors, of different shapes, from different nations, who practice dissimilar spiritualities, who belong to diverse communities and denominations, are persons of impeccable and unassailable character? How many of them look out for their neighbors, participate in the community, practice generosity and compassion and tolerance? But, the content of your character means very little to Johnston. Johnston judges you by the conformity of your creed, not by the content of your character.

On this matter, I believe that Jerry Johnston’s character is very much beside the point. His presence is very much beside the point. I’d just as soon judge him on his body of work.

Amen to that.

Photo: Johnston at the podium.


Anonymous said...

You and your pastor are fools and crazy to think that Jerry's Theology and preaching is wrong!! Ever read the bible? you might learn something!

Diane Silver said...

Actually, the Rev. Thom Belote is not my pastor, although he certainly has things to say that can help many people. I attend Unity Church of Lawrence.

Meanwhile, I do believe that your post proves his point.

May you find the peace you seek.