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UCCtruths

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General Synod - Day 3

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thomas sermon a challenge to the denomination: "What are you doing here?"
What are you doing here, Elijah? What are you doing here, United Church of Christ? On the run for no good reason, or for very good reason? What are you doing here? Our therapeutic age yearns for a divine arm around the collective shoulder, telling us we've been wonderful, that the world is harsh, that we've earned our rest in the cave. But God's response is tough love that seems to offer more toughness than love. "Go back, back to the dangerous places, the places where Jezebel reigns. Go back, back to find Elisha who will replace you. Go back."
Fallout from Obama speech
The biggest story coming out of this General Synod so far is presidential candidate Barack Obama's address before the UCC's General Synod.

Obama did what all politicians do when they are running for office- he campaigned. No sin there. As speeches go, it was a good one, even if it was the same exact speech he gave the week before in Iowa. The problem is the hypocrisy by those who advocate for separation of church and state within and outside of our denomination. Either this belief is absolute or it's a political tool reserved primarily for limiting the political speech of opponents.

From the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State perspective, a political speaker at a religious event has one of two distinct roles: Either they are 1) speaking as a candidate for office or 2) speaking as a non-candidate. If Obama was speaking as a non-candidate (since he was supposedly invited over a year ago before he declared) then his reference to campaign pledges if elected to office clearly violates AU's standard for separation. If he was speaking as a candidate, AU's standards call for equal access by the other candidates for the same office... which didn't appear to happen. In either case, his speeches before the Iowa Conference and the General Synod were a violation of separation by AU's own standards.

From the UCC perspective, there should be no confusion as they publicly advocate for the same rules on separation as AU. Furthermore, UCC leaders and conference ministers understood Obama's status as a declared candidate for some time and, by virtue of their reporting on the Iowa speech a week earlier, also understood that Obama's address would be a campaign speech. The UCC clearly and knowingly violated AU's standard for separation.
posted by UCCtruths, Sunday, June 24, 2007

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