Bullies Backing Down
When we stand together and speak out, we cannot be defeated. In two high-profile cases this week, that sentiment has proved correct.
First, in East Waynesville, NC, where the pastor of the East Waynesville Baptist Church, previously accused of excommunicating members of his congregation who voted for John Kerry, has resigned:
The Rev. Chan Chandler, 33, walked out of the East Waynesville Baptist Church, which he had led for three years, after delivering a brief statement of resignation Tuesday night.
In an interview with a church publication Tuesday, Chandler denied endorsing any candidate from the pulpit, as critics had charged.
But he acknowledged citing from the pulpit what he believes are the "unbiblical values" of some political hopefuls. "But those were negative endorsements never a positive endorsement" of any candidate, he said.
Chandler admitted in the interview that he cited Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's views on abortion and homosexuality in one sermon. He said he also mentioned two Republicans whose views he said were out of step with the Bible.
He was not more specific, and stressed that his sermons were issue-oriented and not based on party affiliation.
"This never has been about politics," Chandler said. "It's always been about whether the Bible applies to the entire life of a Christian."
Some church members had said that they were told to leave if they voted for Kerry.
We're left to ponder how a "negative endorsement" of one candidate is not a "positive endorsement" of the other, as I'm sure the IRS will when it looks into the church's tax-exempt status. But we can be happy that, as soon as we shined the light of the media on these sorry bullies, they were forced to back down, to resign, to cower in the face of their own intolerance.
Here's part two. An Army recruiter in Houston, Texas threatened to jail a potential recruit if he didn't enlist:
Sgt. Thomas Kelt left this message on that young man's cell phone: "Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, by federal law you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. You fail to appear and we'll have a warrant. Okay? So give me a call back."
Well, the media in Houston got a hold of this, and so did the bloggers, and so did the national media.
Well, guess what? Now that it got out in the open, more people are coming forward. This guy says a recruiter threatened his life:
Will Ammons, 20, signed up for delayed entry at the Lake Jackson Army recruiting station last year.
But soon afterwards, he fell in love and changed his mind before he ever shipped out.
That's when, he says, Army recruiters crossed the line and started harrassing him.
"He told me I pretty much had two options," Ammons said. "I'd go before a judge and get a sentence of 15 years but he had the option to double it. It was either that or they were going to put me in front of seven other people with rifles and shoot me."
And here's the upshot:
Because of the Defenders' investigation and other similar allegations, the Army will hold a nationwide stand down on recruiting on May 20.
Bra-fucking-vo, everyone. We actually don't need to be bullied, by the government, by the military, by the clergy, by anyone. This is a country with individual rights, and when we use them collectively, they're even stronger. The punch-the-bully-in-the-nose strategy is what the Republicans never planned for. It's going to get Democrats back in the seats of power. And what's more, Americans love when the underdog jumps up and punches the bully in the face, leaving him crying and defeated. Don't you watch 80s teen movies?