Why Would You Go?

Of course she shouldn’t come. I mean, she is welcome and all. That’s not the point. It is a prayer breakfast sponsored by an evangelical group. I have been to a handful of them. Good food. Fun to run into people you haven’t seen for a while. It’s kind of a who’s who thing. I’ve enjoyed the keynote addresses. The Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall is generally full for the event.

This year, however, a few people who typically go say they are not going. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland isn’t going to go and give her usual opening greeting. None of Tacoma’s eight City Council members are going either. Mayor Strickland explained herself this way: “His [the speaker’s] position on marriage equality is inconsistent with my values and inconsistent with our commitment as a city to be inclusive.” City Councilman Anders Ibsen said the selection of this year’s speaker was “bad judgment” and “deeply, deeply regrettable.”

E. Duane Wilkerson, director of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation added his two cents: “It is my hope that the government leaders of Tacoma and Pierce County will publicly reject this messenger of hate and bigotry by either not attending or, if attending, by taking a moment of personal privilege to make it clear that this message is not one they agree with.” Not sure what taking “a moment of personal privilege” is, throwing your breakfast sausage at the podium when he’s speaking?

O, who is the speaker that has thrown our elected officials into such a tizzy? What hatemonger is coming to town? Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been invited by the Greater Tacoma Christian Laymen’s Outreach to be this year’s Pierce County Prayer Breakfast speaker. He made news several years ago when he defied a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state building. However, that isn’t the issue that has the mayor and city council’s panties in a wad. Chief Justice Roy Moore believes marriage, by definition, is the union between one man and one woman.

Who would have thought that the keynote speaker at an evangelical prayer breakfast would advocate the biblical position on marriage? Actually, anybody interested in going to the prayer breakfast for the right reason would. Politicians generally like these events because it is a nice gathering to be seen at. There are many hands to shake. They get introduced. They get to say a few niceties and then sit down. Most don’t offer a public prayer. A few years ago, as I recall, the governor of our state did. It was pretty clear the man didn’t pray very often and should have just stuck to the niceties.

Therefore, I applaud the Mayor and the City Council. Instead of showing up as hypocrites, it’s better for everyone they stay away. It makes it more comfortable for us to pray for “God’s values” instead of Mayor Strickland’s. It’s also easier to pray for someone’s soul when there not there.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
May 1, 2014

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