Friday, December 21, 2007

Defending our church from attack

Below is the text of a letter to the editor that I sent to the Effingham Now newspaper defending our church. I think it is self-explanatory.
UPDATE: This letter was printed in the Dec. 27, 2007 issue of the Effingham Now. You can read it on their website here.

Dear Editor,

I was not surprised by the personal comments against me by the pro-liquor crowd in your newspaper's Effingham Now Vox Populi (Dec. 13, 2007), but you also printed an attack on my church that bordered on libel. You printed bald-faced lies about our church: that we manipulate people, that we don't do anything to help the community, that we don't encourage new people to join our church, and that if you're a nobody, don't bother joining us. None of that is true. You did not call our church for a response; you just printed this attack under the anonymous Vox Populi. Although the vox merely said "a church," how can anybody conclude it was any other church than First Baptist of Rincon when it was immediately after two other vox statements that attacked the church’s pastor by name?

A former member told me that she sent in a response to vox to defend us, so I waited a week for her response, but it was not printed. I cannot sit by silently any longer without responding to lies about the church that I love and serve.

1. We do not manipulate people. I have a few church members who disagree with me about the liquor issue, and we have discussed the matter lovingly and calmly, without any threats.

2. First Baptist Church of Rincon spends thousands of dollars every year helping the needy in the community with utilities, etc. Our church provided a totally free Harvest Festival on October 31 for the community that was attended by 1,500 people. This Thanksgiving, our church provided 100 needy families a free Thanksgiving meal. Our youth and college students constantly do acts of kindness, such as when they gave away 1,000 bottles of free water at the Rincon Fourth of July parade. Our senior adult choir goes to sing at the Effingham Nursing Home every month. We have a family counseling center that is open to the public. I could go on and on listing things that our church does in the community.

3. Our church has an active weekly evangelistic outreach, regularly inviting new people to join our church. Nearly every week new people join our church.

4. Our church is open to all races and economic backgrounds, and we currently have African-American, Asian and Hispanic people attending our church.

So as you can see, the vox comments about our church printed in your newspaper are not only false, but they are the complete opposite of the truth. While I respect the right of the people to express various opinions, I have no respect for the faceless “voice” of one person to openly lie about a church, nor do I respect a newspaper that would print such anonymous comments.


Parrishral said...

Brother Bob,

This VOX also bothered me greatly! Thank you for standing up for our church! Of course, I would have added MOPS to your list! :-)


Amy Parrish

Brother Bob said...

Thank you. Yes, the First Baptist MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) does a wonderful ministry in our community, providing fellowship and encouragement to lots of mothers, not just moms from our church.

Mark said...

Brother Bob,
Great job at defending FBC Rincon. The activities you mentioned are just what popped into my mind when I read the attack. Obviously the person making the attack has no clue of what FBC Rincon is about and apparently the Effingham Now staff has no respect for the church when it comes to fair and decent journalism. Even when I was in the hot seat at the Registrars Office, they called me for my comments before printing the attack on me.

Brother Bob said...

Thanks, Mark. Since writing this letter, I have learned from a reliable source that the editor did receive the vox comment that I mentioned defending our church, but decided not to print it. Talk about media bias!