Little did they know, Baptist ministers would fire back.
Below the fold, read the letter from Larry's minister that's burning up chain mails all over North Carolina this morning and making grown men cry.
To the Editor
Rev David Frierson wrote a letter to the Editor questioning Larry Kissell's family values. I have to tell you about Larry's values, because he is far too modest to talk about them himself. Larry Kissell is the second child of two very remarkable parents. Dick and Vi Kissell taught Larry to value all people. When other parents in Montgomery County were striving to keep the schools segregated, Dick and Vi taught their kids that all people were Children of God. Larry grew up in a very typical two-parent American middle class home. There was then, as there still are, people who deem children from families who don't have both parents in the home less valuable. Larry befriended, J. B. Cecil, whose mother was unmarried with three children. J. B. can tell you how much it meant to have Larry as a friend. Vi can tell you how angry that Larry was at Santa Claus because he passed over J. B.'s house and how Larry shared his Christmas with J.B. . J.B. will tell you how much it meant to him to receive clothes and toys from Larry at Christmas. He will tell you that he is a part of the Kissell family. He shared many meals with them, and ate the Christmas Eve meal with them every year until he became so ill with diabetes that he could no longer be easily moved. Now, Larry goes to visit J. B. at Starmont. He makes sure that J.B. has everything that he needs there. When J. B. moved to this new home his room had no air-conditioning. Larry donated the money to purchase a unit for J.B. . J. B. loves television, especially cowboy shows and movies. Larry made sure that Jerry and Tommy Smith, a couple of members in his church family, hooked up J.B.'s cable and then, Larry bought him a new television and VCR.
For twenty seven years Larry was a mill worker. People who worked with Larry were members of his family. If you are out riding a bicycle with Larry, as I have in the past, you are struck by how many people stop to talk with him because they worked with him at the mill. He would share with me the numerous experiences he has had in different religious traditions because he had gone to funerals of people who were a part of his work family. One of the reasons Larry is willing to take abuse from people as he runs for Congress is that his FAMILY has been done great injustice by trade agreements that cost so many of them their jobs.
When I have visited East Montgomery to talk to Larry I found it amazing the many interruptions we had by students coming who needed his advice. Larry knew all their stories and he knew where they needed to be challenged and believed that even if they had been in trouble, with proper guidance they'd still achieve. He is a father figure to many students, some of whom know nothing of their biological father. Along with Sarah Talbert (another with a large family), Larry sponsors National Honor Society. This group is not only bright; they know that they are called to serve because Sarah and Larry involve them in good works. The NHS every year is the top local contributor to Biscoe Food Pantry through their annual carwash.
Larry rented a house to an international teacher named Donna Marucchi from South Africa. Donna quickly became a part of Larry's family. Donna has a real call to help AIDS orphans in Swaziland. Donna made a presentation to First Baptist Church with pictures of children who are forced to sleep outdoors and come to a little one room building for meals and school. Sixty children cared for by two women at a building that is terribly inadequate. When Donna left Star to go back to work with these children she took with her 8,000 dollars from First Baptist Church's Christmas offering (much of it given by Larry and Tina) to build a dorm and kitchen for children that the world has forgotten. Larry, Tina, Jenny and Aspen went to visit these new members of their family who now have many needs met because Larry doesn't limit his family to those that bear his name or who look like him. He has many children and many family members. We are red and yellow, black and white, we are young and old, male and female from all over the globe; each knowing that Larry will to best of his abilities work with us and for us to make a better world.
Kurt Vonnegut says in his book, A Man Without a Country, "A father, a mother and two children is not a family, it is a terribly vulnerable survival unit". Larry has the biggest and best family of anybody I know. They will keep him grounded and remind him of the nobleness of his new vocation. If you don't know him drop by and see him; his family is still incomplete.
Rev. Larry Wilson
First Baptist Church
Guys, let's get this amazing man in Congress. A good place to start would be nominating Kissell for Netroots endorsement.