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As I was doing my daily round of blog readings and press reports, I came across this from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Tea Party here plans first anniversary

Reveling in their vault to prominence, members of the Tea Party movement from the Pittsburgh region will gather Saturday to mark the anniversary of their first local demonstration.
The local group will celebrate Saturday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church of Highland on Cumberland Road, McCandless. In addition to a documentary film on the history of the movement, the meeting will include breakout session on topics including health care, global warming, and the Constitution.

As a Lutheran, I was very alarmed that a church of my own denomination was hosting such event. I have since come to learn that this is not the first time this church has hosted such an event.

Standing outside a meeting room at St. John's Lutheran Church of Highland in McCandless Friday night, Judith S. Brown smoked a cigarette in the 10-degree chill. Its smoke mixed with the vapor from her breath as she shivered on the fringe of a parking lot dotted with bumper stickers with messages such as: "End the Fed," and "It's Not Left vs.Right; It's the State vs. You."

Inside, a crowd of about 100 people were there for a meeting of a Pittsburgh 9-12 group, part of a movement nurtured by the Fox News Channel commentator Glenn Beck and named for the perception of unity in the country on the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Let's talk about the details of this Saturday's event:

One of the guest speakers will be Robin Redding who is Executive Director and COO of the American Constitution Union. Among the group's "concerns" are: "separation of church and state" and "concern for New World Order". It also issues the following "statement of fact":

It is unconstitutional for the federal government to intrude in the areas of environment, health, education, commerce, taxation, property rights, religion and family.

The organization also resolves to:

Restore the rights of the People and restore the States sovereignty as originally foreseen under the Constitution

According to the event's Facebook page, breakout groups will hold discussions on "a letter writing campaign for ending the global warming debate".

Now, I'm sure if you did more research than me on the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement -- its spokeswoman/organizer Patti Weaver via their Twitter page, or their affiliation with the Tea Party Patriots -- I'm sure you'll find more alarming things.


My point is, why is an ELCA (Lutheran) church hosting all of these events when the ELCA officially recognizes the dangers of global warming? Why is an ELCA (Lutheran) church hosting an inherently intolerant group's events when the congregation's own newsletter (PDF) says it's annual theme for 2010 is "Celebrating Our Diversity: Overcoming Intolerance"? Why is an ELCA (Lutheran) church permitting its facilities be used by an organization that is diametrically opposed to the official beliefs and statements of the ELCA?

If you agree with me that this is an inappropriate use of this church's facilities and, indeed, is a desecration of a place specifically dedicated to Christ (especially during a holy time such as Lent), then I urge you to contact the following people:

Contact information
William B. Diehm & Kari B. Smail, Pastors (email:
Bishop Kurt F. Kusserow (email:

Originally posted to mph2005 on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 04:50 AM PST.


Is it appropriate for churches to host "Tea Party" events?

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