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UM Fund Raising For Craig To Go To National Council of Churches

To: newsdesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2000 12:39 PM
Subject: Response to "Legal fund for Elian's father shifts to NCC"

Your article stated that the idea for the fund was to "help bring about the reunion of father and child". If this is the case then why does the fund need to continue since they have now been reunited? It is my understanding that the lawyers for the relatives are working for free, so why can't lawyers be found to volunteer to help the father? Just why do we need to raise huge sums of money to pay lawyers? Isn't there enough social justice seeking individuals out there with good will who would provide a place for the father to stay and feed him while awaiting the results of the court? Isn't there lawyers somewhere who would see this justice issue and volunteer their time to represent the father?

I would like to see a list of just what the money is spent on and just who is pocketing it. I would also like to know if any of the money is going to indirectly support other "social justice" issues. Shifting the project to the NCC is like hiding it under a shell so we can't see it. Did anyone stop to consider just how much the United Methodist Church spends to support the NCC. With the move to the NCC we are still using United Methodist funds to indirectly pay for this project.

I celebrate and cherish freedom and have no love for Fidel Castro and his politics. If I were in Cuba, I would probably also risk death on a small boat to try to come to this country. But at the same time, I personally think the boy should have been sent home to his father as soon as he was out of the hospital. According to news reports, the Miami relatives didn't even know the boy existed until he got here and the mother had no plans to even look them up. It is for this reason that we have laws and regulations to protect us from things such as this turning into a political war. In reality this has little to do with the boy. Its a political fight and the boy is being used as the rope in a tug of war. He is being further damaged by everything that is going and it didn't need to happen.

Today we are experiencing a similar situation within the United Methodist Church. Because of their unwillingness to hold people accountable to the Book of Discipline, many of our top leaders have decide to set aside rule and order out of a misguided sense of fair play and justice. But in doing so they have brought us to the brink of a denominational civil war. Without law and order, abuse and anarchy reign. We were warned repeatedly about this in the Bible. It is a time when "everyone does that which is right in their own eyes". In this case that includes bishops refusing to hold clergy and especially themselves accountable to the Discipline, clergy breaking covenants, ordination candidates lying about supporting our rule and order so they can be ordained, leaders making public statements that negatively impact evangelical churches and their memberships, and the list goes on and on. Fighting social injustice and opposing secular laws and regulations is quite appropriate and part of our rich history as United Methodists. However, when that philosophy is applied to our denomination, we find ourselves in a very precarious position. Because the enemy is not some outside organization. The enemy in this case are other United Methodists. It is a true saying that "a house divides against itself cannot stand". We can agree to disagree, but we also must respect and defend our covenant to each other. That covenant requires us to honor, respect, and protect our rule and order within the denomination and be willing to enforce it. In doing so we are protecting ourselves from harm. For in this case we are our own worst enemies.

Rev. Kent Svendsen
NIC Coordinator
Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church

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