Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A letter from Pastor Jim Ortiz

Dear Whittier Daily News:

I’m so happy to be a citizen of this country where I have the right to freely exercise my religion, freely voice my opinions, peaceably assemble with others, and, when necessary, petition my government when I have a grievance.

Over these past many months we have seen the wonderful exercise of our democratic rights expressed through the various media and the ballot box. We have seen people on both sides of issues and political parties make their claims and woo the voters. And last Tuesday (Nov. 4) the people spoke and made their choices.

Now, we see candidates and political foes shaking hands and speaking magnanimously about each other. We see one administration graciously offering a hand of cooperation as it welcomes the transition to a new administration. Regardless of who got the fewest votes we all “win” when we accept the outcome and work together for the common good. And, this is how it has always been in our history and always should be.

Yet, sadly, we also see others who are not happy with the outcome of their particular issue marching in the streets, disrupting traffic, impeding travel and commerce, flashing finger epithets, picketing and threatening, yelling unprintable words of anger, bigotry, and hateful intolerance. They do all this while standing in front of houses of worship harassing parishioners as they enter to exercise their faith. And, they’re the ones holding the “Stop the Hate” signs!

Whatever your particular opinion is about the outcome of Proposition 8 (and this paper's opinion is well known!), the harassment of worshipers at churches and the threats against religious institutions, specifically the Mormon Church, is unacceptable and unworthy of a democratic people. This should be condemned! As an Evangelical Christian I do not share much common theological ground with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but, I do share our common love of natural marriage and traditional family. On this issue they are my Brothers and Sisters! The Mormons paid a hefty price disproportionate to their size for the passage of Proposition 8 both before and now after the vote. I commend them for their sacrifice and efforts. Yet, as significant as their part was they were only part of a coalition of millions of Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, and other Christians and non-Christians alike. As well as Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisans, and ethnic groups of every color and hue who believe that only marriage between one man and one woman should be valid and recognized in California and is the most beneficial family structure for our children and our society.

On this issue I will stand with my Mormon brethren and other colleagues and friends and defend their right to petition their government, freely express their opinions, worship according to their conscience, and be free and protected from harassment and bigotry. For their right is my right, too! I call upon this paper to abandon its bias for a moment and do the same. Pastor Jim Ortiz, PresidentWhittier Evangelical Ministerial AllianceSenior Pastor, My Friend’s House, Assembly of God.

Pastor Jim Ortiz,
PresidentWhittier Evangelical Ministerial Alliance
Senior Pastor, My Friend’s House, Assembly of God

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