I am the pastor who organized and moderated the Candidate Forum in our church building on Wednesday, July 26th. I was very grateful to have all five candidates present, and most responses I received were positive and appreciative. But not everyone was happy. Yes, my “agenda” was to allow the voters to meet, hear from, and speak to each of the five candidates so they could decide for themselves. No one else had offered, so I did. One point is that the Gazette already presented five questions to the candidates, so repeating those topics did not seem necessary. My “unhappiness” centers around how the Gazette characterized the event.
First – a confession: some of my critics have accused me of “lecturing” or “sermonizing,” – and honestly, I do not blame you for that perception. I talked longer than I should have at certain points, and I apologize for that. I can over-explain an issue as I did that night. I am sorry.
I contend that beginning with the title, almost all of the one-paragraph article written by the publisher was misleading and inaccurate. I spoke with the article’s author about my concerns. Later that evening, I received a text “inviting” me to write a letter to the editor (assuming that meant there would be no corrections to the original paragraph.) So, this is my letter.
First, the following statement is misleading: “…the questions were unknown to the candidates…” – the actual questions, yes, but I had sent state and district documents and related website links to each candidate the week before so each could be prepared for the subject matter. The subjects and questions came from a consistent chorus of concerned parents in the area and from what is being seen in school board meetings across this country.
Second, any information I shared related to the question at hand was based on actual data and policy documents – so when he wrote: “Pastor White introduced each question with his opinion and background details he had selected prior to the forum’s start,” is patently false, and very disturbing. More than a few personal attacks on my character were posted online based on this faulty statement.
Third, the article went from misleading to complete disinformation: “Due to time constraints, MOST of the questions offered by Pastor White pertained to LGBTQ issues in the school district” [emphasis mine]. Only one out of six questions had anything related to LGBTQ, actually, only the “T” (Trans-gender), and it was the fifth question, seventy minutes into the forum! That question was regarding the current DPSD Gender Inclusive Policy 3211P. I spent a little time listing the points contained in that policy, and then asked about boys in girls’ restrooms, girls’sports, and the school potentially hiding gender issues from parents. Most parents do not know how much intrusive power this current policy gives the school district.
The evening consisted of eight segments, including the opening and closing remarks by the candidates and six different questions in between. I know that question five about gender
ideology struck a nerve, and the criticism seems focused primarily on that issue. The point is that too many people fear speaking up, contrary to the accepted narrative that boys can be girls, etc. We need candidates (and neighbors) who will not bow to political pressure and be willing to converse honestly about reality versus fantasy and biological science versus mental illness.
Lastly, much of the hate and anger focused on an incorrect understanding of the “Separation of Church and State” – I wrote an article from a historical context on that very subject last month – there is a pdf copy of it on our church website: http://www.tcccdp.org/resources/Pastor Perspective.html
What disturbs me most is that the Gazette has made it appear as if I am out to “get” all LGBTQ people. Never have – never will. Over my forty years in ministry, I have ministered to all types of people, including those who are gay, without shaming or signaling them out. I do not consider myself better than others, just forgiven, and forgiveness and new life are open to everyone who would call the name of Jesus.
I will always welcome constructive and respectful discussion for anyone who desires it. My door is open to those who want to dialogue.
Pastor Tim White