Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Political mailer betrays Christian values

We must be better citizens than this

  • By Michael Burton
  • Thursday, November 3, 2022 10:24pm
  • Opinion

By Michael Burton

“The only way for evil men to triumph is for good men to stand and watch.”

A good friend reminded me of this quote recently. So… while I typically prefer to speak more through actions than words, after receiving the shameful political mailer a few days ago aimed at smearing and slandering Justin Ruffridge, I feel compelled to speak up.

Alaska Family Action Inc. paid for the ad. Jim Minnery and John Fleming of Anchorage and Jake Libbey of Wasilla were listed as the top three contributors; and it doesn’t take much effort to “follow the money” back to who here locally may have suggested the idea to Mr. Minnery in the first place. (And no, I’m not referring to Mr. Ruffridge’s opponent.)

Ironically, AFA succeeded in even-more-widely disseminating to thousands of peninsula children and families the very content they are condemning as offensive.

As for AFA’s mission and vision to “inspire biblical citizenship … elevate community dialog … [and] to see an Alaska where … God is honored,” it seems to me their ad does exactly the opposite. In fact, I would argue that Misters Minnery, Fleming, Libbey (and possibly others here locally) are sure looking a lot like the political and religious leaders Jesus excoriates in Mathew 23. And all this while viciously attacking a fellow Christian. (Galatians 6:10 says something about that, too.)

Jesus had very little patience or time for hypocritical religious/political leaders. All four Gospels are very clear about this. Who does Jesus have time for? The hurting, the marginalized, the outcast, those on the fringes of society… some of the very ones so many today are quick to loudly condemn. I think of the young man in the Photoshopped picture showcased on both sides of the AFA political mailer. I suspect he’s exactly who Jesus would have made time for. Sadly, it’s hard for me to imagine him ever wanting now to darken the doors of a church. And what about so many others quietly watching, and getting the (erroneous, but loud and clear) message that they are not welcome either?

We must be better citizens than this. And even more so, for we who call ourselves Christians, our standard should be even higher as we remember Jesus’ Greatest Commandment: to love God with all our hearts, but also to remember to love our neighbors as well.

Michael Burton


More in Opinion

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag.
Opinion: Old models of development are not sustainable for Alaska

Sustainability means investing in keeping Alaska as healthy as possible.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy unveils proposals to offer public school teachers annual retention bonuses and enact policies restricting discussion of sex and gender in education during a news conference in Anchorage. (Screenshot)
Opinion: As a father and a grandfather, I believe the governor’s proposed laws are anti-family

Now, the discrimination sword is pointing to our gay and transgender friends and families.

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President Nathan Erfurth works in his office on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Now is the time to invest in Kenai Peninsula students

Parents, educators and community members addressed the potential budget cuts with a clear message.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: An accurate portrayal of parental rights isn’t controversial

Affirming and defining parental rights is a matter of respect for the relationship between parent and child

Opinion: When the state values bigotry over the lives of queer kids

It has been a long, difficult week for queer and trans Alaskans like me.

Dr. Sarah Spencer. (Photo by Maureen Todd and courtesy of Dr. Sarah Spencer)
Voices of the Peninsula: Let’s bring opioid addiction treatment to the Alaskans who need it most

This incredibly effective and safe medication has the potential to dramatically increase access to treatment

Unsplash / Louis Velazquez
Opinion: Fish, family and freedom… from Big Oil

“Ultimate investment in the status quo” is not what I voted for.

An orphaned moose calf reared by the author is seen in 1970. (Stephen F. Stringham/courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: Maximizing moose productivity on the Kenai Peninsula

Maximum isn’t necessarily optimum, as cattle ranchers learned long ago.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The time has come to stop Eastman’s willful and wanton damage

God in the Bible makes it clear that we are to care for the vulnerable among us.

Caribou graze on the greening tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska in June, 2001. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: AIDEA’s $20 million-and-growing investment looks like a bad bet

Not producing in ANWR could probably generate a lot of money for Alaska.

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: King salmon closures long overdue

Returns have progressively gone downhill since the early run was closed in June 2012

(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Fixing legislative salaries and per diem

The state Senate was right to unanimously reject giving a 20% pay… Continue reading