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

Soldotna

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