Would-be Kerry Voter Excommunicator Resigns
In a follow-up to yesterday's post, Rev. Chan Chandler has resigned his post as pastor of his church after the allegations that he tried to run Kerry supporters out of his congregation.
Yahoo News excerpt:
WAYNESVILLE, N.C. - A Baptist pastor accused of threatening to banish from his church anyone who didn't vote for President Bush has chosen to depart, saying he spoke out on candidates' stances but did not make political endorsements.
The Rev. Chan Chandler, 33, walked out of the East Waynesville Baptist Church, which he had led for three years, after delivering a brief statement of resignation Tuesday night. With him went many of the young congregants he had attracted to the modest brick church on the outskirts of this small mountain town in western North Carolina.
In an interview with a church publication Tuesday, Chandler denied endorsing any candidate from the pulpit, as critics had charged. "I don't know how these folks voted," he told Baptist Press, a Nashville, Tenn.-based media arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. "And I never endorsed any candidate."
But he acknowledged citing from the pulpit what he believes are the "unbiblical values" of some political hopefuls. "But those were negative endorsements never a positive endorsement" of any candidate, he said.
Excuse me, but isn't a negative endorsement for one candidate a positive one for their opponent in a two-person race? Let's see how the weasel tries to explain himself, but only ends up digging himself a deeper hole:
Chandler admitted in the interview that he cited Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's views on abortion and homosexuality in one sermon. He said he also mentioned two Republicans whose views he said were out of step with the Bible. He was not more specific, and stressed that his sermons were issue-oriented and not based on party affiliation. "This never has been about politics," Chandler said. "It's always been about whether the Bible applies to the entire life of a Christian."
Some church members had said that they were told to leave if they voted for Kerry.
Gee, that sounds not only like he took a firm position, but that he made it an ultimatum to his parish. Way to go Mr. Complete Lack Of Subtlety Guy, you're a Real American Hero...
"For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family," Chandler said to the church members. "I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family."
Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050511/ap_on_re_us/church_politics
Translation: The people who really run things behind the scenes of this church got scared when they saw the beating they were taking in the press and threw Chandler under the bus. Why else would a man of such "strong convictions" surrender as easily as Harry Reid? Maybe the church trustees realized that their precious tax-exempt status would be in jeopardy if this buffoon had been permitted to stay. But wait, there's more:
Maxine Osborne, 70, and among those who stayed behind, had a different view of what had transpired. "A lot of these young people had not been in the church more than a year," she said. The Chandlers "brought in a lot of young people, but they also brainwashed them."
Tensions had escalated last week, when several members said Chandler called a meeting of the church's board of deacons and declared his intention for East Waynesville to become a politically active church. Anyone who did not like that direction was free to leave, Chandler said a statement that caused nine members to walk out.
Many of those who opposed Chandler's leadership said they agreed with the pastor's positions on abortion and other topics, but disliked linking those beliefs to specific political positions and candidates.
"If we wanted politics, we would stay home and watch it 24 hours a day on TV," said Charles Gaddy, 70. "I like Chan. He can preach a good sermon. I just wish he would keep some things out of the church."
Amen to that last line. Additional thanks go to Senior Correspondents Em Jeigh and Ken Kanniff. Your help in pointing this story my way, and your analysis is greatly appreciated.
Stray Pilot Causes Mass Evacuation In D.C.
The headline says it all. Yahoo News excerpt:
WASHINGTON - A small plane strayed within three miles of the White House on Wednesday, leading to frantic evacuation of the Executive Mansion and the Capitol with military jets scrambling to intercept the aircraft and firing flares to steer it away. A pilot and student pilot, en route from Pennsylvania to an air show in North Carolina, were taken into custody after their flight sparked a frenzy of activity that tested the capital's post-Sept. 11 response system.
The government decided not to press charges after interviewing the men and determining the incident was an accident. "They were navigating by sight and were lost," said Justice Department spokesman Kevin Madden.
Officials had been concerned because the plane appeared to be "on a straight-in shot toward the center of the Washington area," said Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer.
The White House raised its threat level to red the highest for eight minutes, said spokesman Scott McClellan. scare as it was occurring. His security detail knew of the raised threat level. At the Capitol, lawmakers, tourists and reporters raced out of the building, dodging the speeding motorcades of Latin American leaders who had been meeting with members of Congress. At the Supreme Court, guards told some people to leave the building while others were shepherded into the underground parking garage. At Treasury, an announcement on the loudspeaker advised employees to move to a shelter.
The Defense and State departments were exceptions, with neither evacuated. City government buildings also weren't evacuated. Mayor Anthony Williams complained that city officials weren't told about the threat until the all-clear was sounded. "Critical and potentially life-or-death information about threats facing district residents needs to be shared immediately not five, 10 or 15 minutes after the fact," Williams said.
The incident began at 11:28 a.m., when Federal Aviation Administration radar picked up the aircraft, a small two-seater Cessna 152 with high wings. Gainer said the first alert went out when the plane was 21 miles 17 minutes from the city. One Black Hawk helicopter and one Citation jet were dispatched at 11:47 a.m. from Reagan National Airport. Two F-16 jet fighters, scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base, fired four warning flares when the Cessna's pilot did not respond to radio calls.
"If he wouldn't have responded, intentionally or not, he could have been shot down," said Master Sgt. John Tomassi of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo. The plane then turned to the west and the warplanes escorted it to the airport in Frederick, Md., where the men aboard were taken into custody and questioned by Secret Service, FBI and local authorities.
Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050512/ap_on_go_pr_wh/capital_alert
I purposely waited a while before attempting to tackle this, because things could have turned extremely ugly in so many ways. Some people with whom I work expressed dismay that this craft was not shot down once it had breached the airspace above the city, but I'd like to think that the pursuing pilots had sufficient training to determine that this plane wasn't a threat. We will probably hear and see more information about this in the coming days, but for now we should be happy that things didn't get nasty.
Red Sox Sweep Athletics. More 9th Inning Dramatics.
The Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics for the second straight day with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Yesterday's hero was Kevin Millar whose homer gave the Sox a 3-2 victory. Today it was Jason Varitek who provided the last-minute heroics in the Sox 6-5 victory.
Today's victory was a strange one because, nursing a 4-1 lead in top of the ninth, Sox closer Keith Foulke surrendered four runs and the lead to inadvertantly set the stage for Varitek's dramatic shot. Yesterday, the Sox simply couldn't score until late.
Lost in the mix was the fact that two excellent pitching performances went into the books as no decisions for starters Bronson "Don't Call Me Brandon" Arroyo and Matt Clement. Both guys combined for 14 innings and two runs allowed.
Keith Foulke has been erratic thus far and must straighten things out because it seems extremely unlikely that we can continue to depend on somebody slugging a late homer every game to save the day.
On the plus side, Manny Ramirez hit a homer today, showing no ill effects from his beaning Monday night. Kevin Millar hit homers Monday and Tuesday and seems to be getting hot. Johnny Damon remains red hot and now has a 17-game hitting streak. The team travels to Seatlle next for a weekend series against the Mariners who got crushed by the damned Yankees and the red-hot Tino Martinez (homers in five straight games--all Yankee wins). And who plays the Yanks next? The stumbling A's. But let's not forget the AL East-leading Orioles who beat the Twins today. It looks like we may have a three-team race now that the Yankees are waking up...