A Response From @theIRD


The Institute on Religion & Democracy has broken their silence on the Newtown massacre.  Though, being generously fair, they responded on the night of the 14th.

In an article posted on their blog – Juicy Ecumenism – Jeffery Walton reports the actions of the Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, in the wake of the tragedy.  In summary, Gary Hall (the Dean) has pledged that his parish would be a major player as the debate over gun control is waged.  Other than an off-hand remark about how the church is struggling financially (typically, a “dog whistle” to conservatives), it was just a straight report.

Shortly after I saw this article, I got a Twitter mention from @theIRD.  They mentioned how the tragedy was very tragic and how they had come out with a statement on Friday.  Here is the evidence:

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 2.16.54 PM


The staffer’s tweet came at 11:30 pm the night of the massacre.

To sum up, there was Tweet on the night of – from a staffer, and not the official Twitter feed.  Then, 5 days later, we have the report about what the Washington National Cathedral is doing – seemingly attempting to call them out for their desire to gain some sort of notoriety for their cause and parish.

I’d make some quip about a pot and a kettle, but it’s not worth it.

18 comments on “A Response From @theIRD

  1. Mark
    December 20, 2012 at 4:38 PM #

    Seems to me your preconceived notions about the IRD evoked your tempest in a teapot. Was the IRD supposed to respond almost immediately, before most of the facts were known? Have you placed yourself in charge of detemining the appropriate time frame in which they are supposed to render an opinon? This seems rather petty.

    Moving to more substantive matters, what is your response to Rev Hall, who appears to ignore factors besides gun control that may have led to this horrific tragedy? What about mental health issues, Hollywood violence, family dysfunction, spiritual poverty, etc.?

    • Chris Tiedeman
      December 20, 2012 at 5:22 PM #

      First, sometimes preconceived notions are just good common sense.

      To be certain, I’ve not said anything ’til today. Officially, neither did the IRD. In these situations, the IRD has not taken it’s time in getting some kind of statement on the record. Typically, it is a view that is no different than any other neo-conservative pablum being pushed on a popular cable news channel. That is unassailable.

      As a United Methodist, I was keeping someone honest.

      As to your other points, no one is saying that gun control is the only answer. Without a doubt, gun control has yet to be tried and proves effective in every other place on earth. I believe, as a pastor, that there is a spiritual problem with someone who desires to do nothing about an issue such as guns.

  2. Mark
    December 20, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

    Chris, I am, at least for the time being, also a United Methodist (if you are concerned about political “pablum” then take a look at the General Board of Church and Society’s parade of leftist proclamations).

    Neither I, nor, I suspect, the IRD are opposed to common sense gun control legislation.

    But we must deal with facts and reality. There was an assault weapon ban in place for 10 yrs which appeared to have little effect (which casts doubt on your assertion). Many of these horrific slaughters have occurred in so-called “gun-free” zones and in areas where there are very restrictive gun control laws.

    I’m not saying we should not have tighter restrictions, particularly regarding mentally disturbed individuals and things like magazine capacity, but there are factors that are probably more important than gun control legislation, such as those I previously mentioned. Yet, I have seen little mention of them by liberal politicians and the media. They certainly ACT as if they think gun legislation is the main, if not the only, answer.

    If you want intelligent, sincere and informed people to take your criticism of the IRD seriously then let me offer some advice: entertain the possibility that many of the IRD’s positions are grounded in sincere devotion to historic Christianity. Additionally, focus on substantive rather than surface issues. Last but not least, consider the probability the the gospel does not mainly require governmental edicts to achieve its purposes.

    • Chris Tiedeman
      December 20, 2012 at 8:06 PM #

      I would like to point out to my readers that this comment represents nearly every talking point that Sean Hannity and other talk radio types have been using to deflect from their untenable positions since this unthinkable massacre.

      Feel free to engage. You will go round and round with no discernible end or progress having been made.

      Good day to you, Mark.

  3. ejoelwatts
    December 20, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

    Chris, it would appear that Mark does not think that any on the Christian Left are “sincere and informed people” nor is our faith rooted in historical Christianity.

    • Mark
      December 20, 2012 at 9:55 PM #

      Why not deal with my actual arguments rather than offer oblique personal criticisms and straw man arguments?

      • ejoelwatts
        December 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM #

        Mark, I have a general rule of not engaging those who do not seek to actually engage. If I may, perhaps you could see it my way for a moment. You are clearly an IRD fan, having left a trial of comments and defenses across the internet coming to their aid. No doubt, things are different in Pine Mountain, Georgia, but in the real world, we would call this talking to a brick wall.

        The IRD failed to actually respond, because like the NRA, they are cowards when it comes to pressing issues. If they cannot find a way to blame it on gays, then they will keep quiet.

        To argue that the assault weapon’s ban did not help is to suggest that anecdotal evidence is the best method. Since such instances went down, but not completely, I would still suggest that it did help. But, this is not the only way to fix the problem. We have to look at mental health issues as well.

        As far as gun-free zones, this is a ploy with nothing meaningful behind it, except for added jail time. There is, in fact, no such thing as strict gun laws in this country. Period.

        Beyond that, I would argue that what we need is a public gun safety policy meant to remove guns from criminals and those who simply do not need to have them.

        Of course, none of this is really a religious issue – but the murder of children is as is the sacrificing of the mentally ill in order to preserve low tax rates for millionaires and more wars in the hopes of bringing Jesus back.

  4. Mark
    December 20, 2012 at 10:50 PM #

    Mr. Watts, or whatever your name is, you demonstrate that you have little objectivity when it comes to the IRD, Pine Mountain, Georgia (by the way, how did you know that? and, in you self-styled enlightened view, where might I get a better view of the “real world?”), or much else that you have thus far discussed.

    Saying the the IRD are “cowards” when it comes to pressing issues demonstrates virulent ignorance. They receive all sorts of criticism from angry leftists on a number of issues which they are willing to step up and take a stand on. And, speaking from personal experience, they engage arguments in a much more intelligent and civil fashion than the poltical arm of our own denomination, which often responds to criticisms in petty, defensive, and ignorant ways.

    I argue that the assault ban did not help (much) because statistics and academic studies, not just anecdotal evidence, lead to that conclusion. The ban may have been more effective had some of the loopholes been closed. I do not oppose tighter restrictions on assault weapons, but the restrictions must be effective, and they must be implemented in conjunction with other factors which the political left seems unwilling to address nearly as much: mental health, Hollywood violence, familial dysfunction, etc. It doesn’t fit their main narrative, their one-trick pony, which is gun legislation.

    To argue that “what we need is a public gun safety policy meant to remove guns from criminals and those who simply do not need to have them” is to argue the obvious. The problem is how to do it.

    • ejoelwatts
      December 20, 2012 at 10:54 PM #

      Did I mentioned enlightened? Self-styled? Um… I do believe you are projecting.

      Your comment is an odd mixture of ad hom,anecdotal evidence and a clear demonstration that you – ironically – did not read what I wrote clearly enough.

      Oh, and Dr. Smith, I know a great deal.

      • Mark
        December 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM #

        You know a great deal? Do tell. The evidence thus far points to the contrary.

      • Chris Tiedeman
        December 20, 2012 at 11:42 PM #

        As I said, the conclusions drawn from that evidence would be inconclusive. That’s what I know.

        I inferred that evidence from many other places than the the United States points to common sense gun-control appears to be the common thread between countries that experience dramatically less gun-related violence.

        That is what we all can know.

      • Chris Tiedeman
        December 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM #

        And anecdotal. Don’t forget anecdotal.

    • Chris Tiedeman
      December 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM #

      I would argue that any statistical evidence is incomplete. The ATF is – by law – not allowed to release it’s information on guns and gun violence related statistics. I’m not sure why congress doesn’t allow these statistics to be released. I am sure that any conclusions drawn from the body of evidence we have now would be inconclusive.

      We can see from statistics around the developed world that gun-control measures show promise in preventing violence on par with what we experience in this country.

  5. Mark
    December 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM #

    You may want to read this to get a broader perspective on this issue: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-roots-of-mass-murder/2012/12/20/e4d99594-4ae3-11e2-b709-667035ff9029_story.html

    • Chris Tiedeman
      December 21, 2012 at 12:02 AM #

      While his point about the criminally insane lines up with everything I’ve said – when it comes to a “total solution” – he makes the case for current laws not being strict enough when he talks about the “grandfathering” of the current assault weaponry in circulation.

      Besides, he works for FOX News. This puts into question the credibility of the entire piece.

      • Chris Tiedeman
        December 21, 2012 at 12:06 AM #

        Lest we forget, the number of deaths each day in this country – from gun violence – equals more than the lives that were taken in Newtown. The problem is bigger than gun-control opponents are willing to admit. To admit that would show the inadequacy of their proposed solutions.

      • Mark
        December 21, 2012 at 7:49 AM #

        So, if you don’t like the source you disregard the argument? What sources do you consult?

      • Chris Tiedeman
        December 21, 2012 at 9:37 AM #

        Not ones that are proved to have twisted, withheld or skewed facts to fit their political ends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: