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For Protesting Ban on Intelligent Design, Does a United Methodist Bishop Think We’re “Bastards”?

Donald McLaughlin


Take action now: Contact United Methodist officials and urge them to overturn their ban on Discovery Institute.

Regular readers of Evolution News are likely aware that the United Methodist Church has banned Discovery Institute and intelligent design from the church’s upcoming General Conference. Last week, John West reported here on a response from Bishop Michael Coyner of Indiana to the many emails he, among other UMC officials, had received from the public, protesting the ban.

That was bad enough. Now Coyner, who happens to be my Bishop, goes further. He is pleased to brush off protestors, including me, as “bastards.”

That is how he reacted to a comment on his Facebook page where he posted his “E-pistle” about how he was being “spammed” with “angry messages from people I do not know” and would reply by hitting “my Delete button.” A local pastor, Rev. David Schrader of Grace United Methodist Church in South Bend, commented with a mock Latin phrase, “Illegitimi non carborundum.” For those not familiar with it, the phrase roughly translates as, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” The Bishop’s own comment on Rev. Schrader comment was a big smiley face, indicating his approval.

Let’s get this straight. In a public place, one pastor scorns as “bastards” those who contacted the Bishop in good faith. To this vulgar insult, the Bishop responds with a warm endorsement. A Bishop, my Bishop, evidently agrees that those who wrote to him in all sincerity, hoping he would take them seriously and at least make some inquiries, are just “bastards” worthy of curt dismissal.

This is the same Bishop who, as Dr. West reported, complained about how his inbox was filling up with complaints about the ID ban, who went on in his E-pistle to defend the ban and spread inaccurate information about it, and who ended by admonishing his correspondents to follow James 1:19: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and even slower to get angry.”

I must say I find all this quite disappointing. I have contacted Bishop Coyner in the past about different issues, and for the most part he has answered me in a fairly timely manner. This time around, however, he hasn’t answered at all, other than with the belittling E-pistle and the smiley face appended to Rev. Schrader comment. Such responses are unworthy of a Bishop.

Image credit: Amandajm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Donald McLaughlin

Donald McLaughlin joined Discovery Institute in August 2013 as a Development Officer and Regional Representative in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions. Donald is currently on staff with Ratio Christi as Senior Director of Advancement as well as Chapter Director for Indiana University – South Bend. 



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