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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 16, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Leonard Pitts’ column on religion

A slap in the face

Leonard Pitts Jr. has delivered a slap in the face to organized religion [“Religion on the defensive,” syndicated column, March 15]. He has equated all religion to TV-preacher scandals and terrorists. He cites the “sheer absurdity, ungodly hypocrisy that have characterized so much ‘religion’ in the past 30 years” as having driven people away. Isn’t this exactly the picture of religion that captures the headlines and sells papers?

Pitts seems to endorse a personal religion: his own. Organized religion and parachurch organizations do more to feed the poor, minister to those in prison, care for orphans, mentor inner-city youth at risk, promote financial independence in Third World countries — the list goes on. And do you know what makes all this possible? Organization, and motivation (i.e., religion). In contrast, a religion of one makes it’s own god and is incapable of doing any of the above and is, in a word, impotent. This is the religion that Pitts would prefer in the world.

So as a person of faith, how do I answer Pitts’ demonization of organized religion and answer to the “endless cycle” of scandal? I answer: The Church, like any institution, is not perfect. It is full of people who may or may not have an authentic relationship with the living God. In all people there remains the original core of sin, prone to hypocrisy, envy, lust, etc.

Government is not perfect, should we choose anarchy instead? Hospitals are not perfect, should we close them all down? The Church is not perfect, but it is God’s chosen instrument to proclaim His message of grace and restoration to the world. Even though the media is often eager to portray the Church as “ugly,” with the grace of God it will continue in it’s mission to be Jesus to the world, the best it can, with the imperfect people it has.

— Kevin C. Malone, Maple Valley

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