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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 30, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Religion: Scientology, donations to charity and Christian coverage

Scientology story didn’t give faith, its leaders a fair chance

The Seattle Times recently printed a story about my church that originally was published in The St. Petersburg Times [“Report: Violence common among Scientology managers,”, Nation & World, June 21]. The story lays bare the bias that newspaper has against my faith, and with only a few quotes from Church of Scientology representatives, it didn’t even vaguely give the appearance of a balanced report. It was a disappointment that The Seattle Times republished this biased story.

The article uncritically accepts as truth statements from a handful of former church staff without ever addressing their lack of credibility, their underlying motivations and the voluminous evidence proving their stories were false. These individuals lost their positions of authority within the church for incompetence and for serious misconduct. The sources named in the article plainly targeted the man who removed them, David Miscavige.

Seattle Times readers should be aware that Miscavige had agreed and made arrangements to be interviewed in Clearwater, Fla., in early July. The article was rushed to press without hearing from Miscavige, much less the dozen other church executives who traveled to Clearwater specifically to talk to reporters.

The portrayal of Miscavige is completely contrary to his true personality and is belied by the respect and admiration he has earned from millions of Scientologists worldwide for his leadership. We’ve witnessed unprecedented growth under his stewardship and fully expect more expansion in the years to come.

— Rev. Ann Pearce, Seattle, Church of Scientology of Washington State

Wealthy may donate but hate paying taxes for social services

David Sirota’s syndicated column, “An uphill health-care battle against the 1-percenters and their allies,” is so very timely [Opinion, July 27].

I am a pastor in an affluent Seattle suburb, though my parish is comprised of the economic extremes. We are active in homeless programs, including hosting migrant tent cities.

While my parishioners are generally indulgent of the clear social responsibility Gospel preached around here, I confess that even after 22 years in this parish, it feels lonely when it comes to encouraging the wealthy to view self tax as an opportunity to be in community.

The wealthy will write a $10,000 check because they are asked, but if I encourage them to consider the same as a tax, I might as well as ask them to come to sit in church in their underwear (I would not enjoy that either).

— Thomas Kidd, Bellevue

Too much Christianity, front and center, in The Times

All right, enough is enough. I sat idly by after the feature photo of the Mars Hill Church baptisms [“Spiritual plunge,” NWThursday, July 16] which, incidentally, showed up as the featured article on your Web site the whole day, but the page-one article on the Christian rock festival at the Gorge is truly the last straw [“‘Music and a message,'” July 24].

What is rotten at The Seattle Times? Has the Christian coalition paid you that much to keep their faith front-and-center? Please remember the diversity of your readers and the fact that not everybody in this country is a Christian.

In fact, to read such blatant advertising toward that faith is truly discriminating and exclusionary. How do you think I feel, a non-Christian, having to read so many articles geared toward a faith I don’t follow or subscribe to? And where in your fair and balanced reporting are the articles on other faiths?

And why are Christian articles deemed front-page news? I notice the article on the atheist summer camp [“Kids’ camp for nonbelievers,” News, July 20] was relegated to the middle of the B section. Articles on Muslims are in the middle of A section at best. Do those groups not deserve their chance in the sun?

Just remember, the Christians don’t need any help advertising their religion. They do a fine job of that themselves. And also remember, if your readers want current Christian news there are plenty of media outlets already catering to them and their beliefs.

— Laura Morzov, Shoreline

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