Archive for December, 2011

Hate Speech?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Thankfully, complaints addressed to our parish are few and far between. I did, however, receive two irate phone messages over the Christmas weekend, possibly from the same family.

The man and the woman each complained about the bells we played after the midnight mass on Christmas Eve; they said the bells waked them up as well as children who were staying with them.

I can understand the complaints; we stopped playing the daily bells at 9 AM so as not to disturb people who work night shifts, and I can imagine some people might be annoyed at being waked up. However, we do this only once a year, and few people work on Christmas Day, so the annoyance should be manageable. Outside noise from construction and traffic in the middle of the night is not exactly unknown in this busy neighborhood.

Most unusually, in his message, the man referred to “#@*&! Christians” while the woman said she “hated” our church and would never attend there. I wonder if they would have used these terms about a synagogue or a mosque. In any event, I had no way to respond or express sympathy, since the messages were anonymous. —J. Douglas Ousley

Quoted in the NY Times

Monday, December 19th, 2011

I achieved a tiny measure of fame/notoriety over the weekend by being quoted in the Times. I referred to Trinity Church’s accommodation of “the marginal group of protestors” of Occupy Wall Street.

The word, “marginal” seems what is most likely to get me in trouble. The issue for church people: does this movement express the prophetic Gospel and speak truth to power or is it merely the media inflation of a ragtag collection of malcontents and publicity seekers?

As I have said before, there are many bad guys in the financial industry who have gotten away with high crimes and who should be punished. OWS, however, seems to have done little to bring them to justice. —J. Douglas Ousley