Houston U*U Rev. Matt Tittle Tilts At "Giant Crosses" In *The Lone Star State* ;-)
Just as Rev. Ray Drennan tried to mask his thinly veiled anti-Christian and anti-Catholic attack on Pierre Elliot Trudeau's Roman Catholic state funeral by wrapping his offensive diatribe in the politically correct mantle of religious diversity Rev. Matt Tittle says, "Perhaps we should start with erecting 150-foot Buddhas, Stars of David, Ganeshas, Stars and Cresents, Flaming Chalices, Pentacles and so on, so that we can also "mark" the city for Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Unitarian Universalism, and Paganism... I could think of many others. We are all here in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, religiously and otherwise. Shouldn't we equally honor all of our most sacred traditions?"
And this is where Rev. Matt Tittle's lame argument that Pastor Steve Riggle is "erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths" falls flat on its face, because Pastor Riggle is doing no such thing. What Pastor Steve Riggle is proposing is building 150 foot Christian crosses on his own church property, and presumably other church owned or church leased land. As Rev. Tittle's anti-Christian "rant" says -
Riggle is starting with plans for crosses at Grace's south and north campuses, and he plans eventually to "surround the city."
Rev. Tittle's disingenuous suggestion that Pastor Riggle is "erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths" is repeated and reinforced when he says, "We are not an exclusively Christian city or nation." So just what is stopping Houston Buddhists from building "150-foot Buddhas" Rev. Tittle? What is stopping Houston Jews from building 150-foot Stars of David? Or Houston Hindus from building a 150-foot Ganesha or Shiva Nataraj statue? Or Houston Muslims from building 150-foot Stars and Crescents, to say nothing of 150-foot or higher minarets to call Houston Muslims to prayer? Indeed what is stopping Unitarian*Universalists, Houston U*Us or otherwise, from building 150-foot Flaming Chalices or Houston pagans, U*U pagans or otherwise, building 150-foot Pentacles and so on? Nothing as far as I can see Rev. Tittle. . . I think it's that thing called "freedom of religious expression", only you apparently believe that Christians, or at least Evangelical Christians, should not be allowed the freedom to build 150-foot crosses in and around oh so "diverse" Houston. Right Rev. Tittle? So, when it gets right down to it. . . your assertion that Pastor Steve Riggle is "erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths" is itself quite *ridiculous* to say nothing of just plain dishonest.
You know what Rev. Tittle? I bet you wouldn't have said boo if Houston Buddhists had announced plans to build a 150-foot Buddha on the "campus" of one of Houston's Buddhist temples. Am I wrong? If a Houston area synagogue had proposed building a 150-foot Star of David or a "giant menorah" to celebrate Houston's Jewish community you would not only not have complained about it on your blog but would have expected an invitation to its public unveiling ceremony. If Houston area pagans wanted to display a 150-foot Pentacle right next to a Christmas chreche scene in front of Houston City Hall you would no doubt be ardently defending their right to do so.
And so on. . .
Sorry, Rev. Tittle, your "rant" is not really about affirming and promoting religious diversity in Houston. Au contraire, it's all about minimizing or reducing Christian visibility in and around Houston. You are entitled to express your doubts that Pastor Steve Riggle's project of "marking" Houston for God with giant crosses is going to solve any of your city's, your nation's, or indeed the world's social ills but who is to say that a quite literally higher visibility for Christianity in Houston might not have some positive impact on Houston society or indeed on American society? You are also entitled to your oh so U*U doubt that Pastor Riggle's "marking" of Houston with crosses will put your city or nation in God's favor, but who is to say that your all too (stereo)typical U*U doubt is not somewhat misplaced? The only way to oh so scientifically determine just how much impact Pastor Steve Riggle's giant crosses will have on Houston society, or indeed Texas and American society, is to allow him to build his crosses and see what, if anything, happens as a result of his project.
Rev. Tittle throws "God's words", as transmitted by the prophet Amos, at Pastor Riggle:
I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. (Amos 5:21-24).
but he apparently doesn't stop to consider how these very words attributed to God might just as readily, and perhaps even more justifiably. . . be applied to the dubious offerings of fattened U*U clergy, the noise of U*U songs from which the word God has been expunged, and his own and other U*U harping about Christianity in the U.S.A. . .
Rev. Matt Tittle then not so melodiously harps on the cost of Pastor Riggle's project and estimates that it might be as much $1 million per cross. He says, "I can think of a whole lot of things to do with a million bucks. Perhaps we should start with justice and righteousness...I find nether in giant crosses." Was that "nether" just a typo or a Freudian slip Rev. Tittle? Well can't we all find a whole lot of things to do with a million bucks? Are U*U "churches" immune from what many would perceive as wasteful spending? But who, other than Rev. Tittle of course. . . says that Pastor Riggle's 150-foot crosses will cost a million dollars each anyway? And who says they might not eventually turn a profit even if they did? It seems to me that such crosses might cost considerably less than $1,000,000 each and, if Pastor Steve Riggle was astute enough to some allow telecommunications companies to place some antennae in the upper part of these crosses, they might even eventually bring in some revenue to Grace Church.
It seems to me that Pastor Riggle's giant crosses can be seen as a form of advertising for Christianity, and not just for Pastor Steve Riggle's Grace Church but all Christian churches and Christianity more generally. Didn't the UUA just spend well over a million dollars on its national marketing campaign that consisted of placing print media ads in TIME magazine, as well as some other forms of publicity such as Google AdWords? Surely that money could have been spent on "a whole lot of things" other than shilling the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism to the American public. Didn't the UUA recently spend well over a million dollars trying to establish a U*U "mega-church" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of the *Lone Star State*? The last time I checked. . . The UUA "start-up" Pathways Unitarian*Universalist Church in Southlake had a whopping 94 adult members and 56 kids enrolled in what passes for Sunday school in the U*U World. So much for that million dollar, if not multi-million dollar. . . U*U fiasco.
Didn't the UUA run an advertising campaign in Texas aka The Lone Star State that ran from January to mid-April 2005? So what was the result of that local or regional UUA advertising campaign? Well, according to a certain Rev. Matt Tittle. . . "The biggest effect of the Houston campaign was that the ads gave our members talking points." Woo hoo! So just how many dollars did the UUA spend in Texas so that existing U*Us in Houston could have some "talking points"? Rev. Tittle goes on to say, "The campaign created some excitement about Unitarian Universalism and their church. When their neighbors and coworkers got our postcards in the mail it gave our members an opportunity to share their religion. It got us more out of the closet." Amazing! The Houston area advertising campaign "created some excitement" amongst existing U*Us and helped them to do some recruiting amongst their "their neighbors and coworkers." I can just imagine how the CEO of a major corporation would look if he announced at a shareholders meeting that the "biggest effect" of a major advertising campaign was to provide "talking points" to existing customers. . . It seems to me that the UUA, to say nothing of some individual U*U churches and a few UUA districts, have flushed several million dollars that might have been better spent on "a whole lot of things", including some "justice and righteousness". . . down the proverbial toilet.
Rev. Matt Tittle concludes his "rant" by saying, "Christianity is not about giant crosses. Faith is not about building icons and idols. It is about building the beloved community. My beloved community does not require a fortress of crosses. It requires faith, hope, and love...these three...I can do this without giant crosses on the highway."
That's funny, apparently Rev. Matt Tittle's "beloved community" aka the Uncommonly Hypocritical Denomination does require spending multiple millions of dollars on national or regional advertising campaigns. As far as "faith, hope, and love" go. . . I and plenty of other people, no doubt including other people sucked in by the UUA's false advertising campaigns or other highly misleading or outright fraudulent U*U propaganda, have seen precious little of all three of these things in the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism.