I thought this was a good message especially in this time of divided politics, divided churches, and divided neighborhoods. Some things are just not funny, or helpful.
October 30, 2008
PC(USA) stated clerk denounces effigies depicting political candidates
by Evan Silverstein
Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has issued a statement condemning the hanging of effigies of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
The Rev. Gradye Parsons
Earlier this week, an effigy of Palin with a noose around its neck was hung at a home in West Hollywood, CA, as part of a Halloween display. Meanwhile, Obama effigies turned up Wednesday (Oct. 29) at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and outside a home in southern Indiana.
“A threatening symbolic attack on any candidate stands out as a grotesque throwback to a time when such brutality could be threatened with impunity,” Parsons said in his Oct. 30 statement.
University of Kentucky and Lexington police were trying to determine who hung the mannequin lookalike of Obama from a tree on campus, and the U.S. Secret Service has been notified.
In Clarksville, IN, Kirk Deddo said that he strung an inflatable doll made to look like Obama from a tree on his front lawn to express his opposition to the Illinois senator’s presidential candidacy, and that the act was not racially motivated, according to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.
Clark County (IN) Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said after making a brief legal search that the effigy “does not appear to be in violation of any Indiana criminal statute,” the newspaper reported.
News of the effigies came a few weeks after an Obama doll was found dangling from a tree at George Fox University. Officials at the small Christian college in Newberg, OR, announced this week that it would punish four students who admitted to being responsible for the incident.
The FBI and police in Los Angeles said they aren’t treating the Palin effigy as a hate crime because it was part of a Halloween display.
The full text of Parsons’ statement:
We share with countless others a particular sadness that effigies of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin have been found with nooses around their necks. A threatening symbolic attack on any candidate stands out as a grotesque throwback to a time when such brutality could be threatened with impunity. We appreciate the efforts of others to denounce this offense and reaffirm the effective ideals which govern our civil society.
On the eve of a popular “scary” holiday, however, we also encourage all citizens to “take the noose out of Halloween,” as the display of hung figures can engender a moral numbness to actual tragedy and dishonor. While for some the noose is a painful reminder of the contemporary incidence of suicide, its associations with racial injustice and vigilante mobs remain too strong to ignore.
One of our Church’s statements of faith, the Confession of 1967, affirms that God “breaks down every form of discrimination based on racial or ethnic difference, real or imaginary. … Therefore the church labors for the abolition of all racial discrimination and ministers to those injured by it.” Whichever way our national presidential election may go, we encourage all citizens to respond to the “better angels of our nature” in repudiating such threatening gestures.