Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Let Us Not Lose Heart

I appreciate those who made the effort to call WBAI in New York City urging the station to share Shane Watson's story. At this writing there has been zero response from WBAI. This is very disappointing and further evidence of my perception of so-called "progressive-minded" organizations. When FOX News and right-wing radio/television entities spew their venom it is only natural to feel sickened by this kind of blatant ignorance and arrogance. In some ways, being ignored by WBAI (and to be fair, other media outlets I've tried to engage many times) is equally sickening and disappointing. FOX and its ilk have no pretense regarding their biased propaganda. WBAI, on the other hand, enjoys projecting an image of being the anti-FOX network, preaching about diversity, being a voice for the voiceless, being "free-speech radio" and other lofty claims. Yet WBAI to this point has not even extended the courtesy of a reply in ANY form to our calls and emails regarding someone who is truly "voiceless". Obviously, the so-called right-wing media does not have a monopoly on indifference.

Despite this, I ask that followers of Shane's case continue to reach out in any way to media, writers, newspapers, denominational publications, etc. On that note, another disappointment has been the UCC's (United Church of Christ) "Justice & Witness Ministries" office in Cleveland, Ohio, which advertises thus on its website
"In the United Church of Christ, we do justice. We started in the 60's with the Civil Right movement. We've been advocating for gay rights since the 70's. We took on environmental racism in the 80's. And in 2005, we were the first church in America to endorse marriage equality. We're doing justice. Join us."
I contacted this office five years ago and spoke to someone at length about Shane's case. Interestingly, the individual I spoke with happened to have grown up in the Bronx, NY and knew that neighborhood where Shane lived very well. Claiming to be "interested", the end result of our repeated correspondence was a blurb in a UCC publication about The Opus 30 Mission. Beyond that, nothing: no follow-up, no effort to assist in any way. This despite my personal connection with a UCC church in Monroe, CT, for starters.

Shane's most recent letter was typically upbeat and hopeful. He recounted incidents from the motion hearings and remains encouraged by the impending appeal. On the back of the envelope, as usual Shane wrote a scripture quotation, this time Galatians 6:9: "Let us not lose heart doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

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