A couple of days ago the United Methodist News Services has a press release about the UMC's denial . . . not ban . . . of letting the Discovery Institute sponsor a table at their General Conference. Since they denied the DI, the DI has been going bat-shit crazy with blog posts, press releases, and polls all designed to try and make the UMC change it's mind. That's the only way to describe it, bat-shit crazy. Seriously the only other topic that they have been so vehement about was the Dover Trial, and they spent 10 years whining about that. This has all been over the past several weeks. The sheer volume of the whining, crying, and pleas for people to contact the UMC and do the DI's whining for them has been staggering. But the UMC has stuck to their guns on this and the DI is still not getting a table. In a nutshell, their reasoning is simple:
" . . . the group [the DI] was not in line with the church’s social teachings"That should be the end of it. But you know the DI, they cannot handle anyone saying anything other than positive things about them and their pet version of Creationism. One of my questions is who is the one who gets to decide if a applicant for exhibitor is in line with the church's social teachings? I have to leave that ball in the church's court. The DI certainly isn't the one to make that decision, even if they are doing all they can to take over as the church's social conscience.
The article also explained the purpose of the exhibitor program,
". . . to acquaint people at the event “with products, services and resources that aid in local church ministries.”"Now, if I were the DI I would try and explain how having a table at the conference would aid local church ministries. But that makes sense to me. But did the DI try that route? Of course not, because they know their mission is in opposition to the Church . . . which is why, I think, they want a table. They wanted another opportunity for press coverage, something the DI is a master of, certainly not performing anything related to science.
John West responded to this article and still failed to address how the DI sponsoring a table would be a benefit to the UMC General Conference and local church ministries. In other words the one area where he might actually make headway in changing their minds doesn't even get addressed. He repeated the official line that the DI and their pet version of Creationism isn't religious and doesn't require a designer, two things we know are absolutely bollocks . . . sorry, Watched the movie 'Wimbledon' the other night and I love that phrase 'Absolutely Bollocks!' But that's the truth. The DI does their best to hide any religious connection, including the identity of their erstwhile 'designer', but they haven't done a very good job of it because no one believes them.
Of course telling people you aren't religious and then going for a table at the United Methodist Church General Conference kinda seems a poor fit. But that's simple logic to me. Here I what I think about the whole thing, I think they knew going in that the UMC wouldn't approve them and the sheer volume of their response tells me this is nothing more than another way of getting coverage. Even bad press is still press and it gets your name out there in the public eye. And if you can claim some sort of 'unfairness' so you get folks not familiar with the issues to respond, all the better.
I think the DI, and John West, also spent way to much time trying to cast doubt on the process by which the UMC came to their decision, trying to sow dissent within the ranks of the UMC by saying this:
"If I were a United Methodist, even if I opposed intelligent design, I would wonder why my church officials are being so secretive that they won't even fess up to who actually made the decision to ban Discovery Institute from having an information table. It strikes me that this sort of secrecy and lack of accountability isn't healthy for any organization, least of all a major church."Is it the DI's business who within the UMC made the decision? Do we get to question who in the DI made the decision for such ridiculous tactics of mistake like "Teach the Controversy" and "It's only a Theory"? Of course not. The DI tries to present a united front in the face of overwhelming laughter from anyone who understands even elementary school science. But they demand visibility into the decision process of the UMC through such back alley ways.
You know in the very first post I read on the DI's Evolution 'News' and Views site on this topic, I recall one small line that said the UMC did have the right to do what they did, here is the line:
"As a private organization, the UMC has the right to exclude us as an exhibitor."But I guess the DI might officially acknowledge the UMC has the right, they are certainly pulling out all stops attacking those rights.