WAYNESVILLE, N.C. - A Baptist pastor accused of threatening to banish from his church anyone who didn't vote for President Bush has himself chosen to depart, leaving in his wake a divided community and a cultural chasm.
"I THOUGHT IT WAS CHAN MARSHALL," COMPLAINED ONE YOUNG CHURCHGOER
The Rev. Chan Chandler, 33, walked out of the church he had led for three years Tuesday night after delivering a brief statement of resignation. With him went many of the young congregants he had attracted to the modest brick church on the outskirts of this small mountain town in western North Carolina.
ME ME ME ME ME ME ME
"For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family," Chandler said. "I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family."
ONLY MOST TIMES IT'S THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE LIBERAL AND PERMISSIVE AND THE OLD PEOPLE WHO ARE BATSHIT REACTIONARIES, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
The dispute that engulfed East Waynesville Baptist Church in recent months would have sounded familiar to many an American congregation: Aging congregation brings in dynamic young preacher to turn things around. New pastor attracts young members who push for change in traditional ways of doing things. Battle ensues.
BECAUSE HOW COULD ANYONE WHO VOTED FOR JOHN KERRY BELIEVE IN GOD?
As Chandler and his wife drove out of the church's parking lot followed by a police escort, about 40 of his supporters walked out as well, with many saying they were resigning their memberships. "I'm not going to serve with the ungodly," an angry Misty Turner declared.
OH, SO JUST BECAUSE HE EXCOMMUNICATES PEOPLE FOR VOTING DEMOCRAT, ALL OF THE SUDDEN HE'S 'BRAINWASHING'
But Maxine Osborne, 70, and among those who stayed behind, had a different view of what had transpired. "A lot of these young people had not been in the church more than a year," she said. The Chandlers "brought in a lot of young people, but they also brainwashed them."
CONFESS TO THE HIDEOUS SIN OF HERESY
Members said the troubles had been simmering since last fall, when Chandler endorsed Bush and denounced Kerry from the pulpit — saying those who planned to vote for the Democrat should "repent or resign."
AND BY 'POLITICALLY ACTIVE', I MEAN FOR THE RIGHT
Tensions escalated last week, when several members said Chandler called a meeting of the church's board of deacons and declared his intention for East Waynesville to become a politically active church.
HEY, WAIT, I DIDN'T THINK YOU'D REALLY DO IT
Anyone who did not like that direction was free to leave, Chandler said — a statement that caused nine members to walk out.
STUPID OLD MAN DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S UNGODLY TO KEEP YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF
Many of those who opposed Chandler's leadership said they agreed with the pastor's positions on abortion and other hot-button religious topics, but disliked linking those beliefs to specific political positions and candidates. "If we wanted politics, we would stay home and watch it 24 hours a day on TV," said Charles Gaddy, 70. "I like Chan. He can preach a good sermon. I just wish he would keep some things out of the church."
EQUALLY STUPID OLD MAN SEEMS TO THINK IT'S POSSIBLE TO KEEP RELIGION AND POLITICS SEPARATE
Frank Lowe, 73, a leader of the members who left the church in opposition to Chandler's leadership, said, "I think his duty was to preach God's word and let the people sort out what they want to do."
AND IT CLEARLY SAYS IN ZEPHANIAH 3:26, "DON'T VOTE FOR JOHN KERRY"
Chandler supporter Rhonda Trantham, 27, saw no problem with Chandler's approach. "If it's in the Bible, I believe it should be preached," she said.
HE'S CERTAINLY DONE A BANG-UP JOB THUS FAR
"God will always fix things in the end," she said.