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Apr 14

Bye, Bye, Marty


Marty makes the blogs: Part 1

Eschaton, a prominent liberal political blog, has picked up the story.

“There is no ‘entire church.’ There are a bunch of different denominations with entirely different basic belief systems, once you get past the Jesus thing. It’s time to grow up and recognize this instead of painting Christianity as some ill-defined congregation of social conservatives.”

*Grumble* First of all, Atrios, you’re not a Pittsburgher or WORD-FM listener, and all you read was a vague AP article. You don’t know all the facts. The AP story doesn’t really cover all that was going on. Marty was ill-informed about Catholicism, was unnecessarily harsh to Catholic callers, and generally sounded like a Jack Chick tract at times. I’m all about theological debates. I love ’em. However, if you’re going to be a Christian radio station that wishes to appeal to all major denominations, you need to be more considerate of peoples’s faith. There’s plenty of common ground that can be discussed (ala Mere Christianity). Marty was very biased and didn’t take criticism of his exegesis and hermeneutics well. I didn’t want him fired, but I would have liked him to be more considerate and more intellectually honest.

If you’re thinking of responding to Atrios, be aware that some (most, actually) of the comments are rather unsavory.

For another blogger’s perspective on this issue, check out The Green Knight’s post, “Not a Good Guy“.

“To be blunt, Marty Minto is a religious bigot.”

….

“He is not a good guy. There is no need to defend him. Yes, theology should be open to debate, like everything else. That doesn’t mean that we should be defending every know-nothing jerk who opens his mouth. That’s the same kind of supine passivity before bigotry that allowed right-wing talk radio to rise to prominence. If theology is to be criticized, that includes the theology of the critic.”

“But it’s not theology that got him fired, anyway; it was tastelessness…”

“The appropriate reaction to the firing of a right-wing bigot is to say, ‘Good.’ Got it?”

Ouch.

Coffee Conversations joins the fray and offers a cryptic reference to Marty’s old show in Phoenix, AZ. Scotwise points to a conversation about Marty at World Magazine Blog he calls “a holy war”.

The Christianity today weblog highlighted the story. Also, WorldNet Daily columnist and WorldView Weekend founder Brannon S. Howse has a hagiographical account of Marty’s firing, making him out to be some sort of Evangelical martyr. He describes Minto’s demeanor on MSNBC’s Scarborourgh Country as “calm, respectful and Christ-like”. I don’t think that’s entirely inaccurate as a description of Marty’s demeanor, even on his own show – unless, of course, you get his dander up about some pet peeve issue. Catholic doctrine is one of them. Amidst Howse’s fawning over Marty, he does make some good points. He worries that WORD-FM’s salt is losing it’s flavor saying, “Perhaps Salem Communications should change its WORD-FM to TOLERANCE-FM or POLITICALLY CORRECT-FM.” I, too, worry that Marty’s show will be replaced with milktoast, but discussing tough issues should involve hearing competent experts from all major sides, something Marty never allowed. Numerous requests were made for Catholic apologists to rebutt his claims, which he consistently rejected. Anyhow, I don’t think Marty’s problems are insurmountable and, like Pat Buchanan, I hope he gets his show back.

Catholic aplogist Jimmy Akin has thrown his cowboy hat into the ring saying, “I don’t see firing somebody because he simply said that it’s not 100% guaranteed that John Paul II is in heaven…Now, if you w
ant to fire somebody because they’re saying that one must be born again in an event apart from baptism and that’s pushing a denominational issue on the Christian community as a whole, feel free.”. Ah, if only it were that simple, Jimmy.

Dr. James White, no friend to Catholicism, has joined the mob of malcontents yelling “Censorship!”, questioning WORD-FM’s commitment to biblical Christianity, and general shooting off their mouths (and blogs) about things they know little or nothing about.

Eric Svendsen, another Protestant apologist, is fuming of Marty’s firing. His first rant on the subject can be found here.

“Be honest, Chuck Gratner. It’s really about money and sponsors, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? It’s really about how much you and your station can line your pockets, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? It’s really about the embarrassment and shame that accompanies the truth of the gospel, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? It’s really about not having the courage to stand for truth that’s no longer popular in an spiritually adulterous generation, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? That’s just a bit too much to ask, isn’t it? So, as a result you end up being darkness in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, and you end up cloaking the word of life so that the hapless followers of false gospels can be confirmed in their error and feel good about that error. Isn’t that really what it’s all about, Chuck Gratner?”

Don’t hold back, Eric. Tell us what you really think.

“Because his theologically naive, spirit-of-the-age boss, Chuck Gratner – who would rather be politically correct than theologically correct, and who would rather be in the world than in the truth – cowardly decided to sell his birth-right and sing Kumbaya with a man who his entire papal career proclaimed a ‘gospel’ that is antithetical to the apostolic gospel and cannot therefore save anyone, who led millions down the path to destruction by means of that ‘gospel,’ and who in the end relied on Mary to save him. Is there any doubt in the mind of anyone who takes the Scriptures as his final authority that the pope can’t possibly be in heaven? NO ONE goes to heaven based on the Roman Catholic ‘gospel,’ even if some make it there in spite of that gospel. NO ONE goes to heaven who relies for his salvation one the mother of the One mediator between man and God!”

It’s nice to see that clown colleges are still producing fine graduates.

Local blog, Honsberger is a Liar, had the following to say, noting that Marty appeared on his former competitor’s program on Friday.

“I’m really not sure where to begin here. Minto was told he was being fired for ‘alienating’ WORD listeners. Maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t. Fred and Marty did spend some time criticizing the Catholic Church’s worship of Mary and the Saints in roundabout ways. Mostly at the level of ‘It’s not Biblical, but if that’s what they believe that’s fine.’ Interesting religious relativism, if you ask me.”

….

“‘All according to Marty’s understanding of the Bible.’ That’s what happens when sola scriptura is a guiding principle. Private exegesis is a sure way to heterodoxy and heresy. Perhaps that’s too strong a statement for some people. To them I’d say that one should at least recognize that private exegesis eliminates the possibility of a single gold-standard interpretation by which all others can be compared.”

Catholic blog Ut Unum Sint offers the following.

“The fact of the matter is that this guy was spewing rank anti-Catholic bigotry. If he was spewing antisemitism, people would be up in arms. That people are defending him shows that anti-Catholicism is indeed the ‘last acceptable prejudice.’ The radio station clearly realizes it has a wide audience and it needs to be positive, and not let its airtime be spent alienating a large block of listeners because of one man’s ignorant views.”

“It’s one thing to discuss differences–it’s something else to simply be offensive.”

Jeffrey Dubner of Tapped thinks Minto’s firing was the result of the prevailing red state mentality in this country.

“We’ve reached a bizarre place where no conservative religious belief can be challenged in polite society. Pat Buchanan spent last night’s Scarborough Country interviewing Marty Minto, a pastor who believes Pope John Paul II will not make it to heaven because he wasn’t born again. Minto said that he doesn’t believe Jews or, say, the Chinese can get to heaven either. It’s no exaggeration to say that this sort of uncompromisingly intolerant religious belief is now not only given a free pass, but sought out and promoted — particularly on cable television.”

Here’s my buddy Rob’s response to this whole mess at Unspace.

“Marty Minto is a human being, a fellow Christian, and a man. For all three reasons, I sympathized with him. Far too often, I’ve experienced some form of schadenfreude at someone else’s misfortune, and I don’t like that about myself. That’s not who I wish to be. From what he’s said on his show, I doubt he’d consider me a Christian. That was one more reason to gloat, and the best reason not to. Because someone does not treat me well cannot be allowed to affect how I respond. I learned that lesson over and over as a paramedic. No Christian should rejoice at the misfortune of others.”

….

“Let’s face it. This whole episode is another chance for some to mock Jesus and how we, His followers, don’t follow what He said. That can’t ever be good.”

“I don’t know enough to comment on whether his firing was right or not. As a blogger, my natural tendency is to reject censorship by any outside force. Silencing someone does not convert them, and it may make things worse (as Eric Rudolph seems so evilly intent on proving). But WORD-FM is a business, not a charity for free speech.”

“So instead, let me extend my sympathies to the Rev. Marty Minto and wish him well, hoping that he continues to grow in Christ – things I would wish for everyone. The same goes for Powerball (who runs a great blog, by the way – I need to add it to my rather eclectic blogroll), Chris Buda (who is temporarily at least taking over the show) and whoever eventually takes over the talk show. I do hope for someone a little less extreme, althogh the history of the hosts of the 3 to 6 pm talk slot on WORD doesn’t offer much hope.”

Well said, Rob.

Other blogs weighing in:

Capital Region People: “Amazing breach of Free Speech”
Wittenberg Gate: “Marty Minto and the Offense of Gospel Speak”
Opinion Bug: “Talk Show Host Fired For Questiong Catholic Beliefs”

There also various interesting responses to Powerball’s initial post.

Pray that the Lord guides Marty swiftly to suitable employment elsewhere. Also pray that his replacement follows his example of challenging people to know, understand, and live their faith. I fear for WORD FM listeners if his successor merely tickles their ears and tells them what they want to hear.

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