Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cell Phone Lobbyists

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause
dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned;
avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.”
Romans 16:17-18a, NRSV

How could one possibly think that giving cell phones to some delegates levels the playing field or smells of anything other than impropriety? Some argue that these gifts give certain delegates—specifically those from Africa—the same access to communication technology as other delegates. Others say the gifts are being used to influence the voting of these central conference delegates. While The United Methodist Church is not immune to lobbyist activity during its General Conference, one would expect the principles of holy conferencing and down-right decency to trump buying votes or showing favoritism to some over others.

Rather than stepping up to the plate of being above reproach, the givers of these gifts have defiled and denigrated the legislative process. Even if these gifts were just gifts, why were they given only to certain delegates? Surely there are other delegates (U.S. and central conferences) who do not have or did not bring cell phones. That these “gifts” raise questions at all is in itself enough evidence to support the fact that their giving was inappropriate and the givers intentions questionable at best.

The church deserves much better than this, and God certainly demands more.


David MacDonald said...

I agree that this was a blatant attempt to influence and provide perks for an already conservative-leaning voting bloc in the conference. If the givers of these cell phones were so concerned about giving people equal access to technology, then why didn't they also give out laptop computers? (Many delegates also have these)

gavin richardson said...

saying that someone in the u.s. didn't bring their cell phone is kinda a stretch.. might have left their chargers at home, but left the phone home?

saying that for central conference folks.. that is probable.

the idea that it was given to some delegates that have been known to be conservative and have been written about by conservative action groups as being the hope, or to pray for, with the conference is the bad smell part.

not sure how someone thought of that idea and didn't think a stink was going to be made of it. especially with the talk that action groups were asking for delegates cell phone numbers with the assume intent that they would send swaying txt messages. thus one reason for the ban of cell phones

if they truly cared then they would buy some massive phone cards so that delegates can call home for free and talk to their families.