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Motive of McConnell’s speech against Freedom Foundation

Dear Editor,

On Sunday night, Elkdale Baptist Church presented Mr. Allan McConnell. For those of you unable to attend, Mr. McConnell instructed us to identify cults by looking for a few key points.

1. “A cult preaches heresy”. Heresy was defined, in essence by Mr. McConnell, as “any interpretation of scripture that deviates from Allan’s interpretation”.

2. “A cult is elitist.” This point was ironic as we were told anyone who didn’t share Allan’s personal belief structure was in danger of eternal damnation.

3. “A cult claims superior spiritual status.” Please refer to points 1 and 2.

4. “A cult’s teaching is destructive to a person’s spiritual development..” Mr. McConnell taught these people to hate and fear a group of fellow Christians. I don’t speak lightly when I say “hate and fear”. As a prologue to his discussion of the Freedom Foundation, we were given a dose of Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heaven’s Gate and a variety of other true cults that ended in deaths. This emotional manipulation was intentional. In my opinion, preaching hate and fear by this form of propaganda is destructive to the spiritual development of any who took his words ‘for gospel’.

5. “A cult professes a different gospel.” Unfortunately, Mr. McConnell didn’t specify which gospel he personally subscribes to; Jesus’ gospel of loving God and neighbor by finding the Kingdom of God within or Paul’s gospel of “only Christ and Him crucified” or Augustine’s gospel of the nature of Christ, which has sparked 16 centuries of contention among Biblical scholars. I suspect the latter and by his tone, “the debate is over”. That’s a relief. Now as soon as we inform those millions of Christians who don’t agree with Mr. McConnell, we can all get along as good little McConnellite Baptists.

Personally, (and sometimes vainly) I attempt to live by Jesus’ gospel. Love God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. I haven’t seen Mr. McConnell exhibit much effort towards this gospel. He claimed outright that Mark Duke was a racist. He insinuated Mark Duke was an adulterer and a false prophet. He insinuated several Foundation members, who are employed by the Selma Police, were unfit to carry weapons and were a danger to the community. He slandered many fine people by name that I consider among my friends.

I have to ask; in what spirit does Mr. McConnell continue to run these people into the ground? Is it love or is it hatred? Nearly every accusation he made against Mark Duke and the Freedom Foundation he himself displayed in his lesson. I would caution Mr. McConnell to take care. He’s dangerously close to becoming that which he professes to fight against with such zeal. Chastising your brother in the love of Christ doesn’t include slander, lies and perverse innuendo.

Of course he knows better than I. He has ‘researched’ them from Birmingham and spoken to a few disgruntled ex-members. I’ve only spent time getting to know them personally and watching the difference they make in the lives of the people around them. Once again for you nit-pickers: no, they’re not perfect. But hear the words of Jesus (almost); “Let he who is without sin cast the second stone.” It’s too late to cast the first stone. Allan McConnell beat you to it.

Dusty Brown

Selma