Thank you for allowing me to respond to the series of articles appearing in recent days on The Church of Israel in The Joplin Globe. I am trusting that in the interest of a free press this letter will be published without changes.
Your interest in sharing information about The Church of Israel comes as no surprise. What does come as a surprise is that the views expressed about this church in your newspaper attempts to prejudice your readers against this church and the very fine people who make up this congregation.
I find it quite interesting that while tolerance for religious diversity is something that The Joplin Globe seeks to emulate in all other faiths, this tolerance does not extend to the doctrines espoused by The Church of Israel. Your definition of tolerance does not extend to the several hundred people who share the religious views of this church.
Moreover, while your newspaper would be ready to give credence and support to the great diversity that exists within the American population, that definition of diversity apparently does not include the Separatist views espoused by the congregation of The Church of Israel. The practice of Separatism is fairly widespread in American society. Apparently there is no room in this great American diversity for the Separatist views of this congregation. The fact that we seek to maintain God's original design respecting God's ownership and mark upon every race does not conform to your definition of inclusion. We practice Separatism in marriage and worship because we believe that is what God and scripture teach.
In all truth the congregation of The Church of Israel have great love and tolerance for all races and people that combine together to make up a national population of more than 281,000,000 people. The fact that we do not believe in nor practice interracial dating, marriage and socialization makes us unacceptable by your standards. We want nothing for ourselves that we would not want for every other group within the American populous.
It is very difficult for the congregation to understand why the word diversity cannot be inclusive of The Church of Israel. Recall that the Pilgrims and Puritans who first arrived on American soil in the early 1600s were all Separatists. Why is it suddenly wrong to be Separatist in terms of dating, marriage and worship? Why is it good for other racial groups to practice Separatism while being bad for this congregation? There is a lot of Separatism practiced in America and some of it is blatant and open. This Separatism is fully acceptable unless it happens to be practiced by Caucasians? Why is Separatism good for some but bad if it happens to be practiced by Caucasians?
Why does a country that seeks to practice inclusion seek the exclusion of this congregation? This is a congregation of hard working, honest and God-fearing people. They bother no one! They work hard to pay their bills and see that their children become responsible and productive citizens of this great country. They work along side races of every kind and stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the defense and protection of America whenever the need arises.
The congregation shows great tolerance for the great diversity within the borders of this American fatherland. We fully realize that inclusion means that America has a very broad mixture of people from every race, religion, and culture. Why within this great diversity is there not room for the people of The Church of Israel? Why must they be talked about on the front page of The Joplin Globe to the utter exclusion of all other groups who practice Separatism without any concern of this newspaper?
Does the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 and amendments added thereto not apply to the U.S. Citizens who attend The Church of Israel? Are the members of this congregation being denied basic civil rights in pursuit of their religious preferences? Is The Joplin Globe contributing to the denial of the basic human rights to worship God according to the dictates of religious conscience? Must the people of The Church of Israel continue to suffer persecution in the pursuit of their religious conscience?
The Church of Israel is very mainstream in many ways. Our people work at jobs throughout Southwest Missouri. They work along side other races and they serve in the Armed Services when called upon to do so. They vote and take an active interest in civil affairs. Why must they be persecuted in pursuit of their religious conscience? Where is the tolerance for this church and its Separatist doctrine in this great land of racial, religious and cultural diversity? Will someone please assist us with answers?
Pastor Dan Gayman
Schell City, Mo.