Wednesday, May 11, 2005

East Waynesboro Update

When we last left the East Waynesville Baptist Church, Rev. Chan Chandler was leading the church in expelling congregants who had voted for John Kerry (or at least not vote for George W. Bush) in the 2004 Presidential election. Naturally, controversy and national attention ensued.

Last night, according to the AP, Rev. Chandler resigned his position with the church. At the same time 40 or so members walked out with him, with some apparently resigning their memberships in the church, in a show of solidarity.

(Local coverage from the Asheville Citizens-Times can be seen here.)

This result is not particularly surprising - it seems as though Rev. Chandler overstepped his bounds and was not particularly supported by the church's long term members. Part of this may have been a generational clash, with Rev. Chandler, 33 years old, and some younger members seeing the pulpit as a political soapbox, while older members prefer that politics be left in the narthex. It also keeps the IRS at bay, which certainly had to be of some concern.

Outside the Beltway thinks Chandler and his supporters will start up a new congregation. Arguing with Signposts sees that some lessons on PR can be gained from this incident.