Friday, September 19, 2008

Letters to Washington Post from Attorney David Bernard and Dr. N. Wilson

Dear Washington Post,

As a Pentecostal pastor, theologian and educator, I am disappointed by Pat Oliphant’s recent cartoon that ridicules Pentecostal beliefs and practices and portrays God in a way that is blasphemous to Pentecostals as well as many other Christians. Under the First Amendment, you have a right to publish such a cartoon. Nevertheless, it displays ignorance of Pentecostal beliefs, and it expresses prejudice against Pentecostals because of their religious identity. It is a clear example of bigotry. Although you likewise have a constitutional right to publish a racist cartoon or a cartoon ridiculing Muslims, I do not think you would do so. To be consistent with your own standards, you should apologize.

David K. Bernard
President, Urshan Graduate School of Theology, Florissant, Missouri,
Pastor, New Life United Pentecostal Church, 4001 Adelphi Lane, Austin, Texas 78727

Letter to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street
N.W.Washington, DC 20071

Dear Editor:

I am writing in regards to your recent cartoon lampooning Pentecostals.First, I am somewhat shocked at the paucity of judgment in running such a demeaning piece (not to mention the awful artwork). The crassness and lack of discretion shown in your cartoon reveals a surprising narrowness and ignorance of world realities by both the cartoonist and those who approved it. When I compare such with the intellectual perspicacity, the enduring utilitarian beauty, and the unparalleled literary skill of the writers of the New Testament (all of which were Pentecostal, Acts 1:8, 2:1-4) your newspaper comes out a sad and very distant second. (An example of such beauty is I Corinthians 13. Yes, it is written by a Pentecostal preacher and author).Further, it is evident that someone at the Post may not know that 16% of the world’s population is Pentecostal (not just “Christian” but “Pentecostal Christians”). This is approximately 500 million people worldwide. Further, this number is expected to continue its exponential growth for decades to come. So impacting is this phenomenon that, several years ago, Time magazine estimated it may be one of the most impacting events in the last one thousand years. The liberating power of Pentecostalism also has a direct impact on the political climate of the world. For example, China is being revolutionized from within by conversions to Christianity, much of which is Pentecostal. This emphasis on the value of the individual versus the state is literally readjusting the philosophical underpinnings of the world’s largest nation. In the intellectual and spiritual Hall of Greats, Jesus I know. Paul I know, but I gently ask, who are you?

Nathaniel J. Wilson, Ed.D


  1. Oh I enjoyed the end of Bishop Wilsons letter! lol

  2. I love the way Nathaniel Wilson ends his letter that is so awesome!

    While I tend to not be so bent out of shape over the fact that they made fun of speaking in tongues I was appalled by the fact that they put a curse word in the mouth of God.

    But as I stated in my recent blog post I actually feel blessed to live in a country where we can actually have such a debate! I'm currently doing a research project on several European Countries and their ideas of separation of church and state are so much more extreme than ours! So much so that in many cases a country would rather elect an Atheist leader than to elect someone with strong Christian beliefs! As much as our nation has seemingly turned it's back on God the majority of American people will still want some form of Christian in office.

    I recently heard a pastor say regarding this cartoon that it is just a gateway to the endtime prophecy. In the last days I will pour out my spirit. . . .With Sarah Palin and her religion in the spotlight it is going to make MANY people ask the question "What is Pentecost?" and we should be ready with an answer!

  3. Carissa and Yvonne - The letters I have posted written by Jones, Bernard, and Wilson are all great. The sarcasm at the end of Wilson's letter was fun but, to play the devil's advocate, the Washington Post is probably asking, "Who is Paul?"