In interviews printed in the book, the book's editor, Steve Swecker, who also edits Zion's Herald, certainly gave the staff of the IRD every chance to articulate their side of the story.
A couple of the articles are disappointing.
They focus too much on guilt-by-association, and are written with a hysterical edge that weakens their credibility. (I don't think an article should discredit anyone by vague references to "ties with the ultra-conservative John Birch Society" (Hard Ball, p. 8) anymore than articles should hint at ties with the Communist Party.
Innuendo is not helpful.)
Yet, despite some flaws, the book raises two questions that we need to ask about the IRD
, questions which the IRD
staff failed to answer adequately when they were given a chance to do so during interviews with Swecker
Swecker raised this question in an interview with the late Diane Knippers, who was the IRD's executive director until her premature death from cancer this past April.
"You have on your board of advisors prominent Catholics and people from the Jewish community," he
"What is their interest as IRD members in directly going to Protestant mainline churches to hold them accountable -- but not to their own faith communities?
then makes the question even more pointed: "If the shoe were on the other foot, and you had an organization of self-appointed Protestants attacking Catholic or Jewish organizations, how do you think that would go down?
(Hard Ball, p. 89) Excellent question.
I have just ordered a copy of the Zion Herald magazine's new book Hardball on Holy Ground: The Religious Right v. the Mainline for the Church's Soul, edited by Stephen Swecker
Swecker is a smart and balanced guy, a thoughtful and skilled editor, so I will read the book.
In a review of United Methodism @ Risk, Swecker
and Andrew Weaver likewise go too far in labeling the motives of people with whom we disagree: "... the political right seeks to gain top leadership positions in the church by spreading misleading information and incendiary allegations against organizations and individuals.