Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Megachurches, Evangelism, and Political Implications

The cover story of the May 23rd, 2005 of Business Week profiles a highly traditional organization that has adopted new marketing tactics, corporate hiring practices, and franchising, and most importantly for 1832, a strong right-wing political philosophy, all in an effort to attract new devotees. This would be perfectly normal if the organization wasn’t the evangelical American church. As is, the proliferation of such congregations poses a serious threat to traditional worship based on the Lord’s principles, and the already blurred line of separation between church and state in this country.

Business Week’s article focuses on the “megachurches” that have sprung up in many locations across the country, and the pastors behind them, some of which have adopted the “prosperity gospel” endorsing the pursuit of profit and other material things. An egregious example is Atlanta church leader Creflo Dollar, who pulls up to the pulpit in one of his two Rolls-Royces and preaches by plane from his own Gulfstream III.

Not as offensive, but still questionable, are the strategies used by other megachurch leaders. For example, Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, Illinois eschewed stained glass, Bibles, crosses, and other religious symbols in their new worship center because “(m)arket research suggested that such traditional symbols would scare away non-church goers”. The expose goes on to describe the average Willow Creek sermon as a“self-help program with a positive message intended to make people feel good about themselves”. Whatever happened to feeling good about yourself at church because you knew you were saved?

Perhaps I’m a bit cynical, but it sounds to me like these new churches employ newly minted MBAs and rely on “guerilla marketing” because their true quest is for cash, not the personal salvation of their members. Maybe a better term for “megachurch” would be “un-church”, given the fact that the average sanctuary and facility tends to resemble a theater or an arena rather than a house of worship. In fact, Houston-based huckster Joel Osteen is spending upwards of $90 million to turn that city’s Compaq Center, former home to the NBA’s Rockets, into a 16,000 seat uber-sanctuary.

“Me and mine” attended a Christmas Eve service at a megachurch in Eden Prairie, Minnesota last year at the urging of a family friend, and found an environment lacking inspiration. Sure, we settled in for the service in stadium seating, and there were projection screens with words to the rather modern hymns and images of the guest pastor preaching (the former leader resigned after having an affair with a member, and you can’t make this stuff up), but it just didn’t feel right. Maybe it was the walk to our car (a Six Flags-esque tram would have been more appropriate) or the impersonality of the place (devoid of decoration, and almost impossible to run into a familiar face when 5,000 other congregants roam the halls), but I didn’t see the appeal.

Perhaps just as disturbing as the erosion of traditional worship in favor of “Disney environments”, “marketing whizzes”, and profit is the political indoctrination occurring inside the walls of these bland, large facilities, especially since the Senate is inching closer and closer to a 60-vote Republican majority, which would prevent Democratic filibusters on any issue.

Particularly troubling are some of the new measures that the B-Week article mentions that evangelicals would like enacted into law, measures that would be possible with a 60-person Republican majority. While such traditional wishes like expanded school prayer and a ban on partial-birth abortions are to be expected, the story notes that evangelicals desire new laws that “permit more federal funding for faith-based programs” as well as “laws allowing churches to endorse political candidates”. If these new measures don’t blur the line between church and state, I don’t know what would.

Certainly the highly-publicized ultimatum recently issued by a North Carolina pastor for his parishioners to either vote for Bush or leave the sanctuary crosses that line. Hopefully for the sake of our Constitution, politics and places of worship can remain separated, even if it becomes difficult to tell what these new “places of worship” actually are.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New Poll Shows 62% of WI happy with Gov. Doyle...spin that GOP3.com

As Reported by wisinfo.com

Most voters support Doyle
New poll finds 62% satisfied with governor
The Associated Press

MADISON — A majority of Wisconsin residents approve of the job Gov. Jim Doyle is doing, a new poll indicates.The poll, sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio and conducted by St. Norbert College Survey Center, found 62 percent of respondents either very satisfied with Doyle’s performance or somewhat satisfied.Thirty-four percent said they were somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, while the rest were not sure, according to the poll, released today.

The poll surveyed 400 randomly selected residents by telephone between April 25 and May 4. The margin of error was listed as plus or minus five percentage points.In spring of 2003, 68 percent of respondents approved of the job Doyle was doing, while 65 percent approved in fall of 2003.Wendy Scattergood, assistant professor of political science who oversaw the poll, cautioned those numbers were all within the poll’s margin of error, meaning it does not necessarily reflect dropping support for the governor.

Doyle is up for re-election next year. U.S. Rep. Mark Green of Green Bay and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker have entered the race for the Republican nomination to oppose Doyle.

Doyle spokeswoman Melanie Fonder said the numbers show Wisconsin residents support the budget the governor proposed earlier this year to deal with the state’s $1.6 billion deficit. In his plan, the governor proposed closing the shortfall through a series of spending cuts, accounting moves and borrowing.

He also proposed pumping an additional $800 million into public schools to ease their reliance on property taxes.

Green spokesman Mark Graul countered the poll numbers show the more people get to know Doyle, the less they like about him. He also said it was remarkable that after 12 years as attorney general and more than two years as governor, only 10 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied with the job Doyle is doing.

“If I was an incumbent going into re-election, I’d be very nervous about that,” Graul said.

The same poll found 51 percent of respondents approved of the job President Bush was doing, with 49 percent disapproving. That’s up slightly from 45 percent approval in spring 2004. Bush narrowly lost Wisconsin to John Kerry in November by just more than 11,000 votes.

Also, 54 percent of respondents said the country was headed in the wrong direction, and 42 percent said they expect to be better off financially next year than they are now.


Second Marquette University News Briefs for May 11, 2005

Marquette Trustees announce new nickname selection process, reaffirm position not to reinstate Warriors nickname

Marquette’s Board of Trustees today unanimously reaffirmed its position not to reinstate the Warriors nickname and announced that it would establish a process for stakeholders to select the new Marquette athletics nickname. The Trustees made the decision after reviewing feedback received in the past week from students, alumni and fans expressing surprise and frustration that their voices were not adequately heard in the decision to change from Golden Eagles to Marquette Gold.

“We have spent the past week listening. We heard you,” said John Bergstrom, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The decision to change the nickname to Marquette Gold generated a response that we did not expect from Marquette stakeholders. We regret that we disappointed them and we want to respond to those concerns. We’ve established a new process today so that your voices can be heard. It’s transparent, it’s inclusive and it’s easy.”

The Board unanimously reaffirmed its position not to reinstate the Warriors nickname. As stewards of the university’s mission, the Trustees believe Marquette must adhere to the highest possible standards of its Catholic, Jesuit mission, which include recognizing and appreciating the dignity of every member of our human family.

“While I recognize that some people are disappointed that we are not reinstating the Warriors nickname, we cannot teach one principle about respect for human dignity in our classrooms and then fail to act by that same principle when making decisions,” President Robert Wild, S.J., said. “The Warriors nickname will always be part of our proud athletics tradition, and we will honor that tradition. But we live in a different era than when the Warriors nickname was selected in 1954. The perspective of time has shown us that our actions, intended or not, can offend others. We must not knowingly act in a way that others will believe, based on their experience, to be an attack on their dignity as fellow human beings.”

The Board of Trustees announced a new process by which a new athletics nickname will be chosen and also announced the formation of the Marquette Nickname Advisory Committee made up of representative students, alumni, faculty and staff. The process will include:

1. Within the next two weeks, a list of as many as 10 names will be presented to the Marquette community. All the names presented will be selected from the hundreds of names suggested by the Marquette community during either the 1994 or 2004 nickname processes. While the final list has not been decided, the list will certainly include some of the obvious names given Marquette’s athletics history, including Blue and Gold, Golden Avalanche, Hilltoppers and Golden Eagles.

There will also be a write-in option, presented with the parameters that votes for Warriors will not be counted, and that all write-in’s must be consistent with both our Jesuit, Catholic mission and the Board resolution on Native American imagery.

2. All members of the Marquette community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff, will be asked to choose two nicknames from the list, or can offer a write-in option.

3. The two options receiving the most support from the first vote will be presented to the Marquette community for a second vote. The nickname with the most support in the second vote will then be presented to the president to be announced as Marquette’s new athletics nickname going into the Big East Conference.

Both votes will be binding, and will be conducted on the Web with provisions made for those who do not have Internet access. Members of the Marquette community will be notified via mail and e-mail in the coming weeks about steps for participating in the voting process. More information about the voting process will also be available at http://marquette.edu/nickname.

The Marquette Nickname Advisory Committee will oversee the voting process and will advise the university in the development of the look of the new nickname, following its selection after the second vote.

Marquette has preliminarily planned that the timing for the nickname process will be as follows:

Week of May 23: List of nickname options will be presented to the Marquette community for the first vote. The Marquette community (students, alumni, faculty and staff) will choose two names from the list, or offer a write-in.

Mid-June: Second vote will be conducted with the top-two vote getters.

By July 1: The winning nickname will be announced.

Following the choice of a new nickname, Marquette will further engage the Marquette community, through focus groups and other forums, in the design of a visual identity for the new nickname, with a new logo to be chosen by the start of the school year. Students will be asked to give input on design and name the mascot (the costumed character appearing at games) in the fall.

The Board agreed that any nickname selected must be consistent with the university’s mission and adhere to the resolution passed last September banning use of any Native American imagery or references in Marquette’s athletics nickname, logo or mascot. In addition, the new nickname must be selected by Marquette’s official entry into the Big East Conference on July 1. The Golden Eagles will remain Marquette’s athletics nickname until July 1.

Father Wild concluded, “We must remember that Marquette University is first and foremost an academic institution. We have great momentum resulting from the accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni over the past several years. Just last week, we received the largest single donation in university history with a gift of $28 million that will transform our College of Communication. For the third consecutive year, we celebrate the fact that students are applying to Marquette in record numbers. Marquette has risen in national academic rankings. The campus has undergone a physical transformation, and Marquette has enjoyed the most successful fund-raising period in its history, raising more than $300 million during the current comprehensive campaign. These are the true measures of a great university.”

News Briefs is published each Monday and as news warrants by the Office of Public Affairs for Marquette students, faculty and staff.

Comments? Questions? Is there news you would like to share? E-mail mu.e-news@marquette.edu, call 8-7491, fax 8-5936 or send your note in campus mail to News Briefs, Office of Public Affairs, Holthusen, 419.

This is a huge Victory for the Students and Alumni of Marquette to have their voices heard.

Marquette Board of Trustees Meeting TODAY to Discuss Nickname

Marquette University sent out this email today regarding:

Marquette University News Briefs for May 11, 2005

Board of Trustees to review, discuss athletics nickname feedbackThe Board
of Trustees will meet today to review and discuss the feedback it has received
from students, alumni, faculty and other members of the university community
following the decision to adopt a new athletics nickname a week ago.

News Briefs is published each Monday and as news warrants by the Office of
Public Affairs for Marquette students, faculty and staff.Comments? Questions?
Is there news you would like to share? E-mail mu.e-news@marquette.edu, call 8-1988, fax 8-5936 or send your note in campus mail to Holthusen, 419F.Go to http://checkmarq.mu.edu for the latest Marquette news and useful information for students, faculty and staff.

In addition there is another NO TO GOLD rally at 4:30pm Between the AMU and McCormick today. I personally have no idea who is organizing this protest, but in light of the Board meeting 1832 would like to encourage all Marquette students who can take a break from finals to attend.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Make Your Voice Heard!!! Come to NO 2 GOLD Rally in front of the Al Maguire Center Todayt at 12 PM. We need to show Marquette that the students who make up this University are outraged by the nickname being imposed on us by Marquette University.

Plus the University’s athletic department is throwing an end of the year event (with free food Pizza Shuttle lunch) at this time as well so administrators and players will be there to hear our voice.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Diener and Wade Against "GOLD"

Last night Travis Diener stopped by our protest, took the bullhorn and said, "NO GOLD! NO GOLD!"

Now this from D. Wade:


ESPN News just had an interview with Wade, who apparently had not heard of the change:

ESPN: Your alma mater, Marquette, they've changed their nickname to the Gold. What do you think of that?

Wade: To that what?

ESPN: To the Gold. The Marquette Gold. That's what they're going with now.

Wade: [Pause. Furrows his brow.] Oh I gotta call. I gotta call in on that one. I don't know how that sounds.

ESPN: We're breaking some news here?

Wade: I heard they was trying to change it back to Warriors.

ESPN: No I guess they're going with Gold. I'm surprised they didn't call you to check if it was okay with you.

Wade: [Squints. Incredulous.] The Gold? [Beat.] No I'm gonna make a phone call to to Marquette after we get off this. [Laughs] I don't know about that one.

ESPN: So that might change.

Wade: The Gold? The Marquette Gold?

ESPN: All right Dwyane, so far so good, and I know your word carries a lot of weight at Marquette as well as Miami, so congratulations. Enjoy the rest of the playoffs.

Wade: Thank you I will. [Looks off camera and says to someone] The Gold?


Marquette Students and Alumni, make these phone numbers ring off the hook and make Father Wild's life hell! Let your voice be heard!

Firstly: Robert.Wild@marquette.edu

Bill Cords: Bill.Cords@marquette.edu

Blue & Gold Fund: Zachary.Goines@marquette.edu

A specific website has been set up for comments on the GOLD: Here

There is an IPetition at Ipetitions.com

The board of trustees can be viewed on : This page
Phone numbers:

Office of the President:
414-288-7223 --- 414-288-7714 --- 414-288-7752 --- 414-288-3654

University Advancement:
414-288-7165 --- 414-288-7945 --- 414-288-3596

Blue and Gold Fund:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Pro-Eagle and Pro-Warrior factions are holding a rally on Friday at 12pm infront of the Al McGuire building on 12th and Wisconsin.


In addition, the University is already providing us with free food (Pizza Shuttle).


The Marquette Board of Trustees has announced that we are changing our name from the Marquette Golden Eagles to the Marquette GOLD.

Personally I could have cared less about whether we stayed the Golden Eagles or changed back to the Warriors. I had only hoped that Marquette would end the debate with their decision today. This decision does neither. It only invited more controversy on the matter and alienates another group of students and alumni from the University.

Marquette has succeeded in giving me no reason to ever give money to this institution. This decision tells the country that Marquette is home to the most idiotic administration ever assembled at a major university.

In retrospect I wish I had transferred to UW-Madison after the Kerry Campaign ended. Now the only purpose of going to this Catholic University is to have group prayers, praying that the piece of toilet paper with the Marquette logo on it that I receive when I graduate is worth enough to get me into a good law school.

USC, UW-Madison, UPENN, Columbia, Minnesota, Georgetown, and Boston College law schools, hear this: IF YOU ACCEPT ME I WILL ONLY DONATE LARGE SUMS OF MONEY TO MY LAW SCHOOL, you need not worry about competition.

GOP3.com has started a petition to have the Marquette students decide a new mascot. 1832 fully endorses this petition:

Sign the Petition Here