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LTE: Church No Place for Metro Politics

Parishioner finds fliers left on cars at church about proposed Silver Line inappropriate.

To the Editor,

As nearly everyone in Loudoun County knows, the Washington Metro is in the process of building a new line, the Silver Line, out from the existing system to Dulles Airport and beyond. There is considerable conflict out here in Loudoun regarding that “and beyond” part, specifically the two stations currently on the map that extend past Dulles Airport, the ones at Route 606 and Route 772/Ryan Road. That’s all well and good. This is a large project and an important decision. We should be having a serious and comprehensive debate on the matter.

I do not approve of having people drag that into my Church.

The supervisor representing the Algonkian District is Suzanne Volpe. Suzanne happens to be a parishioner at my Church. That fact does not justify the papering of every parishioners’ car during Mass this past Sunday morning with a “Letter to Suzanne Volpe” urging her to “be strong” and vote against Loudoun’s opting in to the Silver Line. We are a Church, not some public venue. That we are engaged in our religious observance – we call it the Mass, by the way – is not an invitation to start spraying political messages all over us. We are there to engage in worship of God, not to park rolling spam-boxes in spaces to allow for a convenient soapbox.

To make the unethical truly dishonorable, these cowards behind this flier couldn’t even stand behind their words. No identification of who it was that felt the need to litter on our personal vehicles and on the Church’s private property, no ability to address directly the people who write this clearly biased and ridiculously ill-supported drivel. If they are so proud of Mrs. Volpe and are so convinced of the correctness of their cause, why are they skulking around in the dark? Why are they so afraid of standing up and being recognized?

It’s because they know what they did was unjustifiable and unacceptable. That’s why they don’t want anyone to know they were responsible.

The matter of Loudoun's involvement in the Silver Line is a serious issue and, comments to the contrary in this anonymous flyer notwithstanding, it's far from a decided matter of whether it's in Loudoun's best interest in the long term. But there is a time and place for those discussions and blasting out one-sided handbills stuck to the cars of people who were attending Mass on Sunday is most definitely neither the time nor the place. People on both sides should offer the courtesy of leaving the politics out of Sunday Mass time for those of us attending services. That goes double for people who can't muster the backbone to be identified with their words.

Thank you and regards,

Ric James

CC Mojo June 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Ric, I can't agree more. Not only was Sup. Volpe's time and peace of mind interrupted, but, so were the minds of all attending the church that day. It IS cowardly and wrong on so many levels. Thank you for writing this.
Kristen H June 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
What a disturbing violation of Supervisor Volpe! Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope the group who left the fliers comes forward.
Kadey Mackenzie June 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Her contact information DURING BUSINESS HOURS is easily accessible online, along with all the other Supervisors, so to pull something like this is absolutely disgusting. Why not send an e-mail to her like every other normal (sane) person would do? I agree, it speaks volumes that there was no name or organization attached to this.
CC Mojo June 13, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Kristen, we all know they won't come forward. That would require accountability, an ironic notion for many of the opt-out crowd.
Tax Pig June 13, 2012 at 01:42 PM
This is a violation of separation of church and state, or something, I say we call in the SCOTUS. Do you agree MOJO girl? Yes thank you Rick, you are a champion of all that is important. BTW, what the heck did this message to the Honorable SV say, was it naughty or nice?
CC Mojo June 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Way to marginalize a person's sacred time even further, Pig. You're a gem of a person. I'm sure you have an idea, or more, of the message on the flyers. Just a hunch.
Vineet Aggarwal June 13, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I agree with the writer and I'm really sorry this happened to you at your church. These people behind the littering/propaganda are doing the same thing in parking lots across the county, and the reason they do it anonymously is because what they are doing is clearly in the wrong no matter how you look at it. In fact, some of the flyers they are producing are forged "official" county government documents -- I have to imagine that is illegal. I commented on this on a previous editorial, and for the first time, one of my comments was not blasted by the Opt-Out group. I would think perhaps they are feeling sheepish about their behavior, but probably not. Little do they know that this type of dishonesty is hurting their cause. Again, back to the point, I am sorry this happened to you, and I hope these people will grow up and fight their cause like real citizens rather than in an underhanded way like bothering people at church.
Melvin Summers June 13, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Is no place too sacred for the opt outers? Is there no level they will not stoop to? Campaigning at a church is wrong on so many levels. This is why we should trust your opinions or your made up facts? I think they know they are losing the battle and their tactics get more and more deplorable.
TISH G June 14, 2012 at 12:26 AM
thats why i dont particularly like organized religion or politics, they'll both stoop to any level to get their point of view across. Completely tacky.. i hope more people at that church express their distaste at that.
Victoria Glenn June 14, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Imagine if it was pro-rail fliers in windshields..I am sure there would be lots of screaming from the opt out camp right now. Completely inappropriate behavior, but then I have come to expect nothing less from the opt-out camp
The Baconator June 14, 2012 at 02:25 AM
You can leave them on the street, or place them right infront of our feet you can leave them on our cars, it's really not getting you that far you can put them on a boat, try to tell us how to vote you can try while we are at church, to get you out of your big lurch we all know what you can't see, Metro's here for you and me so make you flyers pass them out, when you lose you're sure to pout I'm for Metro and I'm not alone, so take your flyers and go on home!!!!!!!!
abroderick June 14, 2012 at 07:04 PM
It is cowardly to leave messages in a church parking lot that really should only be addressed to one person. The timing was completely inappropriate. Separation of church and politics is one of the principles this country was founded on. I'm sorry you had to deal with this.
Chris Lopresti June 14, 2012 at 07:26 PM
This is low even for them. I know that they have been fabricating information and then spreading it to the public trying to sway public opinion. This is worse yet. A person's time with god is private and no place for a Metro debate.
J Williams June 15, 2012 at 12:24 AM
This sort of behavior is despicable. Do they really think they will get people to listen to them by harassing them at church? Between this and the robocalls and the falsified fliers.. they have done nothing but annoy people. Will feel so good to see their efforts fail when the metro is approved!!
PFC Prolapse June 15, 2012 at 12:47 AM
What did the five fingers say to the face?
Dave June 15, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Out of county robocalls funded by an anti-tax group, false flyers placed in bus lots, and now this? Apparently the "anti-Metro" faction is not only classless, but desperate to do anything... no credibility left at this point. Sorry you had to deal with this as well!
Stacey F June 15, 2012 at 01:36 AM
If it wasn't for the flyers and robocalls, I never would have taken the time to look up the facts on this. I thought Metro was a done deal... but, after reading so much, I'm shocked that people want to pass on the deal. Anyway, it's sad that those same people are resorting to such horrible tactics. Ugh.
The Baconator June 15, 2012 at 02:52 AM
They can spread their lies anywhere they want. It isn't stopping the majority from realizing that Metro is the right move for Loudoun County. Soon we will have a vote and we will finally have the foundation laid for some solid public transportation.
Uncle Smartypants June 15, 2012 at 01:15 PM
OH MY GOSH! I cannot believe this! Are you saying you came out of church, all full of grace and stuff, to discover that some terrorist had left an ENTIRE PIECE OF PAPER on your car? With WORDS on it? OH, THE HORROR! I can't even imagine the collective rage that ripped through the congregation. I suggest you collect all the flyers, make a paper mache effigy of your nemesis, and then burn it at a stake. You've been egregiously hurt; it's time to start the healing. I think a bonfire would be cathartic and somehow, appropriately Christian. Wait a second - Christian! Aren't you supposed to turn the other cheek? What did that Luke guy say again? "But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, Bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. To him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other;" Luke 6:27-29
Richard Holmquist June 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I say you put this to organ music and sneak it into all the hymnals at the church.

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