Lewiston Morning Tribune: Pastor cries persecution in latest feud

Lewiston Morning Tribune | July 23, 2005

Pastor cries persecution in latest feud

Two Moscow women object to wine use at scheduled August Event

By David Johnson of the Tribune

Moscow — Christ Church Pastor Doug Wilson Friday accused two Moscow women of more religious persecution for their efforts to keep alcohol out of a religious event on the University of Idaho campus where it’s banned. Wilson said Rosemary Huskey and Saundra Lund want to prevent people, including minors, from taking communion during a scheduled Aug. 7 worship ceremony in the UI Kibbie Dome. “Why Rose and Saundra want to prevent our kids from taking the Lord’s supper is simply beyond me,” said Wilson.

But Huskey and Lund, who’ve also challenged the tax-exempt status of church properties linked to Wilson, said they simply want Wilson and people attending the Trinity Festival at UI to observe state law and adhere to policies set by the Idaho State Board of Education. “He doesn’t have to be a victim, here,” Huskey said, responding to Wilson’s words. “My issue was serving alcohol to minors in a state building.” “We don’t want to prevent their children or anyone from taking communion,” said Lund. “He needs to follow the rules of the venue he chooses.”

Trinity Festival, a three-day history conference, is scheduled to begin Aug. 8 on the UI campus. Wilson said people from two Moscow churches, one Spokane church and congregations across the country will attend. The festival is sponsored by Credenda/Agenda, a magazine that’s part of Wilson’s religious ministries.

“This is an example of pettiness,” Wilson said of Huskey and Lund’s complaint to UI officials.

The two women confirmed they indeed questioned UI’s handling of the conference after making requests for public records. “We couldn’t find anything indicating they (Trinity Festival organizers) had applied for a permit,” said Lund. Wilson said he has applied for a permit but wasn’t certain of the status of his application. Lund suggested the application was made only after she and Huskey raised the issue. “And that still doesn’t address their intention to serve alcohol to children.

Luci Willits, spokeswoman for the state board, said most waivers on campus alcohol bans are now at the discretion of university and college presidents. UI President Tim White could not be reached for comment. Attempts to contact other UI officials about the status of the application also failed.

Wilson said he and other festival organizers are making contingency plans to hold the worship service off campus if UI denies the application. “The folks at the Kibbie Dome have been fantastic,” Wilson said, “but they’re kind of caught in the middle.” While the communion wine contains alcohol, said Wilson, it’s offered in thimble-sized portions.

“It’s not because I have a quarrel with how they celebrate the Lord’s supper,” said Huskey. “I was raised taking the Lord’s supper and we never used wine,” said Lund. “We don’t want to prevent their children from taking communion.” Both Huskey and Lund have said they are Christians and their actions against Wilson are not personal as much as they are necessary to guarantee equal treatment under the law. They’ve accused Wilson and his followers of arrogantly skirting the law while seeking a stronger foothold in the community.

The women have scored a couple of victories in the battle, most recently convincing the Latah County commissioners to keep the Christ Church office building and half of New St. Andrews College in downtown Moscow on the tax rolls. Wilson, who’s on the college’s advisory board, has said Huskey and Lund are singling him out because they take exception to his religious teachings. He said if their concerns are genuine, they’d be questioning the legalities of other churches and tax-exempt properties in town.

The women have denied Wilson’s persecution accusations, but admit they disagree with most of what he preaches and teaches. As far as the legalities of other churches and tax-exempt properties, Huskey and Lund say public officials should be enforcing the law.