Citizens for Community Values is pushing back against a “blatantly biased” story in The Columbus Dispatch newspaper attacking them for working with the state to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CCV says it is “Ohio’s Family Policy Council” and “We endeavor to create an Ohio where God’s blessings of life, family, and religious freedom are treasured, respected, and protected.”
The Dispatch, however, took issue with CCV’s work.
The newspaper ran a story Saturday that attempted to basically tar and feather the Christian organization. Their evidence was the complaints of “some” faith leaders and the views of ultra-liberal hit organization Southern Poverty Law Center, which did not like CCV’s views on homosexuality.
“Some local faith leaders took issue with a partnership between the Ohio governor’s office and Citizens for Community Values, a conservative evangelical group once labeled a hate group for its views on homosexuality.
The governor’s faith office said CCV hosted group calls in March because they had the technical means to do so, but the calls were open to all faiths. A total of 300 to 400 faith leaders were on the calls in mid-March.
Aaron Baer, CCV’s president, emailed supporters Saturday to set the record straight.
One thing I’ve learned since I started leading Citizens for Community Values is that you can’t respond to every attack and bit of criticism.
But some stories are so egregious, so blatantly biased, that you need to set the record straight. Like the latest story in the Columbus Dispatch criticizing CCV for daring to help churches through the COVID-19 crisis.
I’ve spoken with Danae King, the Dispatch reporter that wrote this article, on a number of stories. I honestly expected better out of her than a story based on the fact that “some people” don’t like that the Governor’s Office joined our Faith Friday calls during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The article spends a lot of time detailing our “controversial views” but is noticeably short on what we actually discussed on the calls. So let me share what’s missing from this story:
CCV launched the Faith Friday calls when the state started shutting down in March. There was a lot of misinformation spreading about what was happening and we wanted to create a platform for churches to get the facts. We invited the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to join us to provide an update and answer questions leaders may have. From the first call, hundreds of leaders joined the calls weekly to get the latest updates.
Soon, we realized that COVID and the shutdowns were going to leave a lot of people hurting and isolated, so the calls quickly evolved into how the Church can love and serve our communities through the crisis.
This was left out of the Dispatch’s story… so let me share all that we did:
We hosted experts on drug and alcohol addiction to help pastors identify and serve people who are at risk of substance abuse.
We compiled resources to help churches take their services online.
We brought on national denominational leaders to provide advice on “pastoring through the pandemic,” and reaching out to people who may be isolated.
We shared stories from our “On Mission” blog to share innovative ideas on how families and individuals can safely provide food and necessities to the homeless.
We had national leaders join the call to discuss how churches and ministries could access CARES Act resources.
We discussed the impact COVID-19 is having on minority and special needs communities.
And through these calls, we brought pastors and community leaders together from across Ohio to pray for our nation, our elected officials, and our health care professionals through the weekly Holy Hour of Prayer.
Baer said he witnessed the Church helping serve the community. CCV will continue to work to unite the Church and will “hold fast to a biblical worldview.”
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