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Retired pastor draws ire of hate group

Thursday, May 14, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:53 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 14, 2009
Retired minister Dick Blount runs the Open Door Ministry program at the Missouri United Methodist Church on Ninth Street.

COLUMBIA — Amid the hundreds of books in the Rev. Dick Blount's home office sit two photographs. One is of the white shaggy dog he and his wife, Sue, whom he calls his "60-year-plus soul mate," rescued from the pound. The other is of Blount, standing at the Boone County Courthouse Square in November 2008.

Printed over the photograph in the frame are the words Blount said at that fall rally for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning community.

If you go

An alternative to the Westboro Baptist Church demonstration will be held at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. 9th St.,  at noon Thursday.

There will also be a community discussion held from 7 to 9 p.m. May 19 at Missouri United Methodist Church.



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He recites the words: "These are our children. These are our families. These are our fellow citizens. We need to know them as people of worth."

It's this respect for the equal rights of all, and his comments at an April Columbia City Council meeting, that have put Blount, a retired United Methodist minister, in an unusual spotlight.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, an organization that is recognized as a hate group by civil rights law firm Southern Poverty Law Center, plan to protest Blount and the city's approval of a domestic partnership registry on Thursday.

The group will protest from noon to 12:30 p.m. at the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway, and then make their way to Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., to picket Blount and his support of the registry and the LGBTQ community.

“We cannot be Christians and be silent in a time of injustice,” Blount said.

Blount attends Missouri United Methodist Church and leads a Bible study there. He is not a member of the paid church staff, however.

Blount left full-time, paid ministry in the 1970s. In 1972, he took a sabbatical and started working for the Missouri Department of Health. He never went back to a paid ministry job. He's been a social justice advocate ever since and didn't want to compromise any ministry with his personal opinions. 

“When you speak out too much you begin to make some people uneasy,” Blount said.

That's part of the reason he left ministry.

But it was during an international youth conference in Oslo, Norway, in 1947, that Blount said he first recognized the need for the church to fight against injustice. He said a speech by the leader of a Confessing Church during the Nazi regime reminded him how important it is for people of faith to speak out.

“I didn’t like the idea of making people uncomfortable and being paid by them, so I thought I ought to support myself,” he said. In 1996 he retired and moved to Columbia where he became a member of Missouri United Methodist Church. There, he taught a Bible study class that led to the creation of the church’s Open Door Ministry.

Open Door Ministry is a program for people who have family members and friends in the LGBTQ community. The group meets regularly and has recently watched a film about the Westboro Church, called "Fall from Grace."

Mary Ann Shaw, co-chair of the Open Door Ministry, said Blount is “a very socially conscious person and has a deep sense of justice.” She said several of the founding members of the church’s ministry had gay sons and daughters. Even though Blount does not, he was a driving force in the formation of the group, Shaw said.

Blount said he believes his church is one of the most open, and "that's what brought Fred Phelps to come say hello to us." Phelps is the founder of Westboro Baptist Church.

During the planned Westboro protest, Blount will be attending an alternative event hosted by the church, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services and the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission. A community discussion is also planned for May 19.

“It’s a human rights issue pure and simple,” said Marie Glaze, Columbia Human Rights Specialist. I just believe that Columbia is a good place and we want all of our citizens to feel that this is a safe place."


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Comments

Tom O'Sullivan May 14, 2009 | 8:30 a.m.

I think the main problem here is too much media attention is given to these fringe groups such as Westboro Church. From what I understand the membership is very, very small and comprises mostly the leader's family. The same holds true for these Nazis groups. They're gadflies and the media encourages them with the attention. My advice is to just tune these people like Westboro and the Nazis out and they'll stop what they're doing!

(Report Comment)
Tasha R May 14, 2009 | 8:35 a.m.

Blount,

You have your heart turned inside out and have allowed Satan to deceive you. Jesus Christ made plenty of men feel uncomfortable. That didn't stop him from delivering God's Word. Re-read God's Word before you begin to protect the unrighteous and stop caring about hurting man's feelings. It is right to reprove the unfruitful for their unrighteous acts. You think being kind to them and telling them what they want to hear is going to help them. You put your own soul at risk of hell fire.

You are one of these that care for the feelings of man and not for the things of our heavenly Father. If you think teaching false doctrine and being kind to the unfruitful is going to score you points with God, you have another thing coming. Stay true to God's Word and be not friends with the world for those that are a friend of the world are an enemy to God.

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4

TL11

(Report Comment)
Alice Thompson May 14, 2009 | 9:55 a.m.

And all this time I thought the teaching was
"Judge not, that ye be not judged." or mabey more properly and from the same book of the bible, and amazingly just a few passages down from James 4.4 (so read on for context)
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?"
Even better yet-
"For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
Quit trying to dictate what choices others make for themselves and how they find thier own happiness. You are not Jesus- so stop trying to deliver God's word. Considering it is the most published "word" available- we can find it on our own it we so choose- and it you haven't yet noticed- when you take anyones "word" out of context- you can make any argument you so choose with it

(Report Comment)
old chicago May 14, 2009 | 11:39 a.m.

Marie Glaze is a nice lady.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote May 14, 2009 | 12:01 p.m.

It is interesting and amusing that those opposed to equal rights for all citizens find themselves professing the same arguments promulgated by the gang from the Westboro church. That the latter group is so extreme and ridiculous makes me wonder if Mr. Phelps is not the greatest satirist of our times.

(Report Comment)
Tasha R May 14, 2009 | 4:28 p.m.

A Person, it's called being 'reproved' not being 'judged', but what would you know? I can tell by your answer you are one without understanding and egar to pull scriptures to defend the wicked instead of defending God. You are too easy.

Tasha

(Report Comment)
Tasha R May 14, 2009 | 4:43 p.m.

"You are not Jesus- so stop trying to deliver God's word."

By the way, this is just exactly the words Satan would put into the mouths of his servants. Doing what he knows best, Deception.

You are right. I am not Jesus. I am One in the Body of Christ. I am an ambassador of God's Holy Word. It is a child of God's job to reprove the unfruitful. Didn't you know?

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Ephesians 5:11

"For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:20

I don't argue over our Father's Word. I give it to you straight whether you like it or not. Renew your mind and you won't be offended by God's truth when you hear it.

Tasha

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote May 14, 2009 | 5:02 p.m.

Tasha would you argue with this:
Leviticus 20:9 “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.”
That's your "Father's Word" telling you to kill your children if they curse you. Do you agree with that?

(Report Comment)
Matt Y May 14, 2009 | 8:20 p.m.

Oh boy, another "god warrior". Yawn.

(Report Comment)
Greg Collins May 15, 2009 | 7:51 a.m.

When it comes to the depraved, hate besotted fools from the Westboro Baptist Church, my first instinct is to ignore these people -- as they so desperately and nakedly crave attention -- yet it does occasionally seem worth pointing a contemptuous finger in their direction.

In this case, I will point out if someone is considered an enemy of this mob then there in itself is a badge of honor. Kudos to Rev Dick Blount for I am reminded of Edmund Burke's words that "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".

(Report Comment)
Tasha R May 15, 2009 | 9:19 a.m.

AT Heist,

I am obedient to my Father God and will not be moved. You are obedient to your father Satan and live in deception. And you and your father have all things in common, confusion and deception and your job is to confuse and deceive God's children. Ha, for Satan would deceive the elect of God's Kingdom if it were possible, but it's not!

And because you are of Satan, your writings edify Satan. Satan knows the Bible, God's Word inside and out, how else do you think you'd be able to use it? You are his eyes and his little evil doer. So spare me demon, taking my Father's Word and using it with such ignorance.

"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision." Psalm 2:4

I laugh with my Father, you cry with yours. Now if you have a real question, please feel free to ask, otherwise, you're attempt to crack a child of God is weak and you need to ask your weak father for assistance.

One in Christ,

Tasha

(Report Comment)
Tasha R May 15, 2009 | 9:31 a.m.

Matt Y,

Sorry, you got it all wrong. Your god is the little g, my Father is the BIG 'G'. Get it right before you yawn. Possibly why you're so sleepy is your devil daddy is boring. Ha.

(Report Comment)
Matt Y May 15, 2009 | 5:07 p.m.

Have fun with that.

(Report Comment)

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