At a Loss About Labels


As a 90-year-old United Church of Christ minister who has served parishes and college chaplaincies since 1940, I was disturbed but not surprised at your labeling our denomination "leftist" ["Standing on the Left With Reverend Wright," May 19].

I preached a fiery, angry sermon against the evacuation of Americans of Japanese ancestry, calling it racist, un-American, and unconstitutional. I sponsored naacp chapters at two universities and later marched with Martin Luther King Jr. In my valley parish in Fresno, Calif., I marched with Cesar Chávez for farmworkers' rights. In 1972, I ordained the first openly gay minister in my San Carlos, Calif., parish. I always believed I was following Christ's call to help the poor, outcasts, and marginalized people. Never did it occur to me that I was "leftist."

Henry H. Hayden

Claremont, Calif.  

Having been a member of a UCC church for many years, if I as a white person in a white church had heard a white pastor speak of the black race as the Reverend Wright spoke of whites, it would not have taken me 20 years to get out of that church. I learned in a children's song long ago that "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight."

Lois Roberts

Stone Lake, Wis.