Love for Good Shepherd

Opinion: Editorials

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Why would a union set up the inflatable rat in front of a work site where 99 percent of the $3 million project was going to be completed by union workers?

Why would a local activist and political candidate post a picture of the rat on Facebook without asking the notable entity having the construction done what it had done to attract the union's ire?

Why doesn't it register that Good Shepherd Lutheran, which suffered an awful fire last September and is trying to rebuild in time for Christmas, is one of Oak Park's most intentionally progressive religious institutions?

We suppose the answer to our questions is that it is simpler to seek out the negative response, and the social media chatter that public shaming attempts can bring, than to actually explore a reality that is fully affirming of the values we generally espouse as Oak Parkers.

By the time the reporting caught up with the click rush late last week, Kathy Nolte, the 10-year pastor of Good Shepherd and a hands-on activist who can hold her own with the best of them, was telling the Journal that her congregation had proactively, and much earlier, chosen to use union workers on their rebuilding project. The snafu was a last-minute need for asbestos removal and the church's inability to find a union vendor who could complete the work by July 1. 

So a $20,000 contract was made with a non-union shop as part of a better than $3 million union-made rebuild of the East Avenue church's interior.

The rat-toting union, Laborers' International Union of North America Local 225, needs to seriously reassess its public-shaming tactics and its fact-gathering skills. And Anthony Clark, the activist and candidate for Congress who launched the stir on social media, should have used his phone first to understand the truth of this situation. Saying that he "didn't attack the church or say the church was wrong" by his posting is disingenuous.

We are admirers of Anthony Clark. But telling the Journal, "I'm not in this community to make friends," undermines the necessity of making allies and the good faith of trying hard to be fair.

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Jim Frenkel  

Posted: June 20th, 2019 11:56 AM

Thanks for this piece. These days with the explosion of social media, one of the biggest challenges for media organizations like your own is to report important news timely and factually. I appreciate that you took the time to talk to BOTH sides and urge well-known personalities, on both sides, to do the same. I'd like to believe this ultimately leads to true dialogue, greater mutual understanding, and lasting solutions. All too easy to be dogmatic and shout one's position from the rooftops, but then again the other way takes courage, requires vulnerability, and involves hard work.

Nick Polido  

Posted: June 20th, 2019 8:26 AM

As admirers of Mr. Clark's work could you be more specific on his contributions. Was it the outing of a OPRF HS student on his Facebook account or the fact that he clearly went against the school administration and walked out with students that ended up terrorizing middle school students at Julian with their protest or the benevolent Mr. Clark who says and I quote "I'm not in this community to make friends,"

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