Bye, Bye, Marty

Marty makes the blogs: Part 1

Eschaton, a prominent liberal political blog, has picked up the story.

“There is no ‘entire church.’ There are a bunch of different denominations with entirely different basic belief systems, once you get past the Jesus thing. It’s time to grow up and recognize this instead of painting Christianity as some ill-defined congregation of social conservatives.”

*Grumble* First of all, Atrios, you’re not a Pittsburgher or WORD-FM listener, and all you read was a vague AP article. You don’t know all the facts. The AP story doesn’t really cover all that was going on. Marty was ill-informed about Catholicism, was unnecessarily harsh to Catholic callers, and generally sounded like a Jack Chick tract at times. I’m all about theological debates. I love ’em. However, if you’re going to be a Christian radio station that wishes to appeal to all major denominations, you need to be more considerate of peoples’s faith. There’s plenty of common ground that can be discussed (ala Mere Christianity). Marty was very biased and didn’t take criticism of his exegesis and hermeneutics well. I didn’t want him fired, but I would have liked him to be more considerate and more intellectually honest.

If you’re thinking of responding to Atrios, be aware that some (most, actually) of the comments are rather unsavory.

For another blogger’s perspective on this issue, check out The Green Knight’s post, “Not a Good Guy“.

“To be blunt, Marty Minto is a religious bigot.”


“He is not a good guy. There is no need to defend him. Yes, theology should be open to debate, like everything else. That doesn’t mean that we should be defending every know-nothing jerk who opens his mouth. That’s the same kind of supine passivity before bigotry that allowed right-wing talk radio to rise to prominence. If theology is to be criticized, that includes the theology of the critic.”

“But it’s not theology that got him fired, anyway; it was tastelessness…”

“The appropriate reaction to the firing of a right-wing bigot is to say, ‘Good.’ Got it?”


Coffee Conversations joins the fray and offers a cryptic reference to Marty’s old show in Phoenix, AZ. Scotwise points to a conversation about Marty at World Magazine Blog he calls “a holy war”.

The Christianity today weblog highlighted the story. Also, WorldNet Daily columnist and WorldView Weekend founder Brannon S. Howse has a hagiographical account of Marty’s firing, making him out to be some sort of Evangelical martyr. He describes Minto’s demeanor on MSNBC’s Scarborourgh Country as “calm, respectful and Christ-like”. I don’t think that’s entirely inaccurate as a description of Marty’s demeanor, even on his own show – unless, of course, you get his dander up about some pet peeve issue. Catholic doctrine is one of them. Amidst Howse’s fawning over Marty, he does make some good points. He worries that WORD-FM’s salt is losing it’s flavor saying, “Perhaps Salem Communications should change its WORD-FM to TOLERANCE-FM or POLITICALLY CORRECT-FM.” I, too, worry that Marty’s show will be replaced with milktoast, but discussing tough issues should involve hearing competent experts from all major sides, something Marty never allowed. Numerous requests were made for Catholic apologists to rebutt his claims, which he consistently rejected. Anyhow, I don’t think Marty’s problems are insurmountable and, like Pat Buchanan, I hope he gets his show back.

Catholic aplogist Jimmy Akin has thrown his cowboy hat into the ring saying, “I don’t see firing somebody because he simply said that it’s not 100% guaranteed that John Paul II is in heaven…Now, if you want to fire somebody because they’re saying that one must be born again in an event apart from baptism and that’s pushing a denominational issue on the Christian community as a whole, feel free.”. Ah, if only it were that simple, Jimmy.

Dr. James White, no friend to Catholicism, has joined the mob of malcontents yelling “Censorship!”, questioning WORD-FM’s commitment to biblical Christianity, and general shooting off their mouths (and blogs) about things they know little or nothing about.

Eric Svendsen, another Protestant apologist, is fuming of Marty’s firing. His first rant on the subject can be found here.

“Be honest, Chuck Gratner. It’s really about money and sponsors, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? It’s really about how much you and your station can line your pockets, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? It’s really about the embarrassment and shame that accompanies the truth of the gospel, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? It’s really about not having the courage to stand for truth that’s no longer popular in an spiritually adulterous generation, isn’t it Chuck Gratner? That’s just a bit too much to ask, isn’t it? So, as a result you end up being darkness in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, and you end up cloaking the word of life so that the hapless followers of false gospels can be confirmed in their error and feel good about that error. Isn’t that really what it’s all about, Chuck Gratner?”

Don’t hold back, Eric. Tell us what you really think.

“Because his theologically naive, spirit-of-the-age boss, Chuck Gratner – who would rather be politically correct than theologically correct, and who would rather be in the world than in the truth – cowardly decided to sell his birth-right and sing Kumbaya with a man who his entire papal career proclaimed a ‘gospel’ that is antithetical to the apostolic gospel and cannot therefore save anyone, who led millions down the path to destruction by means of that ‘gospel,’ and who in the end relied on Mary to save him. Is there any doubt in the mind of anyone who takes the Scriptures as his final authority that the pope can’t possibly be in heaven? NO ONE goes to heaven based on the Roman Catholic ‘gospel,’ even if some make it there in spite of that gospel. NO ONE goes to heaven who relies for his salvation one the mother of the One mediator between man and God!”

It’s nice to see that clown colleges are still producing fine graduates.

Local blog, Honsberger is a Liar, had the following to say, noting that Marty appeared on his former competitor’s program on Friday.

“I’m really not sure where to begin here. Minto was told he was being fired for ‘alienating’ WORD listeners. Maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t. Fred and Marty did spend some time criticizing the Catholic Church’s worship of Mary and the Saints in roundabout ways. Mostly at the level of ‘It’s not Biblical, but if that’s what they believe that’s fine.’ Interesting religious relativism, if you ask me.”


“‘All according to Marty’s understanding of the Bible.’ That’s what happens when sola scriptura is a guiding principle. Private exegesis is a sure way to heterodoxy and heresy. Perhaps that’s too strong a statement for some people. To them I’d say that one should at least recognize that private exegesis eliminates the possibility of a single gold-standard interpretation by which all others can be compared.”

Catholic blog Ut Unum Sint offers the following.

“The fact of the matter is that this guy was spewing rank anti-Catholic bigotry. If he was spewing antisemitism, people would be up in arms. That people are defending him shows that anti-Catholicism is indeed the ‘last acceptable prejudice.’ The radio station clearly realizes it has a wide audience and it needs to be positive, and not let its airtime be spent alienating a large block of listeners because of one man’s ignorant views.”

“It’s one thing to discuss differences–it’s something else to simply be offensive.”

Jeffrey Dubner of Tapped thinks Minto’s firing was the result of the prevailing red state mentality in this country.

“We’ve reached a bizarre place where no conservative religious belief can be challenged in polite society. Pat Buchanan spent last night’s Scarborough Country interviewing Marty Minto, a pastor who believes Pope John Paul II will not make it to heaven because he wasn’t born again. Minto said that he doesn’t believe Jews or, say, the Chinese can get to heaven either. It’s no exaggeration to say that this sort of uncompromisingly intolerant religious belief is now not only given a free pass, but sought out and promoted — particularly on cable television.”

Here’s my buddy Rob’s response to this whole mess at Unspace.

“Marty Minto is a human being, a fellow Christian, and a man. For all three reasons, I sympathized with him. Far too often, I’ve experienced some form of schadenfreude at someone else’s misfortune, and I don’t like that about myself. That’s not who I wish to be. From what he’s said on his show, I doubt he’d consider me a Christian. That was one more reason to gloat, and the best reason not to. Because someone does not treat me well cannot be allowed to affect how I respond. I learned that lesson over and over as a paramedic. No Christian should rejoice at the misfortune of others.”


“Let’s face it. This whole episode is another chance for some to mock Jesus and how we, His followers, don’t follow what He said. That can’t ever be good.”

“I don’t know enough to comment on whether his firing was right or not. As a blogger, my natural tendency is to reject censorship by any outside force. Silencing someone does not convert them, and it may make things worse (as Eric Rudolph seems so evilly intent on proving). But WORD-FM is a business, not a charity for free speech.”

“So instead, let me extend my sympathies to the Rev. Marty Minto and wish him well, hoping that he continues to grow in Christ – things I would wish for everyone. The same goes for Powerball (who runs a great blog, by the way – I need to add it to my rather eclectic blogroll), Chris Buda (who is temporarily at least taking over the show) and whoever eventually takes over the talk show. I do hope for someone a little less extreme, althogh the history of the hosts of the 3 to 6 pm talk slot on WORD doesn’t offer much hope.”

Well said, Rob.

Other blogs weighing in:

Capital Region People: “Amazing breach of Free Speech”
Wittenberg Gate: “Marty Minto and the Offense of Gospel Speak”
Opinion Bug: “Talk Show Host Fired For Questiong Catholic Beliefs”

There also various interesting responses to Powerball’s initial post.

Pray that the Lord guides Marty swiftly to suitable employment elsewhere. Also pray that his replacement follows his example of challenging people to know, understand, and live their faith. I fear for WORD FM listeners if his successor merely tickles their ears and tells them what they want to hear.

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About Funky Dung

Who is Funky Dung? 29-year-old grad student in Intelligent Systems (A.I.) at the University of Pittsburgh. I consider myself to be politically moderate and independent and somewhere between a traditional and neo-traditional Catholic. I was raised Lutheran, spent a number of years as an agnostic, and joined the Catholic Church at the 2000 Easter Vigil. Why Funky Dung? I haven't been asked this question nearly as many times as you or I might expect. Funky Dung is a reference to an obscure Pink Floyd song. On the album Atom Heart Mother, there is a track called Atom Heart Mother Suite. It's broken up into movements, like a symphony, and one of the movements is called Funky Dung. I picked that nickname a long time ago (while I was still in high school I think), shortly after getting an internet connection for the first time. To me it means "cool/neat/groovy/spiffy stuff/crap/shiznit", as in "That's some cool stuff, dude!" Whence Ales Rarus? I used to enjoy making people guess what this means, but I've decided to relent and make it known to all. Ales Rarus is a Latin play on words. "Avis rarus" means "a rare bird" and carries similar meaning to "an odd fellow". "Ales" is another Latin word for bird that carries connotations of omens, signs of the times, and/or augery. If you want to get technical, both "avis" and "ales" are feminine (requiring "rara", but they can be made masculine in poetry (which tends to breaks lots of rules). I decided I'd rather have a masculine name in Latin. ;) Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? :-P Wherefore blog? It is my intention to "teach in order to lead others to faith" by being always "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful" through the "use of the communications media". I also act knowing that I "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [my] opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and [I] have a right to make [my] opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward [my and their] pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (adapted from CCC 904-907) Statement of Faith I have been baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, therefore, renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements. I hold and profess all that is contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That is, I promote and defend authentic Catholic Teaching and Faith in union with Christ and His Church and in union with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter. Thanks be unto Thee, O my God, for all Thy infinite goodness, and, especially, for the love Thou hast shown unto me at my Confirmation. I Give Thee thanks that Thou didst then send down Thy Holy Spirit unto my soul with all His gifts and graces. May He take full possession of me for ever. May His divine unction cause my face to shine. May His heavenly wisdom reign in my heart. May His understanding enlighten my darkness. May His counsel guide me. May His knowledge instruct me. May His piety make me fervent. May His divine fear keep me from all evil. Drive from my soul, O Lord, all that may defile it. Give me grace to be Thy faithful soldier, that having fought the good fight of faith, I may be brought to the crown of everlasting life, through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Behind the Curtain: an Interview With Funky Dung (Thursday, March 03, 2005) I try to avoid most memes that make their way 'round the blogosphere (We really do need a better name, don't we?), but some are worth participating in. Take for instance the "interview game" that's the talk o' the 'sphere. I think it's a great way to get to know the people in neighborhood. Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhod? In your neigh-bor-hoo-ood...*smack* Sorry, Sesame Street flashback. Anyhow, I saw Jeff "Curt Jester" Miller's answers and figured since he's a regular reader of mine he'd be a good interviewer. Without further ado, here are my answers to his questions. 1. Being that your pseudonym Funky Dung was chosen from a Pink Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother, what is you favorite Pink Floyd song and why? Wow. That's a tuffy. It's hard to pick out a single favorite. Pink Floyd isn't really a band known for singles. They mostly did album rock and my appreciation of them is mostly of a gestalt nature. If I had to pick one, though, it'd be "Comfortably Numb". I get chills up my spine every time I hear it and if it's been long enough since the last time, I get midty-eyed. I really don't know why. That's a rather unsatisfying answer for an interview, so here are the lyrics to a Rush song. It's not their best piece of music, but the lyrics describe me pretty well.

New World Man He's a rebel and a runner He's a signal turning green He's a restless young romantic Wants to run the big machine He's got a problem with his poisons But you know he'll find a cure He's cleaning up his systems To keep his nature pure Learning to match the beat of the old world man Learning to catch the heat of the third world man He's got to make his own mistakes And learn to mend the mess he makes He's old enough to know what's right But young enough not to choose it He's noble enough to win the world But weak enough to lose it --- He's a new world man... He's a radio receiver Tuned to factories and farms He's a writer and arranger And a young boy bearing arms He's got a problem with his power With weapons on patrol He's got to walk a fine line And keep his self-control Trying to save the day for the old world man Trying to pave the way for the third world man He's not concerned with yesterday He knows constant change is here today He's noble enough to know what's right But weak enough not to choose it He's wise enough to win the world But fool enough to lose it --- He's a new world man...
2. What do you consider your most important turning point from agnosticism to the Catholic Church. At some point in '99, I started attending RCIA at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I mostly went to ask a lot of obnoxious Protestant questions. Or at least that's what I told myself. I think deep down I wanted desperately to have faith again. At that point I think I'd decided that if any variety of Christianity had the Truth, the Catholic Church did. Protestantism's wholesale rejection of 1500 years of tradition didn't sit well with me, even as a former Lutheran. During class one week, Sister Bernadette Young (who runs the program) passed out thin booklet called "Handbook for Today's Catholic". One paragraph in that book spoke to me and I nearly cried as I read it.
"A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate lack of faith. They may be just the opposite - a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer 'makes sense' to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says is one thing. To gain insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, 'Seek and you will find.' The person who seeks y reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees the light. The person who talks to God even when God is 'not there' is alive with faith."
At the end of class I told Sr. Bernadette that I wanted to enter the Church at the next Easter vigil. 3. If you were a tree what kind of, oh sorry about that .. what is the PODest thing you have ever done? I set up WikiIndex, a clearinghouse for reviews of theological books, good, bad, and ugly. It has a long way to go, but it'll be cool when it's finished. :) 4. What is your favorite quote from Venerable John Henry Newman? "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." 5. If you could ban one hymn from existence, what would it be? That's a tough one. As a member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, there are obviously a lot of songs that grate on my nerves. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably pick "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" by Ernie Sands.

12 thoughts on “Bye, Bye, Marty

  1. Rob

    Christians suing Christians proves that we do not take the gospel seriously. Plenty of non-Christians will have their ideas about Christianity confirmed if such a lawsuit is filed.

    Come to think of it, there’s a lot of us Christians who will have their ideas about fellow Christians confirmed by that lawsuit.

  2. Rob


    At least I’m self-employed. I can’t be fired for blogging what I think. How people react at church might be a different matter, but one I’m prepared to deal with.

    How about you?

    If Marty speaks with an attorney, that will be disappointing. Somehow, Christians suing Christians just looks real bad.

    So tell me, how do we heal the Christian community and the Christians from this hurt?

  3. Jerry Nora

    It’s too bad. I would rather have a big Christian personality (okay, big with regard to Pittsburgh!) who would rally Catholics and Orthodox, rather than have a link on his personal website to “Good News for Catholics”, to teach us Catholics what the Bible really says. But we do need challenging folk as well, and I pray that this is not a symptom that WORD is becoming another easy-listening station, so to speak.

  4. Steve Nicoloso

    So was he fired because:

    a) he called The Purpose-Driven [Insert Purpose-Deprived Thing] the moral, therapeutic, deistic schlock that it is?

    b) because he was an ill-informed anti-Catholic bigot?

    If (a) that really is too bad, and confirms my thesis that “safe” Christian Radio is anything but… If (b) then… well… that still seems like no reason to fire him. Seems we still all benefit from folks stirring up the stew a bit…

    We have a “Christian” Radio station here in N. Jersey that goes on-and-on now about how “safe for your whole family” they are. But I really have to wonder just how “safe” their milk-toast programming and profoundly insipid music really is… I have to wonder how many people will try to enter by the wide gate and broad way exactly because it seemed “safe.” “Safe” is exactly what mainstream CCM and X-ian broadcast radio is trying to be… and I can’t help but wonder just how dangerous being “safe” really is… Give me bare boobs @ the Superbowl anyday over this…


  5. John

    We live in a predominantly Christian country. Christians sue Christians every day, and it does no remarkable harm.

    Also, I don’t know that non-Christian radio stations pose a particular threat to children. We spend an awful lot of time and energy protecting children from some media threat which has never really been demonstrated to exist.

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