Bye, Bye, Marty

Marty makes the blogs: Part 2

Poor Powerball is still knee-deep in this madness.

“I’m dishearten by many of the things I’ve seen in the press. I’m disappointed how this whole thing has been handled. Just know many of the things being said are false, at best there are only pieces of truth out there. “

Meanwhile, conservative uber-blogger LaShawn Barber has given us her take on things.

“The freedom to share the Gospel as taught in the Bible was why the Reformation took place. There was a time when people were being burned at the stake for not believing that bread was the literal body of Christ or that the mother of Jesus was sinless. While Marty Minto is no Martin Luther, he was doing what the Reformation gave him and others freedom to do. ‘Alienating listeners’ is just a new cover on the same old, rotten book.”

LaShawn is an interesting blogger and I respect her opinions, but I think she’s way off the mark here. Marty is not a martyr for the Reformation. He’s a good guy with a loud mouth and chip on his shoulder. Even if he’s right about the Catholic Church (Obviously I don’t think he is), he certainly wasn’t winning any souls to his side with his demeanor. You’ll win more friends with honey than vinegar, friend. That doesn’t mean obfuscating the Gospelto make it more palatable. I just means meeting people where they are in life and loving them as Christ would. They will know we are Christians by our love.

Eric Ragle at Evangelical Underground seems to be convinced that some sort of conspiracy to placate Catholic listeners was responsible for Marty’s firing. He also seems to think local reporters are infallible and assumes that they actually listened to the show prior to reporting the story. From the comments:

Me: “Please don’t go down this road. As a Christian and particularly as a Catholic I beg of you not to start making unfounded accusations (or hinting at any).”

ER: “How is this [accusation of Catholic discrimination] unfounded? Don’t you think it suspicious that the Diocese had not complained about Minto but the radio station called them to announce he had been fired?

Forget all of the religious implication. Is it suspicious or not?”

Me: “It’s confusing and odd, but I wouldn’t leap to suspicious. I’ve seen this story generate a lot of awful, venomous anti-Catholic bigotry. To merely say ‘It’s suspicious’ without being more specific, is inviting people to assume the diocese was lying. I find it odd that the diocese was contacted, but given that they freely offered that odd fact, I doubt that they conspired with station management to get Marty fired.

Another important point – Marty was fired for more than just the pope thing. That week-long highly biased appraisal of Catholic doctrines was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. You can find the official press release from WORD-FM, as well as comments from Marty?s producer, on my blog, by the way.”

ER: “Well I’m certainly not implying that the diocese is at fault, but I do think that the radio may have been looking to score points with the diocese, thus the notification.

What else would WORD-FM have us believe [than that he was fired for more than the pope thing]?”

Me: “As a listener of the show, I can assure you that his abrasiveness extended well beyond Catholicism.”

ER: “I mean absolutely no offense whatsoever, but at this point I think we couldn’t exactly classify you as unbiased. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Me: “Most of the time Marty didn’t talk about Catholic doctrine. Frankly, if he did, I probably would have given up battling windmills and listened to a different station. Therefore, most of the time I was listening as just another Christian with no more or less bias than any other Christian. There was a lot I liked about Marty’s show, but there were alos a number of things I disliked. His treatment of callers he disagreed with often left something to be desired. He was alos rather uncritical of his own doctrinal beliefs. For a man who didn’t want to be under a pope, he certainly pontificated like one. It would have been nice if he didn’t automatically assume his positions were right and go from there. Some intellectual honesty and willingness to put his beliefs to test (by his own standards of Scripture interpreting Scripture, even) from time to time would have gone a long way.

I notice you’ve posted the Scarborough Country transcript and highlighted the bit where Marty mentions his producer. His producer (Shaun ‘Powerball’ Pierce) didn’t fire him. Nor did he ask that he be fired. If you ever actually read his blog (, you’d know that he and Marty are friends. Shaun has had to deal with a lot of false and hurtful accusations because of this mess. Please don’t add to them.”

ER: “Look, I realize you’ve taken it upon yourself to issue some damage control in this situation, but I’m not adding anything to this situation, only relating facts. The significance of his producer being Catholic is big and needs to be noted for people to make accurate judgements.

I normally don’t allow external links, but in order to allow your defense, I’ll let it remain. You have yet to answer my question regarding your obvious bias in this situation. “

Me: “1) I confess I did not read your comment policy before posting that link. I’m sorry.
2) Does being Catholic affect my view of the situation? Yes. Doesn’t being an Evangelical affect yours?
3) Let’s be clear. On the whole, I like Marty and I enjoyed his show. I am not out to demonize him.
4) Should Marty have been fired? I really don’t know. I’m not privy to a lot of the behind-the-scenes info. However, as a daily listener to the show, I know what Marty’s on-air demeanor was like. His views on Catholic doctrine annoyed me – mostly in how badly he misunderstood them – but that didn’t stop me from listening to or enjoying the show. If his coverage of Catholicism is what got him fired, I’ll eat my words and be very disappointed with WORD-FM and other responsible parties. However, there were many other issues that he handled very poorly and he often lacked compassion for people in their suffering. For instance, he refused to believe that alcoholism or any other addiction might have a biophysical component that might impair someone’s will and relieve some of their culpability for their sins. Marty has, on the whole, a good on-air presense, is a nice guy, and is interesting to listen to. On the other hand, sometimes he crossed lines.

I just read the comment policies and found no explicit or implicit prohibition on external links unless you deem them to be ‘anti-christ’.

For the record, I’m not ‘attempting to flame or start another ridiculous debate’ or ‘take a shot at the champ’. I just want people to ‘[p]lease be respectful’ because they ‘just might learn something new’. I don’t think anyone but those parties directly involved really know all the reasons why Marty was fired. I fail to see how conjecture based on incomplete and poor researched media reports enlightens anyone or shows them the love and saving power of Jesus Christ. “

ER: “And an avid ‘listener of the show can assume to know more than local reporters?

You’ve begun to contradict yourself. I’m pulling the plug on this one. “

That comment thread is now closed. I find it ironic that someone claiming that Marty was censored by Catholic discrimination was so quick to pull the plug on me.

Fellow Christian Carnival contributor Byron Harvey, of A Ticking Time Blog, offers some intelligent thoughts on the matter.

“I like Marty; the few times I’ve chosen to grit out the bad reception and listen to him, I think he’s done a pretty good job. When I heard of his firing this week, I dashed off a personal email to him, thanking him for his good work. And I prepared to go blog’s-a-blazin’ with righteous indignation directed squarely at WORD-FM and any bystanders who might have happened too close by….Having had a pretty bad experience personally with WORD-FM,…I figured that I had all the grist I needed to let loose with both cannons.”

“But a funny thing happened on the way to the blog”

“In doing my fact-checking at WORD-FM, I happened upon a link to an article for pastors written by Ron Walters, the Vice-President for Church Relations for Salem Communications, the parent company of WORD-FM. Reading Ron’s pedigree, and having an honest desire to fix the problems I see vis a vis Christian media -rather than merely rail at them – I decided to email Ron to get his side of the story…I was a bit abrupt in my first email to him; I told him that, because of a previous experience, I didn’t have a lot of regard for either WORD-FM nor for Salem, but that I’d give him a chance to respond to my questions; to wit, 1.) was there ‘more than met the eye’ regarding Marty’s firing? And 2.) would the station have fired Marty merely for entertaining a question regarding the state of the pope’s soul. Ron’s answers to me were that yes, there was more to the story than was being reported while at the same time, I should point out that Ron was very clear in his respect for Marty and his ministry, and that, no, Marty would not have been fired merely for this.”


“…Are we doing our homework before we cut loose? Or are we only getting one side of the story? It seems to me that we need to take the extra few minutes to check out both sides….There is a time and place to criticize, and no one who reads this blog with any regularity would think I shied away from that. But I want to be part of the solution to the problems with Christian media, and if I can build a platform for doing that by showing some restraint, then restraint will be the order of the day. And the order of the blog”

It’s nice to see that at least one Evangelical isn’t going off half-cocked.

Get Religion has finally reported on this story. Unfortunately, the coverage is rather anemic and apparently entirely based on the Tribune-Review article. No additional digging was done. The assumption is made that the article accurately reports the reason for Marty’s firing. I’m not convinced. The piece ends with Terry Mattingly mentioning a mildly interesting point about Catholics listening to Evangelical radio stations. *yawn* Aren’t the consipracy theories flooding the blogosphere more interesting and worth shedding some light on?

In more exciting news, Marty has issued a statement to “Friends and Supporters” via his website. It’s too long to quote here. I’ll assume folks go there and read it for themselves. Suffice to say that he’s perpetuating the conspiracy theories I’ve seen on numerous blogs. He also makes some comments about WORD-FM general manager Chuck Gratner that may or may not be true. He also fails to see the difference between being a talented radio personality and being appropriate for a Christian station. It’s not inconsistent for Gratner and the station to reward him for his accomplishments and to also fire him for not meeting expectations.

On a side note, I hate to kick a man when he’s down, but would it have hurt for him to use a spelling/grammar checker? It’s one thing to butcher English on the air when you don’t have a grammar or pronunciation aid handy. It just looks sloppy when it’s typed up as his ‘official’ rebuttal for the world to see.

This entry was posted in communication and media, news and current events, philosophy and religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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.

  6. Pingback: Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Jerry Bowyer and the Catholic Church

  7. Pingback: Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » I Want Manna, Not Mammon

  8. Pingback: Apology Forthcoming @ Ales Rarus

  9. Pingback: After the Fire @ Ales Rarus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *