Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

August 18, 2008

‘Crazy’ pastor says he is seeking dialogue

Several pastors associated with this year’s presidential candidates have been described as crazy, extreme or fanatical.

For individuals seeking the highest public office, mere association with labels like these can mean political death. But one Goshen pastor is claiming “crazy” for himself, and calling it a good thing.

At five locations in Elkhart County, drivers are speeding by billboards that read “Obama Had One, McCain Had Two: Let Me Be Your Crazy Reverend!” The billboards are advertisements for Crossroads Community Church of the Nazarene, located at the intersection of C.R.s 17 and 18 in Goshen.

They’re getting attention from more than Goshenites. An unknown photographer snapped a picture of one when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama visited Concord High School last Wednesday. The photo has since popped up on countless political blogs, including the popular Politico.com.

The attention is exactly what Marc Royer, lead pastor at Crossroads, was hoping for.

“My thing has always been, ‘Let’s get the dialogue going,’” said Royer, sitting poolside at his Goshen home, which doubles as his office.

Royer came up with the idea when the media’s eye was focused on comments made by Barack Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Royer was watching a TV interview with another politician who was asked, “So do you have a crazy reverend, too?”

“OK, boom, I’ve got it,” Royer said he thought to himself. “That’s it.”

“The Wright thing was so hypocritical,” he said. “To put so much on some pastor’s diatribe...”

Then came endorsements of Republican presidential candidate John McCain by Revs. John Hagee and Rod Parsley, both controversial figures themselves.

But the controversy was overblown, according to Royer. Crossroads’ billboards were meant to inject some humor into a situation people were taking too seriously.

“I got ticked off, because we’re making too big of a deal of it,” he said. “People come to church to worship. Preachers preach, (and) you take what you can apply. What you can’t apply you leave there. It’s like eating chicken. You chew the meat and spit out the bones ... We’re pastors but we’re human beings.

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