These four (4) posts -- The Lambs and
the Lions Series -- were posted
to a several internet newsgroups in early September 1999.
1/4 THE LAMBS AND THE LIONS:
The SBU "Questions of the Heart" PETITION and BOYCOTT
LOST LAMBS, LOST SHEPHERDS
As we were preparing the "QUESTIONS OF HEART"
PETITION and the "CHANGE OF HEART" BOYCOTT
of Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri
this past weekend, an observer interrupted us with
This observer noted that it was naive to believe
that this degree of unethical and potentially criminal
activity could continue for so long without the full
cooperation, or at least the tacit consent, of the
Missouri and Southern Baptist Conventions.
A number of Trustees, current and former, are likely
to be implicated in some varying fashion, among them:
a Congressman; a Governor; a Supreme Court Judge
of the State of Missouri; two former Presidents of
the Southern Baptist Convention, and a myriad of
prominent Southern Baptist pastors and businessmen.
The observer reasoned, if these individuals feared
the laws of either God or man, these matters would
have been dealt with responsibly and justly long ago.
The observer asked:
"How can you proceed when even the shepherds are
corrupt, when both the Missouri or Southern Baptist
Conventions seem to have become little more than
Christian organizations and corporations primarily
dedicated to shielding wrongdoers from prosecution
and the political, social, financial or criminal
consequences of their misconduct?"
Well, the shepherds may be corrupt ...
but, nonetheless, we will proceed with the
Petition because we believe in the common morality
and decency of the Southern Baptists as a people
of a good God.
We still believe what our parents and Sunday school
teachers taught us: that God looks out for the lilies
of the fields and each little sparrow; that He is
a God who would not break even a "bruised reed,"
and a God who searches for and rejoices over each
prodigal son and each lost lamb.
Even if the shepherds have become lost, we believe
that God will seek the lost lambs -- and the
lost shepherds -- for His sake and for ours.
Even so, the "QUESTIONS OF HEART" should be asked
and answered ... for the good of all involved.
ENTERING THE LIONS' DEN ...
As we were preparing to post the revised "QUESTIONS
OF HEART" and enter into "the den of lions" (or wolves),
an individual intervened to offer assistance.
For the past few days, several individuals have aided
us in preparing formal inquiries and cooperating
with queries from several state and federal agencies.
The first week of September, formal complaints will
be mailed to these agencies and then posted to the
WORD OF HONOR
As part of several investigations and inquiries, these
letters will formally invite each member of the SBU
governance, past and present, to sign documentation
giving their "word of honor" that they, individually
and collectively, did NOT participate in and have NO
knowledge of any unethical or illegal conduct against
a student or other individual.
If the shepherds be truly lost, we pray they find their
way home ... quickly ... before the letters arrive at:
*the Department of Education (Accreditation and Eligibility
*the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools (NCA);
*the Missouri Department of Agriculture;
*the Missouri Department of Education;
*the Missouri State Board of Nursing;
*the Missouri Department of Insurance;
*the Missouri Public Service Commission;
*the Department of Education Student Financial Assistance
Programs, Region 7 (NDSL),
*the Environmental Protection Agency,
and *the Congressional Ethics Committee, among others.
THE LION LYING ... WITH THE LAMB
The revised "QUESTIONS OF THE HEART" PETITION will
be distributed in its entirety by September 3, 1999.
During the first week of September, once the PETITION
is distributed and before beginning the actual Boycott,
a representative will approach the SBU governance
with a reasonable, written proposal.
If accepted, this proposal will resolve at least one
portion of the conflict. It is hoped that the SBU
governance will take this opportunity to rectify ALL
the outstanding disputes over the upcoming Labor Day
Holiday (September 4-6, 1999).
If the proposal is denied and no progress is made
toward settling these conflicts, the "CHANGE OF HEART"
BOYCOTT will commence on September 7, 1999.
However, before beginning the distribution of the
revised "QUESTIONS OF THE HEART" PETITION this
coming weekend, we have for you a story, a true story.
Though we have skirmished, in our endeavors to obtain
the truth, with many lions, we have also encountered
more than one lamb.
We would like to tell you about one ...
A GENTLE LAMB GOING HOME
As you know, a portion of the "QUESTIONS OF THE HEART"
Petition concerns the abuse of pesticides on the SBU
When we began the quest to determine the toxicity
and potential long-term effects of these pesticides
we enlisted the assistance of Cindy Duehring.
We say that we enlisted her, perhaps it is more accurate
to say -- she enlisted us.
With the gentleness of a lamb vitalized by the
fortitude and ferocity of a lion, Cindy won us over.
In 1986, Cindy founded the nonprofit Environmental
Access Research Network (EARN), which is now the
research arm of the Chemical Injury Information Network
(CIIN), which is considered the world's leading support
advocacy organization for the chemically injured,
serving members in 34 different countries.
In 1997, Cindy was awarded the Right Livelihood Award
(the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize) for her tremendous
efforts for the chemically injured.
Her impeccable research has been invaluable to us and
her indomitable spirit is an inspiration.
Her own personal story and experiences, though, have
troubled us -- they were all too similar to the experiences
of a number of individuals who were exposed to pesticides
on the SBU campus.
In 1986, as a pre-med studies at Pacific Lutheran University
in Tacoma, Washington, Cindy was studying to be a doctor...
when fleas invaded her apartment.
"I'll make sure you never have another flea in here as
long as you live," the exterminator told her.
He assured her (as he was saturating her clothes with
the nozzle of the spray tank) that the pesticide was
so "safe" that "a baby could lick it off the floor."
He killed the fleas, but the pesticides were far from
Later, Cindy learned that the exterminator had combined
two pesticides, one of which wasn't even legal for indoor
use. (The pesticides were the organophosphates, Diazinon
and Dursban, both related to the nerve-gas Sarin).
"Had I been aware of the chemical's toxicity and that
its use inside a dwelling was a violation of federal law,"
Cindy once explained, "I would have followed the appropriate
regulatory guidelines and disposed of my clothes under
the rules for hazardous waste: instead, I continued
Cindy began suffering from flu-like symptoms, sleep
disturbances, fatigue, problems with concentration and
memory, and neurological problems (numbness, tingling,
tics, lack of coordination, then seizures), but didn't
connect her problems with the pesticides.
After months of puzzling symptoms, an occupational
medicine physician diagnosed her illness -- she had
been poisoned by the pesticides which had been absorbed
through her skin, accumulated in her tissues, and
had damaged her immune, respiratory and nervous systems.
The convulsions and neurological problems were triggered
by pesticide residues on her belongings, so she disposed
of everything she owned and moved out of the apartment.
It was the first of many radical changes which Cindy
endured as she struggled to survive the poisoning of her
body, though her soul and spirit remained invincible.
This past June, our Cindy, the gentle lamb with the lion's
heart -- the heart of the Lion of Judah -- went home.
In her living and her dying, she has touched each of us.
We would like to share with you something of the life
and death of our friend, Cindy Duehring.
From _The New York Times_, the end of June, 1999
Cindy Duehring -- Modern Day Heroine
Cindy Duehring is dead at 36. She was the 1997 winner of
the Right Livelihood Award (commonly known as the Alternative
Nobel Peace Prize) for research into the sources and effects
of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and the health threats of
Cindy died directly or indirectly of pesticide poisoning.
Fourteen years ago her workplace and home were exterminated
for fleas, with a pesticide that damaged her immune system.
Since then she had to live in a sealed home, and hadn't been
able to see a tree, breath unfiltered air, or step foot outside.
Two years ago, she lost the telephone -- talking on it induced
seizures and was, in effect, completely isolated and cut off
from the world, although she was somehow able to continue her
work. Her husband could only visit her on the weekends, after
all the everyday chemicals like perfume that clung to him
from work were carefully washed away.
I just looked up fortitude in my Roget's Thesaurus and found
the words: bravery, courage, heroism, spirit, strength, valor,
backbone, tenacity -- they all apply. Every minute of every
day was one of survival for Cindy, and yet she generously
worked tirelessly and selflessly, turning her enormous
personal suffering into benefit for others.
Cindy founded the Environmental Access Research Network
(EARN) in 1986 that merged with the Chemical Injury
Information Network (CIIN) in 1994.
Her research was always straight and true, and of great
benefit for all of us who suffer health problems from
exposure to toxic chemicals, and also for protecting
innocent people from being exposed.
There is also another story here, another dimension to
Cindy's suffering. A few people in Cindy's neighborhood
didn't believe Cindy's problems were real. Being told
that spraying for dandelions could kill Cindy, and asked
at the very least to watch the wind direction when spraying,
some went ahead anyway (I have my rights!).
Despite every air filtering device imaginable, every spring
Cindy's health declined precipitously because of this spraying,
and it would take most of the year for her to recover. Fear
of the deadly repercussions of more chemical use muted Cindy
and her family completely.
Those of us who loved Cindy were muted as well. Her devoted
friend and neighbor, ReNae Vorgert, would keep her ears and
eyes peeled for the spraying trucks, and rush to warn Cindy
to turn off her air. This year, the trucks beat the system
by spraying at 5:00 AM when ReNae was asleep.
I thought it was ironic, reading Cindy's obituary this
morning on the AP wire, that there was a need to include
this sentence: Tests by a specialist in environmental
medicine found that pesticides had damaged her immune
system. Years ago, the AMA claimed all of us with this
chemical poisoning syndrome called MCS were emotionally
The horror of Cindy's death will just remain that a horror
unless something illuminating comes out of it for the rest
What? Awareness that modern day synthetic chemicals can
make people very sick and that as a society we need to
take a good long look at the imperative for prudent use.
Awareness that people who are damaged by chemicals suffer
terribly, and in fact have as much to teach as canaries in
the coal mine.
For Cindy it is too late, so I can only hope that the grace
she must have found in her work gave her some comfort.
~~Annie Berthold-Bond is a MCS sufferer and the author
of a number of books, the most recent of which is:
Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less
THE LAMBS AND THE LIONS SERIES
~~Part 1~~ * ~~Part 2~~ * ~~Part 3~~ * ~~Part 4~~
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