Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. Responds to Weekly Query

Over the weekend, Christian philanthropist extraordinaire and Weekly reader Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. responded to my post asking whether he'd buy a new property for Newport Beach's St. James Episcopal Church because they're currently homeless for casting their theological lot with a homo-hating Ugandan. His email is below.

Dear Gustavo,

I am not going to answer any questions on Capistrano, because I don't really understand the situation there. I did that on the recommendation of my chief of staff. [Gustavo note: Ahmanson here is responding to a previous inquiry I submitted on behalf of Weekly college fellow Spencer Kornhaber, who wants to know why Ahmanson donated about $36,000 to the Capo Unified madness) What I know about Capistrano is that they have a cool place called Ramos House and that I had a party there a couple of years ago where I gave out as party favors Ry Cooder's CD Chavez Ravine.

But to your entry of January 13, I should respond. First, in Christianity, philanthropy, to some extent, is for everybody – we call it the “tithe” – and St. James would not expect me to build them a building singlehandedly, even if I was so inclined. I have supported their legal defense fund, and so have a number of other people, members and not. Needless to say, I am furious that they and the other faithful remnants are squatters in their own church, but it's not my job to throw money at the situation, any more than it's the government's job to just throw money at things.

I need to report that I am no longer a member of St. James Anglican Church of the Archdiocese of Uganda. It was not because I dissented in any way from their decision, but that we didn't like a rector that they had for a few years. The new one is probably fine, but we are now comfortably established in [name redacted by me out of respect for Ahmanson's privacy] The membership and culture there proved more amenable to our cultural interests. And they don't expect us to build a building for them either.

By the way, did anyone at OC Weekly cover the Rescue Mission Village of Hope/Pacific Symphony gala weekend last September? Yes, you read that right. That was a project we sponsored. And we have been supporting the Frieda Belinfante Class Act program at Pacific Symphony for some years now. As Rick Warren would say, there's a lot more to 
life than homophobia and “pro-life.”

Sincerely yours,

Howard Ahmanson

Gracias for answering, Howard! And keep commenting!

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