Printed Letters: August 22, 2017

Former churchgoer cannot support Trump

Today I left the church after 61 years of church membership. I’ve taught Sunday School and read my Bible until it fell apart. I met my wife of 37 years while doing mission work. I even wrote a hymn once. But today I left the church.

When I was a child, adults in church ridiculed Martin Luther King Jr. who, like Christ, was murdered because of his compassion for the oppressed. As a young adult, my church condoned harming the environment since the world would end anyway with Christ’s return. As an older adult, I heard twice-divorced church members misuse scripture to condemn loving same-sex relationships.

Recently I’ve seen too many church members elect and support a president who undermines truth, obstructs justice, admires tyrants, colludes with the enemy, bullies the weak, and brags about sexually assaulting women.

For me, Charlottesville was the last straw. Many church members continue supporting Trump, who only when under pressure gave lip service to condemning hate crime murder by a white supremacist, only to flip-flop, laying blame instead on those like Heather Heyer who risked their lives protesting hate that Trump empowers.

And General Lee? He led thousands to senseless death defending America’s Original Sin; Lee was a rebel against our nation and God’s will to end slavery.

So today, I feel spiritually compelled to leave the church. I join many who can no longer be counted among church members who still support Trump. As I leave the church, I see the steeple and realize for some church members, the “t” on the steeple still represents the Cross of Christ and I support your staying. But for many, the “t” on the top of a steeple closely resembles the “t” of Trump Tower. And we will not bow down to it.

To the Trump supporters who now realize how bad Trump is, I’ve never thought of you as “deplorables;” you voted your conscience. But now we know and I humbly request your help in peaceful, lawful efforts to remove Trump and his congressional supporters from office.

DAN FORD
Fruita

Anyone with a conscience will grieve at racial enmity

Anyone with a conscience will be grieving at the rise of racial enmity in our nation. While we hear many decrying the hatred, violence, and division, to whom can we look to find leadership in love, peace, and unity? Who is leading with their soul rather than their agenda?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in elected leadership who can’t seem to overcome their own partisan animosity and work together in healing our nation. One party’s agenda is to bring down the other party (and the president, too). In light of all the vicious character slander during elections and beyond, why doesn’t anyone condemn the Democrats’ or Republicans’ lust for supremacy?

I don’t have a lot of confidence that institutional religion will fill that role. Generally speaking, self-righteous, sectarian churches have taken greater interest in partisan religion (and politics) than to busy themselves in teaching and demonstrating the values of love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.

We have fallen a long way in one generation from what Dr. Martin Luther King said:

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

While we are right to condemn the violence that is rising, we might also fear the possibility that we have no “soul force” to fight with.

TIMOTHY KING
Grand Junction

Gray Gourmet an essential and appreciated service

I am writing in strong support of both Jim Spehar’s column and Ben Herman’s very articulate commentary on the Gray Gourmet program in Mesa County and the county commissioners’ poor treatment of this most essential and valued service.

Several years ago, while director of nursing at St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center, I encouraged my nursing managers to join me in volunteering several hours each week to a worthy community service. We selected the Gray Gourmet service and after each volunteer day, talked about a caring experience we came away from that day of volunteering. These caring encounters made each of us better nurses and individuals … the poignant experiences from being the only people they interacted with each day and their eagerness to visit with us to their incredible appreciation for the meal they were provided from the Gray Gourmet program. And, like Mr. Herman so well articulated, I, too, found the very dedicated and caring staff to be so committed to the mission of the program.

So, to read the very shortsighted decision by our county commissioners to change the rent structure for the Gray Gourmet building when this program is such a needy and worthy service to a very deserving population in Mesa County is very disturbing. The “business decision” by our county commissioners is clearly not impactful to the county’s overall budget and I urge each of them to immediately rethink their decision and image themselves as Mesa County residents who might “someday” be in need of this very valued, appreciated and needed service.

KAREN HILDEBRANDT
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Ms. Hildebrandt, thanks for your very thoughtful letter today. The problem is that the commissioners are only following the prevailing political ethic locally. “Welfare” is only necessary when people are not being responsible members of society and providing for themselves. Even though the amount of money involved here is minimal it is the principle of the thing. Taxes, regardless of the amount, are a burden and should not be authorized. The Gray Gourmet problem is just another of the selfish moves local people approve of because of a strong political principle that is contrary to the basic principle upon which democracy is based. In their world we are absolutely NOT our brother’s keeper. We live in a county of proud self-described,  self-sufficient frontiersmen and women — until they often inevitably need help they didn’t forsee. Funny how that works! Or not so funny.

Dan Ford, yours is a completely amazing letter. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s wonderful to hear from someone who “gets it.” We’d love to have you as a guest speaker at a meeting of Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers. We meet on the first Sunday of every month, at 3:00 p.m. at a local coffee bar. If you are interested in attending as our guest, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Coffee will be on us!

Kudos to Dan Ford and Timothy King for exposing – and courageously repudiating – the spurious “religious” underpinnings of contemporary racism.  Would that men and women of good conscience (especially Republicans) across our Nation embrace their sentiments in response to the ongoing debate over Confederate statuary.

Unfortunately, for some self-anointed evangelical “leaders” (and their local apologists), it is apparently not enough that unabashed White Supremacists, cross-burning KKKers, and swastikaed neo-Nazis felt compelled to defend those statues (and the “Confederate flag”) and committed vehicular homicide in Charlottesville.  Instead, they continue to embrace the false equivalencies spouted by our “racist-in-chief” and parrot his lame excuses.

For example, in his Sunday letter, Mesa’s Dave Kearsley sophomorically claimed that “It is extremists of any stripe who think that rewriting history is a good thing”, when the statuary itself was part of a seditious campaign to rewrite the history of the Civil War and to obfuscate the sordid history of Slavery and the wave of lynchings, church burnings, and Jim Crow apartheid that followed the end of Reconstruction in the defeated South.

Closely related is the myth perpetrated by some that the Civil War was never about Slavery at all – but rather about “states rights”, economics, and/or “preserving a way of life”.  Thus, after release of the movie
“Birth of a Nation” in 1915, the “United Daughters of the Confederacy” sponsored the erection of monuments as far north as Helena, Montana (removed last Friday)—insisting that their ancestors fought nobly for
“states rights” (and that children should be taught White Supremacy).

However, the Proclamations of Secession promulgated by each of the Confederate states confirm that their primary reason for rebellion was the imperative to defend and extend Slavery in the face of newly-elected President Lincoln’s purported intent to abolish it.  While white Southern politicians (who became military officers) certainly fought and died for their States’ right to “preserve their way of life” – based as it was on the perverted economics of Slavery – most of the ordinary soldiers who died for them were not slave-owners, but “only pawns in thar game”.

In fact, Lincoln was not an Abolitionist, avoided the issue of Slavery in order to preserve the loyalty of Border States, and pursued his Constitutional duty to “preserve the Union”.

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