The terrorist attacks have resulted in a marvelously robust response from the American people. We are pulling together, and we are reaching out to each other. Unfortunately there is also a tendency to want to strike back. While anger is a normal reaction to grief, we must move beyond anger to resolve our grief and prevent further tragedies.
I was moved by the "clergy view" written by Lutheran pastor Juli Sutton-Deem, which makes a plea to find a faith-based response to the violence. In this regard, I was reminded by Pastor Deb Celley that Jesus himself responded to the violence represented by the Roman state by making Paul, a Roman tax collector, his premier apostle. Eventually, he scored the biggest "win" in modern times - the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. In the 20th century, the Allies prevented a reprise of World War II by befriending our former enemies. Surely, this shows us that there are responses more effective than further violence.
"A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks.
"Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of U.S. casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban don't have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let's offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that includes full stomachs" -- quoted from Kent Madlin.
Let us pray for wisdom in responding in a way that will reduce, not increase, future acts of terrorism and violence.
Patricia W. Scott
Is God a bigot?
Since when is intolerance of sin bigotry? Last week's writer who vilified Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for suggesting God is judging this nation was as intolerant and bigoted as he accused them of being. Calling them bigoted, ignorant and stupid while at the same time espousing an appeal to tolerance of other world views than theirs can hardly be called "mainstream" Americanism. And now he wants to deny them the freedom to express their beliefs.
It seems these two Christian fundamentalists believe the terrorists' acts came as a result of our nation's acceptance of anti-God, humanistic world-views -- homosexuality, feminism, abortion, secular humanism -- in that God used the terrorists to call us back to Him. It reminds us of Old Testament warnings of God's judgment upon Israel through men of God who were often vilified or worse for stating there is a God of judgment who will use evil people or nations to judge a nation that turns its back on Him (Isaiah, Jeremiah, some Psalms and Proverbs, Zephaniah, Malachi to name a few). Their inspired warnings and writings were given under God's direction, and those warnings proved true as the result of Israel's world view --it didn't need God anymore.
God judges a nation. He will often pull back His blessings from a people who reject Him by allowing the natural evil that results from His rejection to fill the void left by that rejection (Romans 1:18-32), He gives them over to their sin.
We have removed God from our schools, our public places, our courts, and some of our churches. We have destroyed the innocent unborn. We call evil, good, and good, evil. We told Him to leave those places. He did. And Sept. 11 may well be a result. God's judgment? You decide. Are Falwell and Robertson bigots? Is God a bigot? You decide.
As we all ponder our future and try to cope and give what we can, I am reminded why I consider myself a Christian. I am not above anyone else, no matter what their beliefs, ethnicity or status in life.
With that in mind I feel my contribution can and should be a level of tolerance, understanding and comradeship with those Americans who are Moslems! I am disgusted, and dismayed at the level of sheer ignorance, stupidity and hate some "Americans" have shown to other Americans because of their beliefs and national origin.
To all my fellow Americans I can only say, "I apologize," for the grave unjust things done to you by other "so-called" Americans.
Those who display this behavior perpetrate and condone it are surely more akin to the Taliban and terrorists than they are to me or most other Americans!
'Love it or leave it'
The number of flags being displayed in the Brainerd area is overwhelming! Our Sen. Wellstone has failed to support the Flag Amendment. The Flag Amendment is strongly supported by the American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America, Seabee Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I hold paid life memberships in all four organizations.
I remember a bumper sticker my father had on his old Buick in 1941, "Our flag, our country. Love it or leave it."
No time for hate
I would like to express my opinion on events that have taken place around the country and in our own neighborhoods since the tragedy on Sept. 11.
I was very angered to hear about an incident in Deerwood that took place where a young mans car was all smashed while visiting his girlfriend. His skin is a bit darker than ours. Does that give anyone the right to damage his car and treat him like he is someone to be hated?
God made all of us equal. Race, age, language, religion should not matter. What happened on Sept.11 was a tragedy. It has brought this country to its knees in prayer.
For some idiots it has only brought on stupidity, apparently. Do not judge someone because of their race or religion. They are not the people that committed this act. It does not matter what race some one is, there are just as many good and bad in every race.
It is time for us to stand together and be united. To support one another and pray for one another. It is not time for hate and stupidity. Seek the Lord's face and repent and stop acting on your own feelings.
Missing the point
The well-worded letter of Sept. 20 misses the real point of what is going on today in our great country.
President Bush did not "get the whole world back to hating us again." The United States provides more aid to countries throughout the world than any other country. We may be about to "go to war" with Afghanistan, yet we have provided that country with hundreds of millions of dollars of aid in the past five years.
You state "our weapons systems are designed to enforce the will of America's rich on the world, no protest permitted." You should thank your lucky stars for our weapon systems. In Iraq you would be in jail, or even dead, for writing your letter to the editor.
The terrorists who attacked our country on Sept. 11 want you dead. They want your loved ones dead. They want my loved ones and me dead. They want 280 million Americans dead. We are their "enemy." These are not rational people with whom you can negotiate. They don't want your home, your car, or your job. They want your (our) ideology dead.
You are free to write a letter to the editor. You are free to change jobs. You are free to move to South Dakota or South America. You are free to vote for whomever you want for President or city councilman. That's what those terrorists hate, you're free.
Thank God we have a "weapons systems," a strong president, and a majority of Americans who will do what is necessary to protect your freedom.
The awakening of America
The morning was like any other, brisk and refreshing. I was almost to school when I heard on the radio something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. There wasn't time then to listen, I had arrived and was going to be late. As I took my seat in my first hour class, I watched the television in disbelief. A second plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Both of the towering skyscrapers had now been hit.
Second hour rolled around and my class silently filed in. That morning we watched the unfolding of events that I will never forget. I remember looking around the room and seeing horror in the faces of my peers. The twisted expressions and sickening pain I could see in their eyes. I honestly saw the color drain from one boy's face and I too could feel the gut wrenching ache I knew he felt. Another boy walked up to me and looked me in the eyes. I saw that he was crying, that's when I realized I too had a stream of tears running down my face. We all sat in front of that television stiff, uncomfortable and mostly scared. So scared. Our entirely perfect world was crashing down in front of our eyes. I envisioned those people. Some were crushed under the weight of the collapsed rubble of these buildings, trapped, and many dead. I envisioned the people who are forever buried and never will be found. These families who will always wonder but never know. I felt complete terror for the first time in my life.
A new reality set in that day. My world, my perfect universe, was being bombed by terrorists. Terrorists that are not only after the pride of the United States, but after humanity as well. We, as Americans, have been awoken from our dream, our long, luxurious slumber. Our perfect country is now realizing the uncertainty of our future. The uncertainty that has always been there, but never taken seriously.
In an August 28 letter to the editor a writer contemplated why people in favor of abortion rights are called pro-choice. As he continued his argument he changed his thought process and did not continue with his if/then seemingly logical statement. What I think should have been said is, why are people who are opposed to abortion rights not called anti-choice? You see, what we are talking about here are Constitutional rights. Women have the right to choose what medical procedures they want to partake in, and under the 14th Amendment, the right to privacy, it is between a woman and her doctor if she has an abortion. People who identify themselves as pro-choice are not necessarily pro-abortion. They are however in favor of people exercising their rights.
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