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Letters to the editor

Religious diversity strengthens community

I recently attended Mayor Tom Henry’s Iftar, the Muslim tradition of breaking the daylong Ramadan fast in a community celebration. The event was powerful and deeply moving. And I am aware that our local branch of Habitat for Humanity is sponsoring an “Interfaith Build,” bringing together various faith traditions to build a home for a family in desperate need.

I am proud and pleased that we have a mayor and other community leaders who recognize that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness, that our diverse cultural and religious traditions make unique contributions to the richness of life in our community. This is not to suggest that our traditions do not have significant differences of belief and practice but to recognize that in talking and working together we build relationships that are beneficial to us all.

Fort Wayne is quickly developing a national and international reputation as a community of compassion, of integrity, of sharing common values in the midst of diversity, of respecting and celebrating the dignity and worth of all people. I’m honored and proud to be a member of this wonderful community.

TERRY ANDERSON Fort Wayne

Theologian requires expanded viewpoint

I am not quite sure what prompted John P. Bequette’s letter (“Bible affirms sanctity of heterosexual marriage,” July 28). First, the Golden Pen award is not for the content of the letter but the way the writer expressed his or her viewpoint. I would have to assume Bequette became so immersed in the subject matter he did not accept the writer’s ability to express his point of view. As an associate professor at a very wonderful university, I also question why it was necessary to drag the University of St. Francis into this issue. Was this to make a more powerful statement?

Regretfully, there are as many opinions on gay marriage as there are individuals, so in our lifetime there will probably never be a true answer to what God believes until we cross over from this life and join him. As a former Catholic, I can remember I was taught that if you were not Catholic you could not go to Heaven or that babies not baptized went to limbo and if you said a particular prayer you received an indulgence to help you get to Heaven or at least help you get out of purgatory faster. Are you still teaching these beliefs?

There is an organization called the League of Catholic Women Religious. I would highly recommend as a Catholic that Bequette look into what these good sisters are saying. If he truly wants to teach theology, then he needs to expand his horizons for his students and teach all philosophies, not his personal beliefs. It might also assist him to take a few psychology or sociology classes to give him a more rounded viewpoint. For his students I hope he will.

One last thing. I believe the Bible was written in many different languages by many different humans and many different interpretations. Do you suppose an individual could have interpreted something different in translation?

THOM BAUER Fort Wayne

Who told everyone they could have an opinion?

What the H is wrong with this country? Nowadays a wannabe cop vigilante can’t even gun down a black kid in the street without a bunch of left-wing sissies freaking out.

Back in my day us Americans all believed in Jesus and were morally correct. We stood as one and believed in discrimination and prejudice. We didn’t have time for all this Internet nonsense. We were too busy writing letters to the editor condemning free speech and peaceful protest.

I just don’t know what is going to become of the good ol’ US of A, what with everyone thinking they have a right to express their own opinion. Let’s hope we can get this country back to the good old days when conservative old white guys were in charge, before it’s too late.

BRAD HUFF Fort Wayne

Weiner’s ‘vision’ fit only for an analyst

Anthony Weiner, a mere two years after resigning from Congress, is asking New Yorkers to trust him and make him the most powerful man in one of the most powerful cities in America. He has a vision for New York. Unfortunately, he keeps showing his “vision” to everybody he can find.

Why would anyone want to give that kind of power to a man who clearly has a serious problem – a problem with honesty, morality and judgment. Weiner belongs on a psychiatrist’s couch, not in a mayoral office with the ability to ruin millions of lives of those he conned into trusting him.

This is a man who clearly wants back into the limelight. Apparently photography doesn’t feed his alter ego to his satisfaction. Good luck, New York. If you are foolish enough to want to see the “vision,” let us know how it works out for you.

JUDITH OSHA Syracuse

Local ‘Les Mis’ rivals touring productions

Bravo to our own Civic Theatre. The opening night performance of “Les Miserables” was outstanding. It was the best production of this wonderful musical that I have seen.

It is hard to believe that this was not a touring company of professionals. The voices, the costumes, the staging, the sets, the orchestra and the outstanding direction made this one of the most enjoyable evenings I have experienced in theatre.

The standing ovation from an appreciative audience was well deserved. I urge you to reserve your tickets now.

DAR RICHARDSON Fort Wayne

Walorski, Stutzman fail to stand for the people

When it was revealed that the National Security Agency has been perusing through the phone calls and other records of average Americans without warrants, many were rightfully outraged. Under the guise of “national security” and “the war on terror,” the federal government has barreled ahead with programs that deliver blow after blow to our diminishing liberties and freedoms.

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan recently introduced a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Department of Defense Appropriations Act that would have stopped the NSA from continuing this unconstitutional practice. It failed in the House by a razor-thin margin. If just a few representatives had changed their votes, the outcome would have been different.

Sadly, among those who voted to continue spying on the American people was my Second District Indiana representative, Jackie Walorski, and my former representative, Marlin Stutzman.

It angers me that a congressperson who ran on conservative and constitutional talking points would give the go-ahead for obviously illegal surveillance. The Fourth Amendment that protects our right to privacy and defends us from random searches is the law of the land, not a suggestion, like many in office are treating it.

I commend leaders from both sides such as Republican Amash and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden who are trying to protect the last few shreds of liberty. Our political representatives take an oath of office and swear to uphold the Constitution; maybe some of them – like Walorski and Stutzman – need to be reminded of that.

BENJAMIN ROGERS Goshen

Mix of tree ages makes healthiest forest

In reference to the “increased logging” portion of “State’s hand abets threats to environment” (June 30), I assume the professional staff of the Indiana Division of Forestry was not contacted for input or we might have been exposed to a different slant on the project.

In fact, a healthy forest environment exhibits a diversity of tree age classes. For a 100- to 200-year forest cycle a forest should normally be about 10 percent-20 percent of a 0- to 20-year age class; currently in Indiana and much of the Midwest, that figure is closer to 5 percent.

This lack of diversity across the forest landscape threatens the future health of our Hoosier forestlands as well as the plant, animal, bird and insect life that depends on this mix of age classes and that includes the early successional and old-growth component plus every age class in between.

Research has shown significant declines in 50 percent of early-successional bird species and 36 percent of woodland bird species. That includes the iconic whippoorwill, whose numbers have dropped to record lows and with it the loss of their never-to-be-forgotten calls in the night.

It is not time to do less on our public forest land; it is time to do more. Under the supervision and guidance of professionally trained forest and forest wildlife managers, we can assure the health of our Hoosier forests and all of the living species that depend on them.

RANDY SHOWALTER Roann

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