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112220-f3-opn-letters-print

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Pastors on masks

KEITH TOMLINSON

pastor (retired)

WAVERLY — I was disappointed by the declaration of my fellow clergy (“Iowa pastors oppose governor’s mask mandate”; Nov. 18) as they attempt to find faith-based reasons to flaunt recent government mandates. Their interpretation of what it means to be created “in the image of God” is much too narrow.

Do they really believe that a COVID-19 mitigation mask hides that in us which reflects the nature of God?

In line with their recognition that clergy are “commissioned to preach the whole counsel of God’s word” and “obey God’s laws,” might I suggest wearing a mask to protect ourselves and others during this pandemic does not hide God’s image in us, but rather it more fully reveals God’s image which is reflected in us as we do exactly what Scripture asks us to do: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Wearing a mask and cooperating with other practices recommended by civil authorities do not hide that image of God that was created in us; rather it reflects the image of God’s compassion, love, kindness, understanding, and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others.

There may well be times when we have to choose between obeying God’s law and obeying human laws. This is not one of those times!

Masked in meter

ROBERT C. GREMMELS

WAVERLY — The guest column about “Iowa pastors and masks” (Nov. 18) first struck me as a satire on the times.

I chuckled. Then I saw that it was signed by actual people.

In the 60-plus years since I was ordained, I thought I’d seen everything that’s been labeled godly or ungodly. Now I discover that masks “cover the image of God by obscuring personal identity and violate the holy law of God.” Really?

The column ends with a prayer. I can only respond with a prayer of my own — in five metered lines:

Lord, save us from dogmatic voodoo

And those who dispense it like doo-doo.

They know what is best

For all of the rest,

Including, it seems, even You, too.

Wear a mask

STEVE HARRICK

CRESCO — In response to Iowa pastors opposition to wearing a mask, not withstanding all the ‘whereas’ — I find the arrogance of these pastors appalling , specifically, and I quote: “to direct our churchmen to ignore her.” This reeks of chauvinism, bordering on misogyny.

Are there no churchwomen in your congregations?

P.S. My wife is a pastor, and I affectionately refer to her as “Preacher Lady.”

In this together

KAMYAR ENSHAYAN

CEDAR FALLS — I am thankful for the Courier’s Sunday editorial “Don’t spread division.” My observation is that somehow many of us have fallen for manufactured polarization and division against our good judgment and basic decency. We need to regain our bearing and recall our respectful selves.

One way of re-grounding ourselves in Iowa values is to focus on what we share in common which is the daily life in the local community where we live. Once we commit to working together and making what we share in common better — our neighborhoods, our schools, our community services, our health care, the natural world that sustains us — we may begin to see each other as fellow community members who care and not as “the other.”

Another pastor speaks

The Rev. JAMES ALTENBAUMER

CEDAR FALLS — I feel the Guest Column of Nov. 18 (Iowa pastors oppose...) calls for a response from another Christian voice. I offer this:

Whereas all people are created in the image of God, and

Whereas God is love, and

Whereas one of the two great commandments is Love your neighbor,

Therefore, I will wear a mask both to be faithful to the image of the God of love and to show love to my neighbor.

Too little, too late

JUDY THOMAS

CEDAR FALLS — With the COVID rate at 25% new infections for two weeks, the governor decided to hold an emergency press meeting Nov. 16. Same old information. She begs Iowans to use masks but has few restrictions for when to wear them.

This press conference had so many exceptions, I could not follow what she was saying. It seems no different than what is currently happening. Why no mask mandate? Why no financial assistance for hospitals, schools, or public services? Where does she obtain her figures for gatherings?

We Iowans need help not platitudes. Show leadership and make tough decisions to help us out. At this rate, few of us will be around to see the Holidays or be with loved ones. This press conference was too little, too late!

Fake news

ROBERT CAMARATA

GRUNDY CENTER — The Stahler cartoon in the Nov. 16 Courier on page A5 is disgusting, and a lie from end to end. Fake news at its worst if you will. Right in the middle above our nation’s flag is the “FAKE VIRUS” balloon. Really, can you show me where the White House or the president ever said the Wuhan virus was fake? You must be thinking of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, all of whom made fun of President Trump in January and February when he began to block immigration from China. Some of the vaunted national “FAKE POLLS” were off as much as 17% in Biden’s favor. “FAKE NEWS” abounded from the Democrats, first created in the Obama White House, (Russia, Russia, Russia) for three years, not Trump’s White House! “FAKE BALLOTS”? Thousands of supposed military ballots came in from overseas, in one batch, not one was found for Trump? What are the odds of that? “FAKE VOTERS”? There was a lot of evidence of the dead voting.

The balloon for “FAKE ELECTION OUTCOME” is news to me. “CROOKED ELECTION OUTCOME” is a better fit! Maybe you should look into it? Until someone does, that one remains to be seen!

Poor leadership

LEW BISHOP

WEST UNION — Do I detect that our state leader’s foolish mistakes are finally being exposed? Prescribing mask use won’t substitute for honest persuasion (cellphones, seat belts, etc). Will use of arbitrary percentages to determine on-line public education instruction rules replace the judgment of elected school boards? What drives those privileged rules/exemptions for the for drinking establishments? Will hiding and delaying incidence statistics, citing HIPAA regulations to justify only reporting by counties, confuse state reports enough to satisfy those who need real figures? Assignment of the virus reporting responsibility to multiple agencies only makes acquiring the complete statistics more difficult. Hiding information from the press is foolish because it always comes out later, embarrassing and/or sideways (or dismissed as “old news”). Importing poor quality people to serve the state and firing the good ones is also a recipe for disaster. No, the governor should have attended “governor school” before being chosen by the previous one. Intelligent people in Iowa should demand better leadership.

Use of a nonsensical formula like “positivity rate” reflects the limitation of the testing to only suspected virus victims who actually got a prescription. Reporting that “rate”as a serious statistic should be a joke, but it has distracted reporters.

Deal with the real

PETER VOORHEES

CEDAR FALLS — With all of the issues facing city governments these days, it’s hard to believe that our city councils are wasting their time and the taxpayers’ money debating the griffin logo or a resilience plan (whatever that is).

In the case of the griffin on the Waterloo police insignia, it’s a totally phony issue. There is no demonstrable connection between the griffin (a mythical figure having a head of an eagle and the body of a lion) and the Ku Klux Klan dragon. As for the Cedar Falls resilience plan, getting a couple hundred online responses from people who may or may not be residents of Cedar Falls is meaningless.

In both instances, a handful of tambourine beaters with an agenda are driving these processes. Our councils need to focus their efforts on fixing the streets, maintaining first class police and fire protection, and providing other essential municipal services. Those who want to promote their woke theories of what’s wrong with their city government should do so on Twitter and Facebook, and let the councils deal with real issues.

Meat-free feast

MARTIN WITTMAYER

WATERLOO — Next week, President Trump will take a break from brooding over his election loss to pardon two turkeys. Every one of us has that same awesome power to pardon an innocent, sentient bird by choosing a plant-based roast for our Thanksgiving dinner.

The 222 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year are raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes are clipped to prevent stress-induced aggression. At the tender age of 16 weeks, workers cut their throats and dump them into boiling water to remove their feathers.

Consumers pay a heavy price too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. Prolonged cooking is required to destroy deadly pathogens lurking inside.

Now, for the good news. With growing popularity of Tofurky and other plant-based holiday roasts, U.S. turkey production has dropped a whopping 25 percent from its 1995 high of 293 million.

This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health, and happiness with a cruelty-free plant-based holiday roast available in convenient sizes. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” offers more options and recipes than we could possibly use.

Teachable moment

KENT GUILD

WATERLOO — For more than 10 years, I had the pleasure and privilege to instruct student-inmates at the Black Hawk County Jail. In all honesty they probably taught me more about life than I taught them about writing, math, science, social studies, and literature to obtain their general educational development diploma.

One day when I only had seven students in the library, I summoned an eighth student (that’s how many I can try to educate at one time.) This student and I met at the library door. I started to direct him to his seat. He said, “Wait, I can’t stay here.”

I was stunned and asked why.

He said, “Well, look at them.”

I turned around and looked. For the first time, I realized all seven student-inmates were Black.

I turned back to this white racist student and said get out of here.

That was the only student I ever refused to work with during my 15 years of teaching in corrections.

You see, in that moment the lives of those seven Black student-inmates mattered more.

I can report that the white student later did earn his GED from HCC.

This true story exemplifies why I believe Black Lives Matter.

Shame on Clayson

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN

CEDAR FALLS — For shame on Dennis Clayson for his unsupported allegation that there are dead voters, and they vote for — wait for it—Democrats. Moreover, the insinuation is that the presidential election was undermined by the left.

It is yet another in a series of made-up allegations that Clayson has written for The Courier. In a time in which there are far-right terrorists who plot to kidnap and kill a Democratic governor, these kinds of partisan allegations are foolish and irresponsible, and don’t deserve to grace the pages of The Courier. Spare us the misinformation, Clayson and The Courier.

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