Literal reading of Bible is fraught with hazards

Literal reading of Bible is fraught with hazards

Regarding the March 24 Letter “Embracing LGBT People Goes Against Scripture” – while the author may base his religious opinion on a literal reading of the Bible, thankfully, that’s not how millions of Christians base theirs.

Some people’s faith is, indeed, “Bible-based.” But that risks turning a beautiful book into an idol. To read the Bible without applying proper textural, historical and cultural context invites trouble. For instance, understood in its historical context, Paul’s letter (which the author quotes) would be more applicable to priests, ministers or other clergy who use their position and power to sexually abuse boys. It does not refer to consensual, same-sex adults in a loving, committed relationship. Over the years members of the LGBT community have been ridiculed, bullied, spit on, lost jobs, and even committed suicide. Some of them have even been killed (though not with stones as the Bible commands)! The Bible says we should also stone to death disobedient children, mediums at the local psychic fair and people who pick up sticks on Sunday. Surely, these passages do not reflect the desire of a loving God.

Any person who uses Scripture to demean or diminish another person’s life, well, in the author’s words, “May God have mercy on his soul.”

All current research shows people are leaving the church in great numbers. Ironically, attitudes such as those expressed in the author’s letter will not save the church but only further close its doors.

A true Christian would rather be excluded for who they include rather than included for who they exclude. It was Jesus’ way. It seems God would want us to expand the boundaries of love, grace, and mercy – not limit them.

Tom Bresko, Poland

Self-righteous pride leads to many destructive acts

There was a mass shooting on a synagogue in Pittsburgh not too long ago. I was silent.

There was a mass shooting on a black church in Charleston, S.C. I was also then silent.

There was just a mass shooting on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Today you will hear from me.

These are just three of who knows how many, since many of these sort of events do not always make national headlines. But of these three that did – the most recent only a few weeks ago – there is a common thread: a group of people were slaughtered for being different.

Sounds primitive and archaic, but it still happens. And it needs to stop.

Gun control and gun rights debates aside, what we have here is self-righteous pride and fear of others swelling up in individuals, causing them to lash out onto the unsuspecting. It’s cowardice and it’s unforgivable.

With the most recent mass shooting, the shooter praised President Donald Trump’s immigration paranoia, and idolized the president’s racial pride, though our leader denies he continuously feeds this “evangelical” white supremacy.

As central Ohio’s chapter president of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, I speak out against hating others over our differences. We must accept all people within our country, natives and immigrants, including their customs.

Americans United stands for religious freedom of all people, all creeds, all religions – and even for those without religion, as I’m not a religious person myself. But this beyond angers me that someone who has a puffed-up view of their own race, gender or religion would attack those of a different race, gender, or religion (in this country or in a foreign one).

All we humans are doing is trying to find our way in this world, making ends meet, and helping those that we meet. The world indeed is small, in the grand picture of uncountable solar systems, and we need to look out for each other.

We’ve had a shooting too many, even though it’s halfway around the globe, because of white supremacy and Christian nationalism. We need to see not what is different about the other, but what is similar. And may we become a more gentle, humane people.

Steven Hudson, Columbus

Steven Hudson is president of the Ohio Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State .

Do not believe Trump

Who pushes Con- gress to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare? That’s right, it’s President Trump.

He has no plan to replace it, but vote for him in 2020. He, and his “Yes whatever you want Mr. President” Congress, will reveal it to the American people after he’s re-elected.

The people who are voting for changes in Congress do not have to worry as they are not relying on affordable health care; they have the best coverage for them and their family.

Why would you believe he has now decided not to push for this vote as he changes his mind every few minutes? Even as he’s telling America one thing, he’s telling his Fox news folks something different.

Darlene Torday, Berlin Center

Democrats would lead US in wrong direction

I have been watch- ing many old movies that have been Oscar winners. Today I watched “Inherit the Wind.” By the end of the movie, I became very concerned that we are heading in a very wrong direction if the Democrats gain control. We must do everything in our power not to let that happen.

We have already allowed another language to enter our country. Many feel they no longer can wish anyone a Merry Christmas or have God in their vocabulary. We used to be a country that individuals wanted to come to and were willing to learn our language and work for what they expected.

With the Democrats, we have become a country that gives everything to everyone even if they are in our country illegally. In “Inherit the Wind,” a community that was quite religious did not accept the fact that a teacher in their town was teaching that we arose from apes.

What concerns me is that we are not teaching our children about many things that they should be aware of that have great significance in our country’s history. Why are we taking statues down that reflect periods of time in our history? We should not be ashamed of where we have been but rather what we have achieved.

I was at a dinner with friends last evening and one of the individuals works for a Christian-based company based in Colorado. They have been given choices for hospitalization that can only be described as socialism. This person will probably choose not to have hospitalization rather than be forced to accept one that will limit her choice of doctors and that in some cases the doctors approved are in the Cayman Islands. They would fly the patients to the Cayman’s because the cost of medical care is less expensive.

When are we going to be able to teach what should be taught in our schools? When are we going to be able to pick our own doctors? We are not going to be able to if the Democrats (Socialists) gain power.

Nancy Epstein, Boardman

Cooler heads must prevail

For centuries our country has gotten better and better overall. The majority of our people are good, decent and respectful of others regardless of race, religion or origin. We broke away from England and became a democracy, banned slavery, won the Civil War, established civil and voting rights for everyone.

As serious problems arose, solutions offered by good leaders gradually became supported by enough voters to become law. The divisive times we are now experiencing have caused extreme chaos around the world but will be solved by cool-headed use of our Constitution over time. Past solutions to old problems are proof we have what it takes as a country working together. We can enjoy an even better USA. Register to vote.

Pete Penn, Sheffield Village