Don't prejudge Pastor White
I'm glad sound bites didn't exist when Jesus told his followers to gouge out or cut off the morally offensive parts of their physical bodies. I'm not running for office, and this is what I know: The endless out-of-context quotes and loops of Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, caricature the words and works of a modern prophet who has made a lasting contribution to Christian faith in America.
I do not know Rev. Wright personally, but long before now, I've heard and read enough of his work to know that black and white communities everywhere have need of many more Rev. Wrights, men and women who are unafraid to tell the truth, and willing to let the knife edge of God's living word tear into our stony hearts and lazy minds.
Humans are prone to play god, but God is God all by himself. The work of ministry -- neither urban camp, nor cheap hack work -- that God has blessed Wright to develop there in the whale's belly of Chicago's drug-infested ghettoes, is one that few pastors will ever be privileged to render. Preachers, true servants of God -- black and white -- would do well not to prejudge Pastor Wright without a full and thoughtful hearing and/or reading. This hullabaloo has nothing to do with serious inquiry into religion. It is but one more chess move in the raging battle for the presidency.
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This is my prayer: God, please look beyond the myriad instances of our cringing greed and see into the deep and widening chasms of our need. Only with this mind to repent can I can truly pray, God bless America.
Rev. Dr. William T. Dargan
Let restaurants make smoking rules
As a response to Les Stewart's letter concerning smoking, I would just like to make it clear that I, myself, quit smoking for three years, plus at one point in my life. I never had a problem breathing around smokers, and certainly not in nonsmoking areas in restaurants.
Does Mr. Stewart think that it's his right to go to a restaurant and expect it to be smoke-free? How about a restaurant with bad service? One with bad food? Ultimately, the argument here is about the owner of a restaurant's right to choose what legal activities he or she wishes to allow in his or her establishment. If you don't like it, don't go. It's as simple as that. I have to wonder, at this point, how many times Mr. Stewart has actually gone back to the same restaurants where he was once allegedly offended by the smoke.
I don't go to restaurants I don't like, including ones that don't have smoking areas.