Mideast troubles require patience and more letters to the editors

Mideast troubles require patience

Moral equivalency is most often defined by values colored with "self." The actions of perceived enemies are painted in the darkest hues; our own and those of our allies receive a rosier gloss. That's the nature we are born with.

The Hamas attacks can never be justified, but sometimes cornered rats will bite. Both sides in the current war claim the moral high ground; the fig leaves need to be examined. The two-nation scheme of 1918 was fraught from the beginning; to settle a millennial conflict by political agreement? Rough-shod Jewish expansion has been bolstered by a claim of divine favor to the children of Abraham. That claim went up in smoke when the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, Matthew 27:50-51.

To cast divine favor on the modern state of Israel claims too much, but placing blame on either side misses the real source of trouble. We are called to move beyond the self-justifying attitude that brought war to heaven, Revelation 12:7-9.

The Holocaust remains, standing as an enduring blot on the history of human selfish achievement. Was Alexander the Great noted for feeding the hungry or clothing the naked? James 5:7-8 is good counsel, I think. Put away the signs and demonstrations for one cause or the other.

Richard Burns

Cleveland, Tenn.

It’s never too early — or late — to learn to swim

It's never too early — or too late — to learn to swim, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga will use an American Water Charitable Foundation grant of $10,000 to expand access to swim basics and education to more children and adults.

The 2023 Water and Environment grant will go toward YMCA swim lessons, which are offered year-round and during summer camp sessions, its Safety Around Water Program, adaptive swim lessons, and by offering financial help to individuals and families.

The Water and Environment grant is part of the American Water Charitable Foundation's Keep Communities Flowing Grant Program.

YMCA staff are committed to building strong, water-safe communities, Baron Herdelin-Doherty, president and CEO of the YMCA, said in a news release.

Cara Standifer


Rejecting Trump and 'dechurching'

I have read "The Great Dechurching" and the Oct. 1, 2023, commentary by John Stonestreet and Shane Morris of the Colson Center titled, "What's behind America's 'great dechurching'"? in the Times Free Press. Both fail to see the real reason why people are leaving the church. The evangelized delusion of Christo-Trumpism is not the word of God. Dechurching is not their claimed individualistic self-idolatry but the evangelical church's idolatry of the immoral politics and person of Donald Trump.

2 Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?" The verse should apply to churched pretenders and the unchurched.

"One Nation, One Religion" is not religious freedom, but the smokescreen the rich used to steal from the working class. LGBTQs should have the same "civil" rights as everybody else: no more, no less.

Republican evangelicals appear as gun-crazed racists denying science and government help for the poor. The Republican Party aids the rich and destroys the environment. Dechurching is the rejection of the politics, sin and corruption of Donald Trump, who is condoned by a devolving evangelical church.

David Bean

Chatsworth, Ga.

Elected leaders: Open your eyes

Politicians running this country have selective eyesight.

They cannot see nor believe thousands of illegals crossing the Southern border every day.

They will not go to the border to see it with their own eyes. When they look into the TV camera and say, "The border is closed," that is a lie to the American people who have good eyesight.

I have great sympathy for the Israeli people for such a tragedy in their country.

The politicians could certainly see that happening and were there in a heartbeat.

Biden even gave advice. I certainly hope lawmakers open their eyes and do everything possible to protect this great nation.

Maybe a cognitive test and results shown to the public should be part of the election process.

Who could we trust for an accurate report?

Ruth Cote


State must not neglect our 'lambs'

I'm a Christian minister, and that means that I'm in the business of feeding people. Our fellowship around God's table in worship extends to potluck meals and bereavement casseroles, and groceries for new parents. At St. Paul's in McMinn County, we have taken the vision of being nourished by God through tangible food and drink further. Starting with a weekly free meal and expanding into Table Graces Food Pantry, our parish, along with countless community partners and volunteers, feeds hundreds of households every week. In the resurrection story of John 21, Jesus told Peter on the beach: "feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; feed my sheep." I am called to feed God's sheep -- in body and spirit.

So I was alarmed when the news came that leaders in the Tennessee legislature have appointed a panel to determine whether our state can reject $1.8 billion in federal funding for education, which pays for free and reduced lunch programs in our public schools.

Research has shown that not only are many children across the state receiving the bulk of their caloric intake through school breakfast and lunch, but that these free food programs have significant positive impact on educational outcomes. We do not have to allow hunger to win -- this is a conscious choice. Tennessee can accept or refuse the help that we need to continue feeding our children.

Just as the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, one part of the body cannot say to another, "I have no need of you," our leaders cannot say from their places of privilege and satiation, "I have no care for your hunger." These are our children. They are all our children, and they are hungry. Will we feed these lambs?

Claire Brown

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