As a lifelong Catholic, I am active in my faith community that I miss very much during this time of separation. So I understand the temptation to gather again before it is safe to do so. That said, after reading about the Catholic bishops’ and a Lutheran denomination’s plan to defy the governor, I am disappointed, but not only about their willingness to risk the well-being of their faithful (“Some churches say they’ll defy order,” front page, May 21). I am disappointed that this, of all issues, is what they choose to engage in civil disobedience about.
Jesus never called for us to gather and worship him, but he did call regularly for us to defend the poor, the sick and the vulnerable. Oh, bishops, if you are going to take a bold stand in this time, why are you not crying out against the injustice of a lack of safe workplaces, a lack of protections for health care workers, unjust wages and so much more?
Cathy Heying, Minneapolis
• • •
Gov. Tim Walz is “turning the dial” with new rules on opening up Minnesota as of June 1 (“Rules ease, defiance rises,” front page, May 21). I was curious as to how certain decisions were determined. Hair salons and the like can open up at 25% capacity with the proper measures in order. Restaurants can open for outdoor dining with a maximum of 50 people at a time. Churches can have services with a max of 10 people.
Hey, wait, that doesn’t sound logical or fair to me for those who want to worship with their church community. But then it became clear as Walz went on to say that he would be making a haircut appointment and a dinner reservation on June 1 — you know, to support the local businesses that he shuttered for two months. I must have missed the part where he mentioned reserving one of the 10 spots at his church. Maybe we should have mass at a restaurant — where we can have 50 people come join in!
Francine Deziel, Lakeville
• • •
I’m stunned and saddened by the news that the Minnesota Catholic hierarchy is going to defy the governor’s guidelines and open for worship beginning May 26. I am a Lutheran pastor (definitely not of the Missouri Synod — which also plans to defy the order), but I have long been grateful for the Catholic Church’s blending of faith and science, as exemplified and articulated so well by Pope Francis. Now, though, these local leaders are ignoring the warnings of scientists and are putting lives at risk — not only their own members, but those who encounter those members elsewhere.
Yes, the leaders promise precautions, but we all know there will be hugs and close greetings as people enter and leave, to say nothing of those aerosolized particles during worship. (It was noteworthy that the same issue of the paper told of the state buying a large building to serve as a morgue!)
As a lifelong Christian, I desperately miss gathering to hear the Word of God and eat of the Lord’s Supper. But I and my congregation are not prepared to put others’ lives in jeopardy to do that.
Robert Farlee, Minneapolis
• • •
My dad often jokes he has half a brain, the result of a post-stroke surgery nearly two decades ago. It doesn’t take even half a brain to understand the preposterous state of affairs in Minnesota that allows big box stores, shopping malls and casinos to be open for business but will not let church gatherings inside or outside exceed 10 people. Even restaurants will be allowed to have more than 10 people on their patios starting June 1. In addition to being tested for COVID-19, our elected officials should also be required to submit to a neurological exam to determine if there is any brain activity. Perhaps that mandate could be included in the next executive order.
By not allowing churches to reopen in a manner that’s in line with other businesses, our state leaders have made it clear one of their priorities is discriminating against religion. That’s a no-brainer.
Rob Hahn, St. Paul
• • •
What a springtime to be fully aware of the omnipresence of God. Under crisp, unpolluted skies, two fox cubs frolic in my backyard, and outside my kitchen window a bright yellow goldfinch snacks on the blushing blossoms of our Eastern Redbud. With no need to jump into the car and enter a brick-and-mortar house of worship, my spouse and I tune in on Sundays to St. Joan of Arc’s online service. We join with the prerecorded choir in full-throated singing and are moved by the words of our priests and speakers.
Contrast that with what an in-person church service will look like in COVID-19 times: no touching, no singing, masks, distancing, communion in a soufflé cup.
There is no community in this picture, and thank you very much, but we are all blessed in place and I will wait for a more prudent time to enter the edifice.
Kathleen Wedl, Edina
I want the America he’s proposing
Jason Lewis certainly touched the nerves of all five Readers Write contributors on Thursday, again a discriminatory, biased view granted only to the left (“Where Lewis goes, let’s not follow”). Granted, Lewis wrote a passionate, tough-minded opinion, but that is his style, fighting for his ideals and strengthening the GOP (“GOP isn’t what it was. Good riddance,” Opinion Exchange, May 20). I took the time to read between the lines and pick out his truth:
1. The GOP supports business and the working class and work over welfare with a strong economy.
2. A strong military over disarmament.
3. Getting tough on China’s unfair trade practices and stolen technologies.
4. Securing our borders to reduce sex trafficking, drug smuggling, weapons trade and illegal migration.
5. Appointing conservative judges who uphold the Constitution and enforce our laws.
6. Bringing jobs back to the U.S. from oppressive sweatshops abroad, putting America first.
7. Working to weaken abortion practices and support life as the better choice. Abortions have contributed to our low birthrates that have reached their lowest levels in more than 30 years; the current rate being about 20% deficient to maintain our U.S. population.
8. Re-establishing safe neighborhoods.
9. Opposing radical forces bent on oppressive agendas not supported by any majority citizenship.
So yes, the GOP continues to transform for the better, and voters will be free to chose the candidates who will fulfill their vision for the best America going forward.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
• • •
Lewis’ counterpoint shows how low the Republican Party has sunk since its hostile takeover by President Donald Trump. Lewis seems intent on demonstrating that his qualifications for U.S. senator are that he can be as brash, as insulting and as contemptuous of respected Republicans as is his patron, Donald J. Trump. He begins by belittling the late Sen. John McCain and Sen. Mitt Romney, and gets in his digs at former Minnesota Republicans David Durenberger and Tom Horner. It apparently galls Lewis that these moderate thinkers have chosen to endorse Joe Biden rather than Trump.
Unfortunately, in insulting these respected Republicans, he disrespects the sensible centrists who voted for them and elected them to office. As a Reagan Republican, I was quite comfortable voting for Durenberger and other moderate Republicans like Gov. Arne Carlson, and even Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose own counterpoint on the same page as that of Lewis clearly demonstrates civility and sense utterly lacking in the Lewis rant. Who exactly does Lewis think is going to vote Republican if he shows the door to moderates like me? I did not vote for Trump, will never vote for Trump, and after reading this manifesto, I will certainly not be voting for Lewis. Apparently the litmus test for Lewis Republicans is to be a servile sycophant to the Tweeter-in-Chief.
Donald Wolesky, Minneapolis
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