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"Keep the faith" is a comment that someone who hasn't experienced an "out of order" death might say ("To keep going, keep the faith," Opinion Exchange, July 15). Our 33-year-old son died last August, and the word "faith" has become a trigger. I no longer have faith that something bad won't happen to me. Our family was just unlucky, and those whose lives haven't been touched by tragedy are simply lucky. Faith can assure us that there is something beyond life on this earth, but it doesn't protect us from the pain of grief. And Thursday's editorial on the random rage on our highways ("Don't get used to a world of random rage") says there is nothing we can do to make ourselves truly safe.

All the faith in the world doesn't give us immunity from sorrow, illness and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Rebecca Fredrickson, Burnsville

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This could be one for the etymologists and linguists, but Sharon E. Carlson seems to be conflating faith and trust. Though each of these words can have multiple meanings in different applications, faith is usually defined as a belief without evidence. Faith in any particular deity comes from within, not from any external evidence. Trust requires evidence to make someone or somethingtrustworthy to any degree. The only way we get through this life is with constant small steps of trust. Every time while driving down the freeway, I havetrust that I won't get into a crash. That is:trust in my own practiced and proven driving skills, trust in my well-maintained car, trust in the demonstrated effectiveness of highway engineering, and trust in the demonstrated high probabilities that the vast majority of my fellow drivers are similarly careful and in reliable cars.

There is no "secular faith." You can't make your religious beliefs more justifiable or true by applying the concept of faith to everyday life.

Faith does not play an enormous, or any, role in our lives for many of us. We prepare and plan and then can comfortably trust that we've increased the probabilities in our favor.For many, their religious faith can provide additional inspiration and encouragement, and that's fine. But succeeding in life requires constant preparation and study to develop trust in your abilities and a keen understanding of the environment you have to deal with, not faith.

Dennis Fazio, Minneapolis

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Perhaps Carlson is unaware of her biases against the secularist worldview that she displayed in her commentary. First, she tells that in a book she is reading, the pain of a progressive Catholic wife was "heartbreaking" when her husband became an atheist. She blames parental loss of religious faith for children who are "confused and place their faith in unhealthy endeavors." If parents are honest and open about their religious differences the children will learn tolerance and respect. These are attributes of a wholesome family life.

She attributes her confidence that she can drive down the highway without an accident or enjoy a good meal without contamination to lapses into "fickle" secular faith. This faith is well justified, however, by skillful traffic design and food safety regulation. We live in a society that has done a decent job of identifying and minimizing risks to life and health.

Carlson concludes, "Whether we are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Christian or any other religion, making it through this life requires faith." Secularists replace religious faith with naturalism, rationalism and empiricism. I think that if you ask any secularist, you will hear that they work quite well.

George Francis Kane, St. Paul

VOTING LAWS

These comparisons degrade actual Jim Crow suffering

The argument over proposed voting laws in Texas and other GOP-led states is everywhere today, in both politics and in the media, both cable TV and print. Democrats and most of the media, including this paper, say the GOP is leading "a cascade of restrictive voting laws around the country"; President Joe Biden says we are facing "the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War" ("Biden pleads: Protect the vote," front page, July 14). Some Democrats, including the president, have gone so far as to compare these proposed laws to what happened during the Jim Crow era, calling it "Jim Crow 2.0" and "Jim Crow on steroids." Republicans argue that these proposals would only return state voting laws to what they were before changes were made last year to accommodate protections needed during the COVID crisis.

I assume most people, like myself, have no way to decide for themselves which side is correct because none of the reporting includes the actual provisions in these proposed laws that are deemed to be offensive. But one thing is clear, it only cheapens the history of the terrible wrongs committed against Black Southerners who suffered during the hundred years of the Jim Crow era, which were marked by lynchings and other racial violence, and voting laws that prevented nearly all Black people in the South from voting.

Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley

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Commenters on the right, including in the Wall Street Journal's editorial reprinted in the Star Tribune on July 15 ("Voting rhetoric is overblown"), complain that Democratic opposition to voting restrictions is unhinged. These new laws, they insist, are neutral, sensible and mostly just return voting procedures to their pre-COVID status. Outside any historical context, that would be almost believable. But context is everything. Normally, Republicans want government action only when it's absolutely necessary, and demand that any laws be narrowly tailored to address the problem. But of course there is no actual voting problem: There is no evidence of fraud or that the voting procedures enacted in response to COVID were flawed in any way. So a sudden push to "restore confidence" in voting, through onerous rules and procedures — like photo IDs that have been anathema to Republicans in every other situation — is a dramatic departure from Republican ideology. Hence unconvincing.

Even more telling, many of the voting restrictions are coupled with changes in election administration, shifting authority from election officials, like secretaries of state, to legislative bodies. The result: Republican-dominated states could have the power to cite voting "irregularities" and simply declare winners — a system that we, as a nation, would once have scoffed at as blatantly undemocratic.

Looking at the whole picture, opposition to Texas-like voting restrictions is a principled defense of fair elections — a fragile status we first achieved only in 1965, after nearly 200 years of effort and one Civil War. Hysterical? No, just historical.

Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis

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It is getting tiring seeing the same articles in the paper about voting rights in our local, state and federal elections. It seems that every article just regurgitates the same political rhetoric from the two major parties. State or federal voting rights legislation is either "voter suppression" or "voter integrity."

Why not some basic investigative reporting such as side-by-side differences between Minnesota voting laws (which, with high voter turnout, seem to be working well), the recently enacted Georgia voting law and the voting laws in Delaware, the home state of President Joe Biden. Let's get the facts instead of the rhetoric so that maybe we, the voters, can have reasonable intelligent discussions about voting laws.

Robert Stevens, Mound

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The new laws have all pretended

the vote is what they've defended.

"We're trying to win,"

they said with a grin.

"No voter suppression intended."

Richard A. Pommier, Long Prairie, Minn.

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