The headline “God saved my life” (front page, Aug. 22), served to reinforce some of the worst of American Christian theology. I’m sorry the Star Tribune chose to promote this view.

The facts in the case of the American doctor brought back from Africa after he contracted the Ebola virus are clear. Being a white American contributed to his healing far more than God did. The privilege granted him by his skin color and place of birth allowed him to be whisked across the Atlantic on a special chartered plane, allowed him to be given new, rare, experimental drugs, and afforded him the best medical care the world has to offer.

If we buy into his toxic theology, what about the millions of people who are currently trapped in quarantined parts of their country, left to die of starvation or disease? Does God not care about their lives?

Caring for the sick is wonderful, but it is hubris, and only contributes to our own sense of ourselves as savior, to substitute God for our wealth and privilege.

Daniel Wolpert, Minneapolis

VIKINGS STADIUM

Look, the team can afford bird-safe glass

The Minnesota Vikings have increased their contribution to the new stadium by $26 million, including $8 million for “capital improvements concession stand upgrades” at TCF Bank Stadium, but still do not possess enough funds to spend $1.1 million on bird-safe glass. Does the team not have an obligation to be sportsmen for the city and its environment?

It doesn’t take a bird brain to realize how simple of a problem this is to solve, yet the Vikings plead poverty. According to a bizjournals.com poll, 57 percent of readers believe the stadium should include bird-safe glass. On Aug. 1, the Minneapolis City Council formally requested such glass to be used on the stadium, but the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority refused.

Part of being a sportsman is ensuring that resources will be around for others in the future. Minneapolis is a beautiful city with great natural scenery, and it would be just as nice without building a new Vikings stadium, half of which is publicly funded, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Spending $1.1 million would be a low-cost way to preserve the beauty of our city for the life of the stadium and beyond.

Brad Omland, Apple Valley

• • •

Kick in an extra $1.1 million for bird-safe glass. It seems like a small price to pay to solve the problem ­— and resolve the controversy. The Vikings should be able to afford it. After all, Forbes recently estimated that the team is now worth $1.15 billion, up by $319 million in the two years since the Legislature approved funding for the new stadium.

David Aquilina, Minneapolis

 

RACE RELATIONS

That story sounded a bit too comfortable

I, too, grew up in Louisiana in the 1950s and ’60s. I am black. I read Michael Riddle’s Aug. 22 counterpoint (“Racism isn’t always the way it is, or was”) with interest. While I could write a book about the racism my family and I experienced, I’ll just point out a few things. First, economic oppression was pervasive back then, which is why white families of modest means could hire full-time maids. Second, white children were taught to address black adults without the customary “Mr.,” “Miss” or “Mrs.,” while titles of respect were widely used otherwise. The writer sounds like a nice person. Maybe it has occurred to him that this was demeaning; maybe it has occurred to him that the unspoken message to white children was that blacks are lower on the human scale than whites.

Racism was institutionalized in all systems in Louisiana during the ’50s and ’60s. “Separate but equal” was a big fat lie. The writer’s parents and grandparents may have treated their black employees better than some, but that does not mean he grew up without the presence of racism.

Marilyn Broussard, Minneapolis

 

FIRE PITS

Let’s send prohibitive impulses up in smoke

I’ve read many articles from people who do not like something and want to ban it (“Ban the back-yard burn instead of trying to sell it,” Readers Write, Aug. 15). Much also is written about how our military protects our freedoms, yet citizens and politicians are constantly taking our freedoms away. Back-yard fires are awesome and a freedom worth protecting. Ban the unnecessary bans.

LARRY SABLE, Blaine

 

INDEPENDENCE PARTY

Not terribly relevant, except in a bad way

So Mark Jenkins thinks the Independence Party of Minnesota, which he chairs, is still relevant (Short Takes, Aug. 22), but there are facts he omitted.

First, Kevin Terrell lost to a right-wing fringe candidate, Steve Carlson, in the U.S. Senate primary, so he won’t be on the ballot due to low and uninformed voter turnout for the party. Second, nobody wanted to run in the governor’s race this year, so Hannah Nicollet (a former Tea Party Ron Paul supporter), who was running for the Senate, jumped in. Third, the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Tom Horner had more than a million dollars, so saying that the IP has run campaigns without backers or donors with a good sum of money is ridiculous. Finally, the IP party affairs director quit in June, calling the party “completely rudderless.”

So while Jenkins thinks his party is still credible, recent evidence should prove to voters that the IP is only interested in its “none of the above” platform and not in the outcomes of elections that affect policy and legislation (such as if Republican conservative Tom Emmer had become governor with a GOP-led Legislature in 2010) as a result of of IP insistence in putting candidates on the ballot even if it’s only token opposition that’s willing to run.

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul

 

NURSING HOMES

Addressing abuses requires reporting

Headlines sometimes do a disservice to serious matters. The Aug. 22 story “Deaths at two senior homes highlight sharp rise in abuse and neglect” is an illustration. Reports of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation are rising and deserve our attention, but they are not conclusions. They are facts that call for review and analysis. Considerable effort has been made to train mandated reporters and encourage the general public to report suspected harm to vulnerable adults. By that reference, increased reports are a positive measure.

Let us redouble our efforts to protect vulnerable adults in their apartments, homes and care facilities. And let us recognize the fundamental value of reporting laws. If we don’t encourage good-faith reporting, we cannot achieve accountability, education, safety or justice.

Iris C. Freeman, Minneapolis