This is a matter worthy of our focused attention


Two years ago, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in its national convention meeting in Minneapolis, approved the ordination of lesbians and gays who were in a same-sex committed relationship.

The media and some other large church bodies were highly critical. The "fuss" has since died down to some extent.

In my opinion, a much larger matter exists for all national denominations and also other religious faiths. I am referring to the worst famine in five decades sweeping over the Horn of Africa and threatening to kill hundreds of thousands.

People have said that we can't really help so many. Others raise questions about the terrorists in Somalia who are stealing gifts and trying to stop aid.

Minneapolis has the largest group of Somali immigrants in the United States, and one of its own is being held on charges connected to the terrorists in his home country.

Those who steal or use terror have to be punished, but we must not and should not use it as an excuse not to aid the children who are dying and who are just as precious in God's sight as our own.

The bishop of the ELCA has sent a letter to every rostered pastor to urge them to get their congregations to help in the huge effort to fight this famine. The Lutheran World Federation (most Lutheran denominations in the world belong to this) are responsible for opening the refugee camps in Kenya that are already serving thousands.

Churches cannot begin to do everything. All of God's people need to work and "push" -- not only their own denominations and congregations, but also the United Nations and our own nation -- to do God's work.

You will be happy and rewarded if you join this effort.


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Wise words about the causes of violence


Regarding the recent violence in Britain and the possibility of unrest in the United States, consider the words of Mohandas Gandhi:

The Roots of Violence

Wealth without work,

Pleasure without conscience,

Knowledge without character,

Commerce without morality,

Science without humanity,

Worship without sacrifice,

Politics without principles."


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Liberal basher attempts statistical analysis


The Aug. 19 commentary by Deroy Murdock ("Silly rich liberals just love taxes") attacks Warren Buffett's view that the ultra-rich are not paying their share of taxes. A casual look makes one think that this is a serious statistical argument.

But it is the usual peaches-vs.-pears analysis. Murdock divides the taxpaying population by the percent of people, but the taxes paid by the percent of all tax dollars.

This is silly. I suspect that the lowest 1 percent of working people pay no taxes, but no rational person would consider this unfair.

The complaint that Buffett and friends could just voluntarily pay more taxes is also silly. I would wager that Buffett gives more money away to charity in a year than Murdock makes in a lifetime.

The real crime is that the administration of George W. Bush insisted in lowering taxes during a time of war. If my memory of history is not failing, this irresponsible act was unprecedented in U.S. history, regardless of which party controlled the White House.


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If 'Bachmann' is in the headline, will you read?


One of the scariest things about a Michele Bachmann candidacy is not the slight possibility that she could be elected, but rather her disproportionate effect on our already degraded political process.

George Orwell's "1984" describes an impoverished language called Newspeak that features thought-terminating clichés, wherein "the most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed.

These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis." To be with the small crowd on Bachmann's bandwagon means one has checked one's critical thinking at the time of boarding. How sad for our nation.


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Friday's Letter of the Day ("Since miracles are on the campaign agenda ...") was the most ignorant letter the Star Tribune has ever featured. Cheaper gas is a reality if restrictions on drilling are lifted in the United States. Also, more drilling in America means more jobs. But this sounds too good to be true -- I'm gonna stick with the guy who promised 8 percent unemployment and will likely have us at 10 percent unemployment and an 8,000 Dow come November of next year.


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Thursday's Opinion Exchange compilation ("America, meet Rick Perry") brought together six commentary excerpts, all with a negative view of the new Republican candidate. The seventh expressed dismay at Perry's avoidance of the press and opinion writers.

Gosh, I wonder why?