I am haunted by my mother’s words. Her father fled his home after Kristallnacht in 1938, then escaped from a detention camp and made it to the U.S., safe but forever broken. He said his friends in Austria had laughed at Hitler before he rose to power; Hitler had been a pitiful, laughable figure. And then, he wasn’t. A nation of struggling, impoverished people got a target for their anger and fear, and a grand invitation to feast at the table of violence and ethnic cleansing.

Donald Trump is inviting our nation to that table. I am afraid of terrorist attacks by fundamentalists who attach themselves to any faith or flag; and so are my Muslim friends, my Christian friends, and my Jewish friends and family. So are the people fleeing Syria. We must link arms with them, instead of taking up arms against them. Only when we extend a welcome, and real economic and civic opportunity, to all who dwell here, of all colors and creeds, can we be truly safe. Trump’s fear-mongering is an insult to my grandfather, and a betrayal of the path our nation must travel to justice, reconciliation and real security.

Dave Snyder, Minneapolis

• • •

Donald Trump’s ill-considered plan to ban Muslims from entering this country only serves to fan the flames of the mentality that leads to terrorism, whether from extremist Muslims, Christians or others with views based in unbridled fear that has grown to hatred. The wholesale banning of the 1.6 billion Muslim followers in the world from entering the U.S. is a policy worthy only of the likes of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

Trump’s plan would not have deterred the male shooter in San Bernardino, Calif., because he was a natural-born U.S. citizen. Trump’s hateful talk will only serve to cause resentment in Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Such fearful rhetoric is more likely to send an extremist American Muslim or Christian over the edge toward committing a new terrorist act, as opposed to preventing terrorism.

Trump should consider guidance from those wiser than he to see his folly:

 

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

Abraham Lincoln

 

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

Jesus (Luke 6:27-36)

 

Robert Speeter, Minneapolis

 

GUNS AND SOCIETY

When a supposed Christian is out of line, we’ll declare that, too

How do you offend and divide Christian and Muslim communities at the same time?

Ask Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, reportedly the largest Christian university in the world, based in Lynchburg, Va. He recently addressed the students of this school and urged all of them to apply for concealed-weapon permits (“Falwell Jr. urges students to get gun permits,” Dec. 7). If his statements weren’t offensive enough, he further stated: “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed us.” Really? This, from a Christian leader?

Rather than using the words of peace and forgiveness demonstrated by Jesus Christ, or reciting some of the very poetic and inspiring passages of the Qur’an, we see the president of a Christian college obviously choosing the wrong path. Many Christians, including myself, expect greater discipline and control of tongue from religious leaders, especially when addressing the next generation of young Christian men and women. And while we will forgive and continue to love and respect others, we will steadfastly hold all religious leaders, be they Christian or Muslim, fully accountable for their words and actions.

Scott Werahl, Chaska

 

OBAMA AND RADICAL RELIGION

The president seems to have a very low opinion of Americans

As is often the case, President Obama, by not identifying the radical element of Islam, is having the opposite effect of his perceived objective. In my view, he is inadvertently indicting all Muslims, at least in the court of public opinion. His defense seems to be that true Islam-following Muslims will become unhinged from their faith and more easily become radicalized. Really? Most Christians emphasize that any Christian sects perpetrating violence do not represent Christianity. Members of the KKK claimed to be doing God’s work when they could not possibly be representing anything further removed from the teachings of Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I am glad that most secularists and people in general have no problem making the distinction between perpetrators of torture in Christ’s name and true followers of Jesus Christ. It seems clear to me that President Obama is mistaken in his approach related to radical Islam.

A related problem that Obama has in his communications is that he regularly insults Americans by suggesting that all Americans lack the values and discipline to overcome or be cautious of how much we allow our prejudices to inform us in any given situation. Sometimes prejudices are about weight, height, beauty, education, types of degrees, careers, jobs, house, location, secularism, religiosity, race, etc. Most of us learn quickly that our prejudices take us off track — any mature person knows this. Most Christians know this for certain. In addition to giving offense, Obama has the very real impact whereby people will live either up or down to his expectations. People tend to live up or down to the expectations of people they respect or our leaders, managers, supervisors, co-workers, friends, families and groups we are members of. The implication of the president’s words is that he has very low expectations of Americans in general.

Ben Riechers, Andover

 

MARY TYLER MOORE STATUE

So, this is what our newspaper and society deem important?

What a great reflection of our society in general that the Dec. 8 front page features a large photograph of a bronze likeness of a fictional TV character (“Mary comes in from the cold”).

We have elevated television characters to such an iconic level that even a statue of one is celebrated and made almost human.

Our obsession with a fake world is further reflected by the hats being tossed, Mary Tyler Moore-style — they still have the tags on. I wonder if anyone in the photo has recently left the skyway long enough to even require putting on a winter hat.

If the job of a newspaper is to report on societal trends and popular activities, this photograph nails it.

Dale Vaillancourt, Burnsville

 

VIKINGS STADIUM

Will the snow slide?

After four embarrassing dome deflation events during the life of the Metrodome, Minnesota sports fans should be comforted with the Dec. 5 article “Stadium roof is cool, clear and uncollapsible.” The article claims the north-side roof is steeply pitched to allow it to easily shed snow. Not so. After the first measurable snow since erection of the roof, I observed that for a few days, the new snow obscured the name brand of the new stadium. Hopefully, U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis did not believe the Vikings that snow would slough off and included a credit provision in his $10 million annual contribution to the team for every game the name is buried under snow.

Mark Fuhrmann, Stillwater