Musicians, actors and athletes: I love your work. You have the power to inspire me, to make me laugh or cry, to push me to do more, and to lift me up when I’m in a funk.

Unfortunately for some of you, I can no longer go to your games, listen to your songs or watch your movies. You see, I want you to entertain me and nothing more. That’s your only value to me. (Isn’t it enough to know you have that effect on people?) Every time you spout off about an agenda, take a shot at a politician, ignore time-honored traditions or call for more activism, you’re diluting everything that made you unique to me.

If you want to know why the NFL is struggling for viewers, why record sales and box-office returns are down, it’s because I’m not alone. We’re all begging you to simply deliver what you’re good at, and leave the mundane politics out of it. It’s beneath you.

Brett Torfin, Crystal

• • •

Regarding the incident with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the “Hamilton” cast: Artists have always spoken truth to power. It’s what they do. To ask them not to is like asking a rooster to not crow at the crack of dawn. Thank god for artists.

Doug Williams, Robbinsdale


‘He/she’ is a limiting debate

The infantile obsession with God’s sex and gender issues is not only banal, keeping us from the realization of a more mature spirituality, it is dangerously naive (“Bible’s description of God as male does not diminish voice of women,” Nov. 22, and Readers Write, Nov. 13, 21 and 22). Remaining inside our mutually exclusive descriptive gender identifiers assures continued enmity between “superior” (masculinity) vs. “inferior” (femininity), so we will never value and love our brothers and sisters as ourselves.

God is not male, nor is God female in any sort of concretely physical way. Yet we persist in holding onto concrete notions of a powerful dynamism that is essentially not concrete. Persistence in misidentifying divinity as exclusively masculine has resulted in generations of abuse and denigration of women and loss of the positive values of the feminine aspects of divinity and women, like wisdom, embodiment, birthing, nurturing, healing, mourning the dead. God is a unity of both the masculine ordering principle and the feminine wisdom principle.

Maturation is required. Spiritual reality will simply not stand still for our linear, concrete, analytical drivel. It cannot be understood in a concretely physical way. To do so is to egoistically and arrogantly attempt to limit that enormous, overwhelming dynamism, which will have none of it. What is needed is spiritual maturation, a psychological awakening to the androgynous nature of the enormous mystery that confronts us, called the divine. We need a very large dose of humility, for we do not know what that mystery is. We can, like Moses, see only the “backside of God” as we stand in the rock cleft.

Wilor Bluege, St. Paul

• • •

This reminds me of that same controversy in the ’80s about what is God’s gender. But I wrote then and am writing again: Why is no one arguing about the gender of the devil?

Marge Donofrio, Burnsville

• • •

All this talk of whether God is a man or woman is quite humorous to those of us who know there is no deity at all.

Mark Motzko, Chanhassen


Those of us who play by the rules are tired of aiding those who don’t

As a U.S. military veteran whose family has served in the armed forces for three generations, I, along with many of my family members and fellow veterans, are sick and tired of hearing about the rights of illegal immigrants who never spilled a drop of blood defending our nation and who are breaking our laws every day by being here illegally.

As the father of two college students, it is upsetting to me to realize that many of those here illegally are attending our universities and are receiving education grants and other government aid while my children rack up tens of thousands of dollars in college loan debt and while my wife and I work day and night struggling to pay our bills.

If the left-wing liberals of America want to support illegal immigrants, I propose that they sponsor them and pay their schooling, housing, medical care and other costs instead of dumping that burden upon the backs of hardworking American taxpayers who played by the rules and earned their citizenship through either their blood, sweat and tears or that of their forefathers.

Corby Pelto, Plymouth

• • •

So far this year, the Nobel Foundation has awarded Nobel Prizes to six American citizens for outstanding achievement in the fields of chemistry, physics and economics. None of the recipients was born in America. All are immigrants.

Immigrants are an American treasure.

Tom Hammond, Woodbury

• • •

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has observed that there is no common understanding of what “sanctuary city” means. Accordingly, he shared his interpretation with St. Paul taxpayers in a commentary published in the Pioneer Press (

• Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Enforcement officers “can take someone into custody if they have evidence of an immigration violation.”

• However, St. Paul (via Chapter 44 of the city’s Administrative Code) is, by city ordinance, empowered to supersede enforcement of federal immigration law. Thereby, the city policy is that all residents (including those who aren’t U.S. citizens or legal immigrants) are entitled to equal protection unless they have committed criminal offenses.

• Per Coleman, St. Paul will remain “committed to protecting and serving all who call it home” so as to meet the high standards of equity and dignity for all St. Paul residents.

Thereby, Coleman clearly invites all of those who illegally enter our sovereign nation to “come on up” to St. Paul’s sanctuary for illegals, and to “feel comfortable seeking city services” … that is, until St. Paul’s U.S. citizen taxpayers say “enough is enough.”

Gene Delaune, New Brighton

• • •

The frost may have arrived late, but there’s no doubt that Christmastime is coming early this year. The electric Santas and the glowing reindeer have showed up on lawns across our city.

Christmastime is coming early this year also to tell Americans a story about two Middle Eastern refugees fleeing with their baby to a foreign land and to remind us that it was Caesar Augustus who called for a registry of all Jewish people. The forces of evil — of hate, intolerance, and bigotry — loom over our nation. Many American Christians have decided they’d rather worship Caesar Augustus, Pontius Pilate and Donald Trump than Jesus the refugee, Jesus the member of an oppressed religious minority and Jesus the undocumented immigrant. I hope Christians across our nation remember the full story of Christmas and remember to welcome guests into their home and refugees into their nation.

Matthew Francis Hillis Byrnes, Minneapolis


Time flies. I don’t mean it tritely.

Nov. 22 was the 53rd anniversary of President John Kennedy’s assassination. It was a very sad and even traumatic day for those of us who can remember exactly what we were doing when we heard the news. I wonder how many of you know how old JFK would be today if he were still alive. The math proves that time really does have wings. He was born in 1917. Live every day as though it were your last. We never know.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park