The author of “Let’s talk about religion over the 4th, even if we’d rather not” (Opinion Exchange, June 24), John Kass, is lent journalistic credentials in his sole identification with “Tribune Content Agency,” whereas he clearly presents the views of an extreme “fundamentalist” Christian. His lead point is to attack U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for having challenged another fundamentalist Christian’s appointment to a major governmental office based on the appointee’s prior criticism of Muslims.

Kass goes on to claim, “The basic tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God and that, without that belief, salvation is impossible.”

As a lifelong Christian, I join many others in the understanding that Kass’ claim is false and that the basic tenet of Christianity is, instead, the basic teaching of Jesus: Love God above all, and love your neighbor as yourself. The exclusivist claim cited by Kass, and probably held by most fundamentalist Christians, is based on an interpretation of scripture with which many Christians disagree.

Louis Stanley Schoen, St. Louis Park

• • •

Russell Vought, nominee for deputy director in the Office of Management and Budget, may have been using the language of his religion, as Kass indicates, when he said that Muslims should be “condemned.” But even though he’s a devout Christian, Vought is surely aware that, outside the realm of Christianity, the word “condemned” has a broader meaning. Understood in this broader and much more common sense, its use to describe an entire group of billions of people worldwide is indefensible. Muslims use the word “infidel” to describe nonbelievers. So do Christians. However, “infidel” has almost no meaning in a nonreligious context, so is specific to religious faith. Christians, and adherents of all religions, would do well to remember that what they have is a tradition and a belief system. They do not have The Truth.

Nan Booth, Minneapolis


Turned out right, ultimately

Thank goodness the Pride people swallowed their pride and invited the police to their parade (front page, June 24). This is how mature people behave. Saying we’re sorry, we made a mistake, especially in a public way, is a lesson we can all take to heart. It is peacemaking at its finest. Congratulations to those who did it and to those who accepted the apology.

Jo Youngren, St. Anthony


The news you don’t hear

My young grandson and I learned of a suspicious man in the area who had tried to break into an SUV and wandered some stores seemingly “out of it.” The police had been called, and we were sitting outside Great Harvest Bakery in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, when that man and police approached simultaneously. They politely confronted the suspect and asked for an ID. The suspect declined cooperation and was arrested and frisked after I had pointed out the screwdriver and other tools in his back pocket.

I had the opportunity to thank one of the officers for a great job on the respectful arrest, his services to our community, and de-escalating a potentially deadly confrontation in front of us and others. I am sure that it made a good impression on my grandson in light of all the recent controversial police press. We need far more stories on all the beneficial police work under the tough circumstances they experience every day.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis


City moves in a good direction

I am extremely happy to hear that Minneapolis is now only a week away from passing a $15 minimum wage — a true minimum, without a tip penalty. I was one of hundreds of supporters of this proposal who came to the City Council hearing Thursday afternoon and stayed until late Thursday night. I was there, as were so many others, because I understand the impossible struggle of working long hours, making countless sacrifices, only to find myself with a paycheck that never quite stretched far enough. I’ve had to choose between paying rent and getting medical care. In a city like Minneapolis, with a strong economy and countless big corporations, why is it so hard to find employers willing to pay a wage that allows us — and our families — to make ends meet? I know corporate lobbyists are using a lot of scare tactics; that’s business as usual. But with the rich getting richer and the rest of us being left behind, is business as usual good enough? I don’t think it is, and neither do the hundreds of supporters who came out Thursday night. We outnumbered opponents 2 to 1, and we know the vast majority of voters in our city also want the council and the mayor to take action now, giving workers the support they deserve. I am proud of my city for once again being a leader in the Midwest, and for making our city, state and country a fairer place.

Chloe Maier, Minneapolis


If states should get autonomy …

Maybe the Republican health legislation that permits each state to decide who gets health insurance would be good for Minnesota. That is, of course, if this states’ rights (remember the Civil War) concept extends to other, now federal, constructs.

Most military bases are in the former Confederacy. Texas gets $1.20 in federal spending for every $1 Texans pay. Minnesota is the reverse; we pay $1 in taxes and get 80 cents back. To be fair, it should be the state’s right to pay no more than that received.

Take disaster relief. Most storm damage is in the former (states’ rights) Confederate states. Why should Minnesota taxes pay for storm damage in Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, etc.?

Take Title IX, the landmark federal legislation that forces states to give females equal access to sports. Making this law optional in states could be good for Minnesota. Many “red” states would drop funding for females. The best athletes from Alabama, for example, would flock to Minnesota.

Final example (there are many more): The Minnesota National Guard can be “federalized” to fight good or bad wars. Minnesotans should have states’ rights to decide if our citizen soldiers should spend a 17th year in Afghanistan or a new war in, say, Canada.

So the Republicans want to give each state the “freedom” to decide to deny health coverage to children, the poor and the disabled. If universally applied, this “de-federalization” could save Minnesota much blood and treasure.

The only losers would be the poor, the disabled and children. God must weep.

Robert W. Bonine, Mendota Heights


Democrats aren’t hapless

It is incredible how much the media, and admittedly some in our own Democratic Party, are making out of the recent losses in our congressional races. Let’s remember that these races were in Georgia, Montana, Kansas and South Carolina. These are all pretty deep-red states, and the fact that these were races at all should be the story! Can you imagine the media frenzy if Republicans were to make close races in Hawaii, Washington, Maryland or San Francisco? The media makes it sound like voters are turning on the Democrats. In fact, it just may be the other way around.

David Frederick, Coon Rapids

• • •

Must disagree with the June 24 letter writer who sees “Minnesota Nice” and being “sweet” the primary characteristics of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “Sweet” is not a word I would use to describe her. Other adjectives come to mind: informed, tough, articulate, clear, experienced. And the qualities the letter writer attributed to Sen. Al Franken also apply to her: direct, courageous and humorous. To be fair, Franken and Klobuchar probably have the same amount of “Minnesota Nice” — so maybe both Al and Amy are “sweet.”

Julie Risser, Edina