In a twist on the recent stories of renaming lakes and buildings, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN) wants to remove the name of Bishop Henry B. Whipple from a federal building. This is not because Whipple was a racist xenophobe, but because Whipple was too virtuous to have his name attached to this building. The issue concerns Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has its regional offices in the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building at Fort Snelling. The building also houses other federal offices, including Veterans Affairs.
Calling it the "What Would Whipple Do?" campaign, ECMN has issued two demands: that government officials either evict ICE from the building or remove Whipple's name from it. The group also wants the Minnesota Legislature and governor to make Minnesota a sanctuary state.
As a leader of this event told me, "We don't like what is going on inside the building." But nationwide deportations hit their peak under the Obama administration with 438,000 in 2013. In 2018 there were 256,000 deportations under the Trump administration. Where was ECMN during the Obama years?
ECMN claims that Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, would not approve of ICE. We don't know that. Yes, Whipple was a champion of justice for Native Americans. But Whipple worked entirely within the government system. He did not advocate defying the law.
The WWWD campaign is a simplistic response to a complex problem. If reform of ICE is needed, where is the call to reform? It seems ECMN is simply opposed to current administration policy and is using ICE and Whipple as a pretext for its protest.
J. Thomas Lockhart, Golden Valley
A storming? Or mere inclusion?
On Oct. 24's front page: a single main headline, with dueling yet complimentary subheads.
The headline: "Trump allies try shutdown of impeachment inquiries."
Instead, substitute this single headline: "Trump allies try to be included in what to date has been a Democratic Star Chamber proceeding."
Thomas Daly, North Mankato, Minn.
• • •
Here we go again. The intrepid Republican representatives crashing a constitutional congressional inquiry into the possible impeachable offenses of the president is an eerie and painful reminder of another chaotic incident when well-dressed Republicans created a disorderly demonstration during the vote recount in Brown County, Fla., in the presidential election of George Bush vs. Al Gore.
For the party that claims to be the law-and-order gang, it is remarkable how easy it is for its members to abandon civility and social order for the sake of expediency and coverup. These two historical events are anything but coincidental. They are pathological tendencies of a damaged political party and its need to exercise dominance in America. It is dangerously difficult for them to make a full and necessary transition to a new kind of voter majority — women and minorities.
As a nation, we must reject this sort of anarchy.
Richard G. Hunegs, St. Louis Park
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Republican concern about due process with the confidential impeachment House meetings is misplaced. There will come a time when public airing will be needed. Now is not that time. But due process concerns should extend to the White House, too.
The White House has refused to disclose e-mails and other relevant documents and things that likely relate to Ukraine. In the laws of evidence, there is a doctrine providing that a party in exclusive possession of evidence who fails to produce it is subject to adverse inferences from the failure. We can make those adverse inferences, but wouldn't it be better to have the documents and things that vindicate transparency and due process? What is the White House trying to hide? Where were those Republicans with respect to that obstruction of due process?
Thomas W. Wexler, Edina
Modern faith is more nuanced, sir
In commenting on the reason many young people are leaving the church ("Not surprised by flight from faith," Readers Write, Oct. 22) the president of HumanistsMN makes some questionable assertions.
First, citing a survey that indicates many are leaving the church because they "disagree with/don't accept church teachings," he concludes those teachings are racist, sexist and judgmental. Such teachings are clearly not taught by most mainline denominations, certainly not by the Lutheran church to which I belong.
Second, like much of the media, he seems to suggest that support of the evangelicals for the present administration is shared by most Christians. If that is true, I urge these young people to examine the teachings of their church more closely. They are likely to discover their church teaches welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor and oppressed — not the highest priorities for this administration. They will also find that in the company of other people of faith, they can do more to work for these goals than they can alone.
Paul Pallmeyer, Lake Elmo
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In the Oct. 22 Star Tribune, the president of HumanistsMN responded to an article by Jean Hopfensperger ("Where do young adults find meaning?" Oct. 19) about the possible reasons for declining numbers of religious believers. Naturally his views will correspond to the tenets preached by humanists, that this life — your life now — is all there is. Well, naturally, in our society, there is another view.
I speak as a Roman Catholic, born in the 1930s and educated in religion by my parents, who were complemented by Dominican nuns in the 1940s. We were taught the faith that had been handed down from Jesus' apostles.
Well, what happened next cannot be described in this short letter, but basically if one would study the true history of the decade of the 1960s we find an event that changed the game regarding Catholic beliefs — the council called Vatican II. As a result of Pope John XXIII's edict of "open[ing] the windows of the Church" to let the world in, my generation completed the act and destroyed the teaching of the faith to my children's generation — and future generations. The result very naturally is that the Catholic school system collapsed — fewer nuns, other than those who became social service workers. Catholic churches closed and were sold because there were fewer faithful priests; hence not enough parishioners. The story of priest abuse, which has been detailed for the last 20 years, proves the point that the faith was abandoned and the hierarchy nodded in agreement. The new Catholic faith teaches us that the only offense we commit is burning up the gas and oil and polluting the air.
There is no firm ground for the current generation to stand on when it comes to faith. There are small pockets of faithful that do survive and hold onto a faith. That erases, for a few, the last 50 years of teachings "that young adults disagree with/don't accept."
James P. Lynch, Edina
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