Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


I'm writing in response to the May 17 Star Tribune article, "Target's pullback on Pride questioned." This is not a commentary on the LGBTQIA+ community; it's about customer expectations of organizations.

How did we get to the place where special interest groups try to influence a company's business direction and decisionmaking through demands and pressure? Listening to the customer is smart business, but expecting organizations to support certain groups creates challenges for the company; supporting one group can cause friction with another. You can never please all the people all of the time.

The original business motivation for the Dayton organization to open Target in 1962 was to combine department store best practices with the pricing of a discounter. This core business model has served it well, and Target has responded positively by giving back financially to the community.

My feelings aren't hurt if Target doesn't support the causes I do. I trust that it is working within a business model that corresponds with its corporate goals, consumer research and the free market.

I support causes in my own way. I don't expect businesses (or my dentist or my gas station) to cater to my belief system.

We should expect companies to be ethical, fair and law-abiding. If I expected Target to sell products based on my value system, it would focus on merchandise that protects children and animals (especially golden retrievers). But if those focus areas aren't part of its business model, I'll support kids and critters in my own way and look to Target to sell me soup, toothpaste and birthday cards.

Shelley Klaessy, Minnetonka


The antithesis of the wilderness

Last summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a five-day canoe trip with my four sons. Three of the four had never paddled into the Boundary Waters. We had an amazing trip of paddling, fishing, hiking and just plain enjoying each other's company. Each night we enjoyed a meal around a fire, talked, laughed or just sat in silence listening to the crackle of the fire, hearing a loon's call in the distance or staring up at an amazing array of stars. A big part of that enjoyment was because there were no distractions other than the wild itself. Our cellphones were used on the trip for one purpose: taking pictures ("Cellphone satellite coverage may soon come to BWCAW," May 18).

When I returned home, I commented to my wife that the best part of the trip was being off the grid, where none of the boys were searching the internet or checking their emails on their phones. And why would anyone paddling through the Boundary Waters want it any other way? There's a legitimate, wholesome and healthy reason to be off the grid. Why is cellphone service needed in a designated "wilderness area"? SAT phones can be packed for an emergency. But let the Boundary Waters wilderness remain a wilderness. That's the reason our ancestors had the forethought to fight so hard to preserve it, to show us that such wonderful wilderness places like the Boundary Waters can survive and continue to exist for the benefit of future generations.

John T. Peterson, Waverly, Minn.


What's so lowly about making and raising new people?

In the May 17 issue of your paper, Adam Zyglis' political cartoon depicted Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicking a woman while saying, "Your place is in the kitchen." I really wonder if the cartoonist even listened to what Butker said during his commencement speech about women. He simply told the students that a woman can have a great and fulfilling life by being a homemaker. I don't know a single one of my friends who would put any of their work or monetary achievements over the joy they've received by being a mother and raising a family. The greatest joy in my life has come from being a wife and mother, and nothing could ever compete with that.

Nowadays, the progressive left is trying to tell women to be more like men instead of loving what makes us different. It wants us to consider having an abortion if it jeopardizes a great job, not to let a man get in our way and to achieve career success. Instead of trying to be like men, why don't we accentuate our best qualities? I believe the qualities that mothers possess are empathy, compassion and the ability to multi-task and nurture while showing an unconditional love that comes from carrying a child for nine months. Butker was choked up just talking about his wife and how much he loved her and how she takes care of their family. She sounds like a great woman; what could be wrong with that?

Liann Schneider, Otsego


I read with great concern the Kansas City Chiefs kicker's message regarding his thoughts on what a married woman should do in her life. In a nutshell: "Stay home, cook, clean and raise kids." Interesting input from a man who makes $5 million a year to kick a football for five months. I wonder if he also doesn't represent the Taliban, as this sure fits their ideal role for a woman.

Ron Ray, Laporte, Minn.


I am writing to give voice to and name the triple play that Butker hit into in his now-infamous commencement speech. He clearly and exhaustively demeaned women — that's one out — and the LGBTQ+ community — two outs — but little has been said about the third out in his speech, antisemitism. It was likely missed by many, but it is an age-old antisemitic sentiment that has led to some of the most severe acts of antisemitism the world has ever seen, in the Crusades, and that has also been a factor in antisemitism through the ages and various forms, including Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

Butker felt the need to slip into his sexist, homophobic and transphobic diatribe these words: "Congress just passed a bill where stating something as basic as the biblical teaching of who killed Jesus could land you in jail." This is the old antisemitic trope, easily (though inappropriately) derived from the Gospel of John's use of the phrase "the Jews" and that "the Jews" killed Jesus. This sentiment has led a myriad of antisemitic acts, and Butker seems to be right in line with that kind of thinking.

Congrats on your triple play of fear-laden misogyny, homophobia/transphobia and antisemitism, Butker. And for the record, "the Jews" didn't kill Jesus. The trembling fear within religio-political circles of one raising up and fighting for marginalized communities did. Sorry, but when it comes to white mainline Christianity, the "them" who killed Jesus is us.

The Rev. Paul Baudhuin, St. Louis Park

The writer is a pastor and a St. Louis Park City Council member.