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In recent comments, former President Donald Trump has demonized immigrants, praised insurrectionists and expressed his intention to become a dictator if re-elected. All of this, and more, he has done with the apparent blessing of Christians all across America. Trump has promised to be their "retribution" — to restore America to traditional values and punish those who stand in the way. While Trump's rhetoric is hypnotic, it is misguided and deceptive. His stated values are anything but Christian. He has cloaked his political ambition in religious jargon, righteous indignation and a warped sense of patriotism. Sadly, many Christians have been seduced.

It is time for the Christian church in America to wake up! Christians of all stripes should focus on Jesus' call to welcome the stranger and love one's neighbor. Pastors and priests should publicly condemn Trump's seductive rhetoric. Donald Trump is not the savior; he only pretends to be.

The Rev. Alan C. Bray, St. Peter, Minn.

The writer is a retired pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Respect the courts

The featured letter Dec. 22, responding to the Colorado ruling on Trump, asserts a constitutional right to vote for literally anyone (even a Nazi, I guess), and anyone who disagrees is a Nazi. This is more of a schoolyard chant than an argument, but I'm mostly troubled by the writer's disdain for the judicial process. A state Supreme Court carefully read the text of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and concluded that these facts — Donald Trump's attempt to remain in power despite numerous court rulings that he lost the election — fall within the language of that text. The court concluded that our constitutional right to vote is qualified: We do not have the option of voting for someone who has engaged in attempts to overthrow our government.

This is not a wildly partisan view of the law. Its most prominent advocates are two legal scholars who are members of the arch-conservative Federalist Society, who surprised even themselves when they researched the topic and came to what they felt was an inescapable conclusion. Members of another state Supreme Court — ours — determined that it was not appropriate to make this decision at the primary stage, when it's not clear that Trump will actually be the candidate. (So, no, the court didn't "get it right" if one thinks Trump should be permitted on the ballot — it just postponed the decision.)

My point is not that Colorado got it right. (I'm still on the fence about this.) It's that so much of the invective coming from the right is aimed at the legal systems we rely on to settle our disputes. As a retired lawyer, I know those systems are not perfect, but fear even more the prospect of a world where they are ignored whenever one doesn't like the result.

Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis


The fear we can avoid

Regarding "Counterpoint: Heed history's warning on aid in dying" (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 14):

I align with the 73.2% of Minnesotans polled at the State Fair who said they support medical aid in dying as an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to peacefully end unbearable suffering. I have witnessed the relief hospice care can provide for most, but not all, dying patients.

My grandma was an amazing person, with a sarcastic sense of humor that made everyone laugh. On her 94th birthday, we found out she had only months left to live. Two months later, I asked if she was worried about the end. "I'm not — I'm worried about being able to handle those last days. That's what I'm scared of." The anticipation and not knowing what death would be like kept her from enjoying her final days. Anxious and preoccupied, she spent her time in her chair, quiet, eyes closed. With tears, she asked me for medical aid in dying, but, sadly, it isn't an end-of-life care option in any Midwestern states.

Three agonizing weeks later, she looked into my eyes, begging over and over: "Please." She was scared. Hospice was managing her physical suffering as best it could, but there are other kinds of suffering. Three days later, we had the gift of being with her when her heart stopped beating. A better end-of-life outcome would have been months of connection and shared laughter (instead of relentless anxiety), which could have been possible if she knew she could have a peaceful death.

Angie Sovak, Eden Prairie


The big picture

The growing dilemma of homeless encampments confronts us with two conflicting realities. One is that most of the homeless people are innocent victims and, two, that encampments cause real and unfair harm to nearby residents. Often these residents are struggling themselves or at least not beneficiaries of the exploitive economy that creates homelessness.

The villains that create this mess live far away. It has taken years for private enterprise to extract government so completely from the hands of the people. Government decisions made after World War II surrendered control of housing for the middle and working class to private developers. Housing has been reduced to a commodity like TV sets. If you have the money, you can have a home. Otherwise, you join the ranks of the disposable people who are not profitable.

Mental health and addiction are also not profitable in a health care system based on profits. In the 1960s, mental health hospitals were closed with a promise of community-based facilities that was quickly abandoned. Public housing and encampments have become our treatment facilities without treatment.

Fair labor laws and minimum wage requirements have also been attacked by private enterprise in a rush to profits. Homelessness comes with other problems but money is a driving factor. Job loss and a frayed safety net produces homelessness in a low wage, tech slave economy.

We could solve homelessness with enough money. But the people with the money live far away. Homeless encampments get no closer to them than their flat-screen TVs. It's higher taxes that seem unfair to them. Meanwhile the rest of us deal with this torturous problem and no good solutions.

Tim Mungavan, Minneapolis

The writer is a nonprofit housing developer.


What we lost

Tou Ger Xiong stole every scene he was ever in ("Hmong American activist, speaker kidnapped and killed in Colombia," Dec. 13, and other coverage).

I, like the rest of the world, first encountered him in a play put on by Hmong youths, in which he represented the thoughts of a Hmong kid stuck in an awkward social situation. While the boy mumbled conventional bromides, Tou Ger, supposedly visible only to the boy and the audience, screamed and tore his hair and danced around the stage.

Later, during Mee Moua's campaign for state Senate, Tou Ger and I stood in front of Metropolitan State University, holding "Vote for Mee" signs, Tou Ger wearing a ridiculously large Uncle Sam hat and dancing as astonished students, faculty and public looked on.

Then, one time when I was at the State Fair, I sat down at a concert where a catchy Hispanic tune was playing. Suddenly, a crazy idiot comes dancing down the aisle to the rhythm of the music, arms and legs flailing: Tou Ger. He reaches the stage and keeps on dancing while the audience laughs and applauds.

He came to our Hmong Troop 100 Scout meetings, where he did his regular stand-up performance. He got a good response from the boys because they, like him, struggle to fit in and be part of this American society.

They broke the mold when they made Tou Ger Xiong. There'll never be another.

David L. Moore, Minneapolis

The writer is a retired Minneapolis Public Schools teacher and long-time Scoutmaster of Hmong Scout Troop 100.