Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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A local pastor and a local atheist debate Should Abortion Be Legal?

- August 18th, 2014  

As we all know, much ink (and blood) has been spilled over the whole abortion debate. I hardly believe my 270 words will be a game-changer, but I offer them for your consideration:

I originally started out with three arguments as to why abortion has been a bad deal for everyone—women, men, and society as a whole. I’m old enough to remember one of the early pro-choice arguments: abortion will eliminate or severely curtain child abuse because only wanted children will be born. Have you checked out the statistics on child abuse rates over the past 40 years lately?

Space doesn’t allow me to dive deep into the reasons why abortion is a bad deal for everyone, so let me take a different approach: every human being is uniquely created in the image of God. I bet you didn’t see the “God-card” coming from the pastor, right?

While my atheist friends see human life as a quirk of history or biology, followers of Jesus believe we are neither incidental nor accidental. We are providential—created by God and for God’s purposes. And if that one statement is true, it changes the way we view every human being—born and unborn.

Life is sacred. Treasure, nurture, and protect it. There are tons of viable alternatives to abortion that protect the sanctity of the life of the unborn child and assist women in crisis pregnancies. I say stop the madness, pass laws that protect the unborn child, and let’s unleash unprecedented amounts of compassion for both the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

Gary’s Response

Yes, life is sacred. Overpopulation threatens the lives of everyone currently living, as well as those not yet born. It also threatens our ultimate viability on the planet. I cannot envision ignoring our future as part of any god’s purpose. Additionally, abortion is often the only way to protect the life of the mother. Overshadowing all of that is the absolute right we all have to self-determination. I marvel at conservative views that espouse the benefits of capital punishment, but ignore the needs of women who are unhappily pregnant. Abortion is an unfortunate choice, but must remain one until we find better solutions.

This may be the most polarizing subject in America today. Depending on the poll, the country is almost evenly divided on whether or not abortion should be legal, with qualifiers for varying circumstances. I have straddled the fence on this issue my entire life; I see merit to both views.

One consideration must be that world population is nearing the point at which the Earth can no longer equitably sustain its human inhabitants. Do we continue to increase that number irrespective of the fact that many births are unplanned and unwanted? We must find a better way to control for this outcome since current birth control methods are clearly inadequate and not available to everyone.

Ultimately though, I see this as a matter of personal choice. Who am I to tell a pregnant 17- year old that she must give birth to a child regardless of her wishes? It is similar to demanding that we all be required to donate organs upon death so that others may live. What we do with our bodies must always remain our decision alone.

Nonetheless, I see a need to establish some limits. While it is absurd to attach personhood to a two-day old zygote, a viable fetus is a different matter altogether. In my view, the point at which a developing birth can survive outside the womb is the point at which we should demand legal protection. At that stage, it is no longer just one body.

Nick’s Response

Personal choice...hard to argue against that. Except when that choice ends the life of an innocent child. In 100% of abortions the child essentially screams, “I CHOOSE LIFE.” Immunologists (among others) have demonstrated that the baby growing inside the mother is a completely separate life growing inside her. This is not like a tumor that can be removed and discarded. This is a baby for crying out loud! Some day we will look back and ask ourselves, “How did we ever come to a point where we thought killing tens of millions of unborn children was okay?”

Where We Agree

Nick and Gary agree that life is sacred and that no one finds abortion to be a suitable solution for unwanted pregnancies. Both feel strongly that childbirth is an amazing experience and that in an ideal world, every baby would be welcomed into a loving home.

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