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Letters to the Editor

November 03, 1999

Who do I.D. badges help?

To the editor:

The preliminary approval of mandatory ID badges for county teachers by our Board of Education raises one question: To whom are the teachers identifying themselves by wearing such identification? The kids know the teachers.

I know that in some county schools the principal is rarely ever at the school, but the administrators should know who teaches in the building. I would guess that perhaps the ID badges are to help Theresa Flak or Herman Bartlett identify the teachers, except they are never in any of the schools.

Before the board in its typical style-over-substance philosophy adopts this expensive and seemingly useless policy, the obvious question as to the proposal's purpose ought to be answered.

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Kurt Britner

Williamsport

Let's remember Mary's worth

To the editor:

In regards to the offense to the Blessed Virgin Mary recently at an art museum in a major city I would like to make some comments about this wondrous woman:

Mary was the young Jewish virgin, chosen by God the father to be the mother of his son Jesus Christ, adding her humanity to his divinity. Her yes to God was the most important event ever to happen to this world because it meant our salvation by her son Jesus coming to us. Her generosity allowed Jesus to save us, and it's becoming more and more apparent that this world needs a savior.

Mary was with Jesus all of his life, from his birth in a poor stable to the flight to Egypt on a donkey while escaping Herod's jealous rage. She was at the marriage feast at Cana asking her son Jesus to remedy the problem of their running out of wine. This was Jesus' first miracle, changing water into wine. She told the servers "Do whatever he tells you." She was at the foot of his cross at his cruel death, for us. It should never be forgotten that his blood washes away our sins.

Mother Mary still comes today in many places around the world, such as Felina Lourdes, Garadandal, Dazule, Akita, Batania, Kibeho, Ukraine, Medjugorje and many more.

Her message is still the same - prayer, fasting, repentance and reconciliation. He request for our prayers is always so urgent because she knows this is our lifeline to God who is the only one who can change situations including calamities of weather.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is God's greatest gift to the world, second only to his son Jesus and the pouring out of herself for us should always be remembered with gratitude as something so very extraordinary.

Dorothy Panettiere

Hagerstown

For salvation, fear isn't the best tactic

To the editor:

Criticism and applause surrounds the "Hell House," a Halloween "soul-tickler" directly sponsored by three or four area churches and supported by many others. Designed and created to nudge people out of Satan's den and into the realm of God, this rendition of religion is troubling and deserves a response.

"Hell House" bids the question, "What is a healthy faith?" Jesus spoke to the holders of an unhealthy religion saying, "You cross land and seek to make a convert and when you make a convert, the person is twice the child of hell that you yourselves are." (St. Matthew 23:15). Scaring people out of a particular hell may indeed be casting them into another hell. I once knew a man who was so convinced he was eternally doomed that he spent weeks reading the Bible and then suffered a nervous breakdown.

I must question all religious efforts that are about scaring people "out of hell," and dividing people up into good guys/bad guys, as if any of us fully know the heart of God. I oppose this subtle focusing on gay and AIDS-riddled people as societal contaminants and persons who are beyond the bounds of God's grace and love as they are.

I know the pastors of two of the sponsoring churches of "Hell House" and they are good and God-fearing ministers. I do oppose their emphasis, however, which is more about a "God of vengeance" and less about a caring, compassionate and forgiving God.

Rev. Don R. Stevenson

Senior Minister

Christ's Reformed Church - UCC

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