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Letters to the editor - 7/4/03

July 04, 2003

Pitts makes a good point


To the editor:

As a conservative Christian, I've often respectfully disagreed with comments made by syndicated columnist Leanord Pitts. But I applaud his June 18 column in The Morning Herald: "Embracing Jesus' words - too late."

Pitts highlighted an important issue that must be addressed in today's church: That of denouncing sin while refusing to help the sinner. His comments were sharp and targeted, yet respectful and needed. His suggestion to leaders in Christianity is to follow the example of our leader, Jesus Christ. That example being to not compromise on our Biblical distinctives, but at the same time, not be late to offer a helping hand to those who need it.

Luke recorded these words spoken by Christ: "The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." In other words, Christians don't always get it right and need to be instructed by others like Pitts. Many Christians, especially leaders, might be too proud to admit this, but remember who said it - Jesus.

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I love Christians, the church, and I have a pastor's heart. But let me say "Amen" to Pitts' comments and add:

1. If I'm against abortion, then am I willing to help with the needs associated with a single mom going full term and delivering the child? Or does my conviction and belief end at the picket line?

2. If I'm offended by an X-rated bookstore where struggling men and women can find peepshows that defile the mind, which hurts wives and children who suffer abuse at the hands of uncontrolled lust...am I also willing to pray for the victims, the owner of the bookstore, and do what I can to help men and women find freedom?

In other words, can I stand against immorality with the backbone of a saw log, while at the same time offer hope and healing through the love of Jesus Christ? Am I simply trying to add converts to my list in order to appease my Christian ego, or do I really love and care for others in the true spirit of Jesus Christ? Do I love them in their sin? Or only if they get "cleaned up" first. Is this how God loves? Certainly not.

Let's stay true to God's word, including the love part.

Pastor John Miller
Faith Christian Fellowship
Williamsport




Prison help hard to find


To the editor:

Traumatized and schooled by the violent streets of Crown Heights in New York City, I exported my skills to Baltimore. My turf - Murphy Homes. I ruled my block with a ruthlessness that led to a life sentence, all but 50 years suspended, for murder.

Prison continued to whet my insatiable appetite for blood. I carried it like a soldier in the trenches. Instead of guns, my knife helped slash my way through 14 suspected assaults on inmates; and I was charged with stabbing three correctional officers. Miraculously, I was found innocent of all assault charges, except for three on fellow inmates. They led to a total of 10 years' confinement at the Super Max prison. Doing time there was horrendous and made me hate authority even more.

Into my 17th year behind bars now at MCTC, I struggle to adjust to a softer environment. Strangely, alone in my cell, the same thought constantly haunts me - "It's time to change my behavior. Violence isn't the way." Although grounded in Islamic teachings, this non-violent thought is new, but compelling.

I now want to change my violent behavior into positive pursuits. But how? I have written to doctors at Patuxent, explaining my situation and my desire to change my behavior. I have asked for their help - no reply.

The psychiatrist at MCTC has seen me once - no help. Warden Stouffer has received numerous letters from me pleading for a transfer to Patuxent, so I can receive psychological counseling - no transfer.

My fear is I will be released within the next 10 years meaner than when I came to prison. I don't want to live with who I am now. Do you want me for a neighbor? Won't someone please help me?

Jerry Ray Sr.
No. 211-333
Maryland Correctional Training Center
Hagerstown

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