The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers.

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265

Muslim  neighborliness

A few years ago a few church members studied “The Jesus Fatwah: Love Your (Muslim) Neighbor as Yourself.” This study was created by both Islamic and Christian scholars offering reliable information about what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we all can be about building relationships across the lines of faith. It seems basic that Jesus taught love of neighbor, of everyone, no exceptions.  

This Thursday, Farrah Prudence will speak of the terrors of Shariah Law, which is the religious law of Islam. It’s certain that she may have been a victim of many horrors, but those inflicting terror certainly do not speak for all of Islam. Other Abrahamic traditions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) have also created their own religious laws.   

Consider the many Christians that declare with certitude that the bible must be interpreted literally in spite of its many troubled depictions of God... Some judge another’s sexuality and  oppose abortion regardless of circumstances. Some Christians declare support of guns, weapons of war, and capital punishment even when the Bible clearly states “Thou shalt not kill,” and Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” The Bible is a complex book in which one can find support for any belief one seeks to support.

Imagine if a Native American or a Black descendant of slavery were to convert to Islam and share the terrors of their treatment by their captives, claiming it was at the hands of Christians.

Could Christianity be defined by the acts of the Ku Klux Klan or the displacement, even extermination, of so many Native Americans?    

Isn’t it true that when we define God as for us and against them, that horrible acts can be done in the name of God? This was expressed so well in Matt Danielson’s editorial last week.   

How much simpler it is to see Jesus as the expression of God’s love and compassion for the world, for all humanity, and all of creation? And to know that God is big enough to find expression through Islam and so many other religions enlightened by God’s grace.

—Vicki Poier


Veterans on the hill

We may be on the verge of one of the most sweeping statements of state military support.

Governor Tim Walz announced during a Capitol rotunda gathering of our states’ veterans that there would be no homeless veterans by the end of 2019. This is very bold. In light of the scourge that America still sees 22 veterans each day average committ suicide. This could be an astounding admission that 1) we are ready to do something about this and so many other issues of government (state, national, our veterans administration needs to do something.) (As much as the veterans of this state and nation) have done to try to meet the challenges and fix the wrongs in a system of promises and pledges to our veterans who have provided and preserved our freedoms for at least 242 years. America can be great again. We can only hope this is the best usage of our current Minnesota budget surplus and will be a continued “best effort to honor” promises made to our veterans who have stepped to answer American needs in all the worst times of our history. We probably already know of veterans who need help. We also know of widows and women - families with deployed soldiers who need our help when our country’s concerns need our attention. We can and should support this and all other efforts to honor our committments and promises to help veterans and their families when they are in need also. We hope this can come true.

—Dave Swenson


Drivers licenses

Montevideo residents in favor of House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler’s legislation reinstating licenses for all, regardless of immigration status, traveled to the State Capitol last Thursday to make an appeal in person to Senator Andrew Lang.

Twenty-seven Monte­video residents boarded a school bus at 5:15 A.M. and met with Lang later in the morning. Cristina Aldana, pastor of New Jerusalem Pentecost Church in Montevideo organized the event with Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, a statewide faith-based civil rights organization.

Despite the chilly morning, the group was enthusiastic as they boarded the bus and were looking forward to talking directly with policymakers about the issue. The group included several students from Montevideo Middle School and Montevideo High School. The bus also made stops in Marshall and St. Cloud.

David Anariba graduated from MHS in 2008. He shared with Lang how he came to Montevideo with his parents when he was eight years old and was able to obtain a driver’s license in 2013 at the age of 22 after obtaining legal residency through the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. He asked Lang to support the legislation so that his parents and friends could drive to work and school without fear and so that children would not live in fear of parents being arrested and deported for driving without a license.

Senator Lang did not indicate any movement on the position he has taken against the bill.

But Lieby Sanchez, age 14 the last constituent to speak, told Lang “I hope that God will touch your heart. Not having a license is a worry for me and my parents.”

Before 2002, Minnesota allowed all Minnesotans, regardless of immigration status, to obtain drivers' licenses. Winkler’s bill would allow Minnesotans to obtain a “noncompliant” license with verification of identity and proof of a Minnesota residence.

The bus ride back from St. Paul included discussion about next steps. Because the meeting with Senator Lang was brief, organizers asked Lang for another meeting in Montevideo. They also discussed asking local city, law enforcement, and faith leaders for support, noting that Winkler’s bill already has the support of a broad coalition of organizations, including the Willmar Area Chamber of Commerce, the Minnea­polis and St. Paul Police Departments, Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle, Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson, and Archbishop Bernard Hebda, leader of the Twin Cities Catholic Archdiocese.

—Ellen Moore