I always skipped over “the Obits” in the newspaper. That is, until my parents passed and I was finally faced with reading their obituary. That’s when I realized each one represented more than a person, they represented a life. A life with spouses, children, sometimes grandchildren, often scattered across the country. A life spent at a job or the military. A life with church, love and a legacy of lives they impacted.
So now I stop at the Obituaries, scan the names and faces, and say a quick prayer – External rest grant unto them oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
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Duke Divinity School was an awful place to be. I was part of the group of students that founded the LGBTQ student group in the Divinity School back in 1990.
I had one professor (who is still on faculty) tell me to get out of the M.Div. program and pray for the healing of the Holy Spirit. Another professor called me a heretic in class when I refused to answer a question on an exam that asked students to outline their argument to a gay couple on why they could not get married in the church. A third professor stood up from his chair in a seminar when I and another student said that the rejection of queer folk by the church carried an emotional toll; he yelled, “You can never expect the church to equate homosexuality and marriage. We have compassion but we do not and will not accept. The church doesn’t say to kleptomaniacs, ‘Be blessed. We affirm you in your compulsion to steal.’”
School officials told us the Divinity School was not bound by the university’s non-discrimination policy when we inquired why the full policy wasn’t published in the admissions materials or catalog of the school. They held firm until we went to a senior dean in the university, at which point we were ushered in to the dean’s office and told with “Methodist niceness” that the Divinity School would immediately correct this oversight. All this was happening 28 years ago. I’m sad it continues. Sad, but not surprised.
Teen suicide risk
One of my sons sent me a link to what appears to be an evidence-based study re school shootings (bit.ly/2t3Ap0W). Well worth reading. It is even more illuminating to “Google” information about teen/pre-teen suicide rates and methodology.
Teen depression/suicide would appear to present far greater risk to our children than school homicides. Our underfunded school system is failing to provide adequate, day-to-day mental health support to our children at the most difficult time in their lives. Large-scale tragedies like Parkland are rare. Children committing suicide is not rare.
Where is the “common sense” in arming teachers and squabbling about more gun laws when the very real opportunity to save many more young lives is so obvious?
John R. Rice, MD
Net neutrality not dead yet
Net neutrality, which recognizes the Internet is an everyday utility and opens countless avenues for entrepreneurs and job-seekers to hone, showcase and draw revenue from a variety of skills, is not dead yet. Whether it will be come April 23, the deadline for a congressional resolution of disapproval, is simply up to us.
Granted, the fact that we even need to wage this fight is head-scratching. The GOP-led FCC’s repeal of the current policy leaves America’s 21st-century economy and job market in doubt. If ISPs gain the “freedom” to block, slow down or charge more for access to a given website at will, many sites will lose business through no fault of their own.
The divide in Washington boggles the mind, especially as the party most inclined to preach hard work for an honest living is the only one with any officials actively or passively opposing online job growth.
In December, a University of Maryland poll found that 83 percent of all Americans, including 75 percent of Republican voters, support net neutrality. But this refreshing breath of bipartisanship must trickle up to Capitol Hill to have any tangible impact.
How our officials vote on this matter can and should sway their party’s prospects for the 2018 midterms and beyond. Regardless of how we register, we all must keep issuing that ultimatum. Keeping ISPs from disrupting the flow of our online experience and muddying the career paths of those who have everything but money at the beginning should be non-negotiable.
Over the last several years it has been painful to watch the deterioration of our district attorney’s office. The latest case involving the destruction of the Confederate memorial in front of the old courthouse is most troubling. Where was our new D.A. who was elected to clean up the mess in Durham? Nowhere to be seen except to reduce the charges against the defendants from felonies to misdemeanors and ultimately to dismiss the cases completely, even one where the fellow had pleaded guilty!
We have an important criminal case pending in Durham County involving the alleged murder of three foreign students in Chapel Hill. Will our D.A. show up for this case? Is he up to the task? Perhaps a special prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Office is in order? I think we just need a new D.A.!
Thank you, linemen
In the past few weeks the timber has been harvested in Orange County on Homestead Road to make way for a new development. This was very timely as the 50-year-old pines needed to be harvested and doing so prevented a great mess the wind storm last week would have caused. In addition, tree trimming in the Calvander area also prevented many power outages.
Thank you to all the linemen and women who work so hard to keep the power on and prevent damages from the weather. To celebrate let’s all go out and plant a tree or two somewhere not close to a house or power lines so we can enjoy watching it grow and provide us with oxygen and shade.
Palestinians must return
As an American Jew with much family in Israel and as someone who has been to the other side of the wall and met with non-Jewish families in Palestine, Jerry Markatos’ comments resonate with me. A “Jewish State” cannot be created by expelling entire villages of peaceful non-Jewish families from their homes. When we Jews finally encourage non-Jewish Palestinian families to return to their homes, to live in peace together as equals, only then will there be a truly morally Jewish state in the Holy Land.
Nazi comparison revolting
A small group largely representing the virulently anti-Israel organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has taken issue with legitimate concerns that “it is simply anti-Semitic” for Angela Davis “to accuse Israel of committing Nazi-like genocide.” Drawing a moral equivalency between Nazis and Israel constitutes Holocaust denial and Holocaust trivialization and deserves universal revulsion. Instead, the signatories’ unwillingness to denounce anti-Semitism informs readers of their true nature.
In the far left Haaretz, Jonathan S. Tobin explained that “JVP [is] in the same tent as Hamas, Iran and other rejectionists who still dream of wiping Israel off the map.”
Sadly, it comes as no surprise that one signatory endorsed a campaign that advocates for the elimination of Israel and repeatedly compares Israelis to Nazis. Another signatory protested Hillel – the largest Jewish student campus organization in the world – with a sign that read in Yiddish, “Down with Fascism.”
A third signatory tweeted that a recent Israeli security decision is a “new fascist dictate by Israel.” JVP members should be able to express concerns regarding Jewish issues without using terminology often reserved for Nazis.
Last summer, JVP specifically targeted the LGBTQ community at New York’s Israel Day Parade. In the progressive Forward, Jay Michaelson reported that JVP “endangered the safety and well-being of vulnerable queer young people” and that JVP “is a straight organization targeting queer people. That is evil.” Mordechai Levovitz, executive director of Jewish Queer Youth, told the Forward, “This was a planned action against the LGBT participants. That’s homophobia.” Levovitz referred to JVP’s protest as “a hate crime.” Michaelson described JVP’s actions as “an act of violence against the most vulnerable in our queer community.”
JVP is a hateful, bigoted group whose support of anti-Semitism, the elimination of Israel, and the specific targeting of LGBTQ marchers hardly represents Jewish values.
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