On forgiveness

Ira Lacher reflects on a major theme of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which begins at sunset on September 27. -promoted by Laura Belin

This is the season when Jews all over the world are bound to examine themselves and their actions, even their thoughts, emotions and feelings. During this time, culminating on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we are told that “for the sins of man against God, the Day of Atonement forgives. But for the sins of man against another man, the Day of Atonement does not forgive, until they have made peace with one another.”

I’ll be honest: This is the hardest year of my life to forgive.

Continue Reading...

July 4th provides a route to November 3rd

Herb Strentz: Some lines from the Declaration of Independence “remain sacred even in these days of skepticism, cynicism, and mutual betrayal. In a way, they got us here and they offer a way out.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Happy Fourth of July!

That opening is neither a belated salutation for 2020 nor a head start on Independence Day 2021.

Rather it suggests it may be a good idea to keep the Fourth in mind to stay sane through the 100 and more days we face of political rhetoric, folly, hatred and the like until the Nov. 3 election — unless, of course, that is called off or rigged  as some of the fears go.

Remembering the Fourth is like hearing at a place of worship that one should celebrate and practice one’s articles of faith every day — not only on days of festival and commemoration.

So let us focus on how we “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness;” and that, to those ends, “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Continue Reading...

After the Fourth of July

Tyler Granger: Amateur fireworks displays cause many problems, from airborne toxins to worsening respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

A new annual tradition is taking shape for Des Moines metro residents after the Fourth of July. For the last three years, air quality alerts have been issued due to excessive use of amateur fireworks.

Iowa legalized the sale and purchase of fireworks in 2017. Since then, pet owners across the state–especially owners of hunting dogs–have frequently been upset this time of year. Hunting dogs that are trained to work with gunshots will display anxiety over fireworks will show signs of distress as the Fourth of July approaches.

Continue Reading...

Memorial Day amid COVID-19

Memorial Day is supposed to be about honoring those who died in wartime service, but this year it’s hard not to focus on the unprecedented (for our lifetimes) carnage of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Sunday New York Times front page on May 24 had no photos, just six columns of text with a few words about each of 1,000 people who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s approximately 1 percent of the official U.S. fatalities, which are almost certainly underestimating the real death toll. As the headline conveyed, the scale of loss is incalculable.

Continue Reading...

Celebrating Easter, Passover in a pandemic

Most Christians (aside from those in the Orthodox Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses) are celebrating Easter today, and Jews all over the world are in the middle of the Passover festival. But the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted holiday celebrations along with almost every other aspect of normal life.

Many Iowa houses of worship have adapted by live-streaming services or broadcasting them on radio frequencies congregants can hear from cars parked outside the building.

Continue Reading...

Kim Reynolds' job title is governor. Not Christian faith leader

Governor Kim Reynolds has urged Iowans to “unite in prayer” today in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a proclamation presenting elements of Christian theology as fact, Reynolds declared April 9 to be a “Day of Prayer” statewide. An accompanying news release invited the public to participate in the Iowa Prayer Breakfast, which was held virtually this morning. The annual event features Christian faith leaders.

Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg appeared in their official capacity at the breakfast, via separate video links. Speaking from the state emergency operations center with the state flag and seal of Iowa visible behind her, Reynolds hailed the effort to keep “glorifying Jesus Christ through the public affirmation of His sovereignty over our state and our nation.” From the Capitol building, Gregg observed that “Christ’s love for us” will never change, even in challenging times.

A public health emergency is no excuse for elected officials to promote religion, especially not a specific faith tradition.

Continue Reading...
View More...