Shining city on a hill

To the Editor:

A terrorist born in Uzbekistan killed eight people and injured many others in New York. Instead of going to heaven, as his ISIS instigators promised, he wound up in police custody. He should get a fair trial and, if convicted, pay an appropriate price for the horror he caused. Of course that “fair trial” has become more difficult thanks to our president.

Mr. Trump called our criminal justice system “a joke,” and “a laughing stock,” and tossed out the idea of transferring him to Guantánamo. He tweeted that this guy “should get the death penalty,” thus giving Sayfullo Saipov’s future attorneys ammunition to use in his defense. Smart.

Saipov came to the U.S. in 2010 on a “diversity visa,” a program begun in 1990. Since 2007, about 500,000 people have been admitted to the U.S. under this program. It’s a safe bet, however, that the leader of the free world doesn’t have a clue as to how that program works. No, he just wants to end the diversity lottery program. “It sounds nice; it’s not nice. Not good. It hasn’t been good,” he said.

I had the privilege of living in Ethiopia for a year and saw hope in the eyes of countless people who were desperate to get out of their country, people who applied for the dream of becoming an American. In that year, 2010, 745,372 Ethiopians applied for this visa. Of that total, 5,200 “won” the lottery. But that didn’t guarantee a visa. “Winners” must still meet stringent requirements, pass background checks and medical exams. Many don’t make the cut.

I was proud that I came from a country that offered hope to so many. I want us to remain a country that is, as Ronald Reagan said, “worthy of ourselves,” a country that remains “that shining city on a hill.”

Gary Sipperley

Twain Harte

Christian values

To the Editor:

We are in a time I never thought I would see in my lifetime in America. It is truly sad and disheartening to see the level of depravity, despair, anger, and even hate to which my country, our country, has fallen.

With the ever increasing pressures and demands of society and the breakdown of the family unit, our youth struggle to establish their personal identity, acceptance, and a sense of belonging and purpose.

Without the mentoring love, guidance, and commitment of a caring parent or other caring and responsible adult, many young people look for fulfillment through internet relationships, sports or entertainment icons, and to so-called friends who exploit their vulnerabilities. Others just withdraw altogether.

Many of our churches, which have traditionally and steadfastly provided the moral and spiritual guidance and support for our families, have gradually succumbed to secular demands for tolerance and political correctness at the expense of the church’s own long-held ideologies of faith, hope and Biblical principles. Thankfully, many are still there, ready and willing to stand in the gap.

Our currency and coinage declare “In God we trust,” passages from the Bible grace the lintels of many prominent buildings in our nation’s Capital, still we lock God out of our schools, remove every vestige of Him from our public venues, and seek to criticize or silence the mention of His name in public discourse, yet amazingly, though we fail to thank Him for the blessings we enjoy, we immediately call on Him and ask for His intervention, grace, and comfort at every catastrophe or tragedy.

I have heard one senator and one vice president quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

However, both left out one key conditional phrase: “and turn from their wicked ways.”

There seems to be no place for repentance or even the acceptance of responsibility in our society today. We are expected to be tolerant of everything except Christian values and ethics.

Bruce Thon