Open Forum for week of April 17

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to clint.riese@ecm-inc.com. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

Needed Legislation

Ugly. Queer. Freak. Skank.

These and others like them are just words. These are “teasing” words. Yet these words are deadly.

These words led to nine suicides and numerous attempted suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district from 2009-2010. Those who died were all teenagers, most under the age of 15.

All of those deaths, and the unknown, countless others across the state, were avoidable. They were avoidable, but there was no protection for the victims because their school district, like those throughout Minnesota, had no formal ability to prevent the deadly bullying that took place.

I applaud Governor Dayton and the Legislature for ensuring that more stringent anti-bullying protections are now in place statewide. Maybe, just maybe, no child in our state will be killed by the sharpness of a bully’s words ever again.

Devon Holstad
Forest Lake

 

Pray for Country

Once again we are being reminded that prayer has been an integral part of our nation’s history.

Each step in the forming of this nation and its constitution was preceded by prayer and trust in God – following his precepts as how man should live.

From before 1776 into the 21st century, American leaders have recognized God’s hand in our development and importance of Christian values in our culture – a culture offered to all people – to share, not change.

The National Day of Prayer – the first Thursday of every May – has been set aside for people of faith to gather and follow the founding fathers’ example by thanking God for our past and asking for his wisdom and guidance for our country.

The American culture’s Christian values are being diluted and taken away by our complacency, our being the nice guy, our doing what “feels right,” our taking personal gain, our not considering the consequences and our not focusing on serving the Lord.

Our culture needs to be retained for our children and grandchildren.

Join area pastors and citizens on May 1. Let’s pray with a love of God and a trust in his response – for each individual, all parents, every family and the churches there; for schools, teachers that share the truth, administrators that guide them and youth seeking to know themselves and the world around them; for government, with people chosen to manage our affairs.

At noon on Thursday, May 1 at the American Legion, pray to our awesome God!

Diane Rueb
Forest Lake

 

Bravo, School Staff

Thanks to our teachers and administrators for a wonderful night of entertainment on Saturday. The first annual school district staff variety show was a huge hit.

The acts were funny – some serious, but all very entertaining. I knew you were all good at your day jobs, but I had no idea of your star power!

At the same time, you were raising money for our Community Education program. Thank you for giving up time from your already-very-busy schedules. A big shout out to Julie Ohman for her leadership.

We are thankful to have all of you in our school district.

Karen Morehead
Forest Lake

 

Capitol Excess

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, I think most Minnesota voters feel that the $73 million Senate office building recently authorized by our Legislature is a waste of their money.

Who of us would build a new home while our present home was being remodeled?

I think that most Minnesota voters also realize that we do not really need 134 state representatives or 67 state senators. A bill has been introduced by Rep. Bob Barrett to reduce the number of representatives to 64 and senators to 32. That bill has received little or no publicity from the press, other than columnist Joe Soucheray.

Each Minnesota voter should ask their representative and their senator why a new $73 million office building is really needed. They should also ask why the number of legislators cannot be reduced.

If the numbers were reduced, there would absolutely be no need for the new office building, plus there would be considerable other savings.

Hopefully, there would also be more efficient action to pass good legislation.

Roger Machmeier
Chisago City

 

Lowered Ideals

Have you ever been accused of not being open-minded regarding same-sex marriage? I have, and the accusation inspired me to truly ponder how marriage is defined by society, as well as how I define it personally.

I quickly began to realize that the very meaning, the traditional meaning, is not what is defined in the dictionary. It seems that society has chosen to define marriage as really no more than a legal contract between two people – of the opposite or same sex – that choose be in a committed relationship recognized by the state.  The couple need not be open to life, and the contract can be broken if the relationship does not work out.

I am unclear as to when the definition of marriage came to include same-sex partners. How does a definition get changed, and by what authority? Who does this definition represent – the majority? I don’t recall having a vote.

Call me old-fashioned perhaps, but I feel upholding the beautiful tradition of a marriage between one man and one woman is not only necessary for stable and healthy families, but society itself depends on it. It is so much more than just a legal contract between two people.

Slowly and gradually, society has lowered our ideals regarding marriage. I remember when I was a little girl playing with my friends chanting the jump-rope song: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”

I miss those simple days and can’t help but wonder what the future holds.

Jean Morehead
Forest Lake

  • Foodonastick

    While I have no issue with The National Day of Prayer, I can’t help but notice an unwritten implication in the letter “Pray for Country”.

    The letter writer use the phrase “Christian Values” as if other religions’ values are of no consequence.

    Are not Jews, Muslims etc. invited to participate?

    And just what are Christian Values?

    The Westboro Baptist Church (the ones who protest at US Soldier’s funerals) claims to be a Christian Church; are their Christian Values the values that letter writer is asking us to pray for?

  • Tess

    Jean Morehead, you can keep your simple, old-fashioned marriage. I will take a marriage in which I am equal to my spouse and have a voice. A marriage that I can exit if it is abusive or harmful to me or my children. People tend to romanticize the past. Of course it was simpler when we were children, because we were children.

    Meanwhile, the adults were signing purchase agreements for their homes with a clause that said the subdivision was “restricted,” meaning minorities couldn’t buy or live there. That made life simple because nobody had to assiciate with people who were not just like them. Simple, for everyone except the ones who were restricted.

    There were still gay people, they just couldn’t get married to the person they truly loved. They married the person their parents wanted them to marry or never married at all. Some carried on secret trysts with their lover, and nobody was the wiser. Simple, for everyone except the gay people.
    Mental illness, infidelily, sexual and physical abuse, etc. All of that was happening, but it was swept under the rug and kept hush-hush. It was a simpler life for some because they never had to face anything that made them uncomfortable. I don’t consider any of the situations I stated stable or healthy.

    People are not lowering their standards. The ones who haven’t had it easy in the past are finding their voices and forcing people to deal with it, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Fortunately, more and more people are realizing that we don’t all have to be the same.

    As far as what the future holds, my children will be better for being taught that we all have value and no matter what their struggles are, they will at least be allowed to be who they are.

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