Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Sept. 15, 2007

Church unites brilliant minds

Finally, two brilliant minds from South King County come together to put an end to religion in America.

Too bad it took over 200 years before the keen minds of Jim Knapp and Pat Gee (letters to the editor, Sept. 8 and 12) did what hundreds of constitutional scholars and atheists have endlessly debated. Their brilliant idea to tax churches is so simple — and nobody thought of that before? Brilliant.

Just think of all that money going to waste in those church coffers. It should be handed over to the government. It’s a well-known fact that the government can stretch a dollar farther than anyone else. Why, just look at the results: Congress is passing new laws which make our lives better, DSHS is protecting all the vulnerable kids, traffic is better than it has ever been and light rail is on time and on budget.

And just think of the flip side — the government can turn around and start dealing that money back to the churches in the form of block grants to redevelop more church property. Think of all the neighborhoods that can be revitalized into religious enclaves, where they can exclude non-believers and ex-convicts. Those will be the purest neighborhoods ever, maybe Pat Gee and Jim Knapp would want to live there.

And won’t it be great to have churches participating in the political process? With their tax-exempt status extinguished, they will be able to raise as much money as George Soros and become a conservative challenge to Move-On.org. Yes, there isn’t enough religion in politics and taxing churches will help solve that problem for Pat Gee and Jim Knapp. You just can’t have too many 501(c)(3) groups based on a religious philosophy.

Finally, what business does religion have doing all that charity work anyway? That’s what government should be doing? We don’t need volunteers to be making blankets for earthquake victims in the mountains of Pakistan and sending thousands of tons of food to New Orleans after the next hurricane. FEMA could do that if it had more money — that’s what they’re good at.

Yes, let’s make churches full partners in the government’s many ventures. That will stop people from worshiping, volunteering and educating their children. Who needs that stuff? It creates traffic, damn it!

Pat, Jim, I’m with you man. Sign me up for your political movement. That’s so brilliant.

Steven Goff, Federal Way

Perspectives on churches

Pat Gee’s Sept. 8 letter to the editor against Christian Faith Center could use some healthy perspective.

I am not a member of CFC, nor have I ever been. I was, however, privileged to learn from Pastors Treat and Gandara at a small youth leadership seminar.

Federal Way’s City Council has neither the ability, nor authority, to identify anyone as a “false prophet” because they are a secular entity. They do not have the privilege of denying (or making) zoning changes based on any citizen’s self-exalted opinion that someone else is, or is not, a false prophet. The disgust aimed at the council is, at best, misdirected.

As often as educational challenges and WASL disappointments are discussed in The Mirror, why don’t you celebrate another good school option instead of maligning it?

The use of “their” (school) tries to paint CFC’s school as exclusionary. To the contrary, the majority of Christian schools appreciate the opportunity to teach with excellence and share their core beliefs; being “exclusionary” is counterproductive.

Whining that the “money taken in (on CFC’s opening Sunday) was not for the City of Federal Way” is downright laughable. Why should money, freely given by the members of a church to conduct their church affairs, be given to the city? Does the city marry the church’s young, bury their old, bring meals to their sick or pray with them in the hospital? Ah, what twisted ideas are conjured up to justify bitterness and closed mindedness.

Wonderful and intelligent people give money in houses of worship every week. Is the hostility reserved only for CFC, or do you resent all of us supporting our churches and pastors?

As for your supposition that Federal Way will not benefit from this “false prophet” and “his church,” an open mind will easily see the benefit all churches bring to their neighborhoods, besides rarely eating up city resources on police calls. Asking nothing in return, caring church members build the community by bringing compassion and hope to the neediest of our citizens. To deny this or any church the ability to minister on their legally-owned property, or to try and sandbag their efforts (via Saturday’s vitriolic letter), does more than announce one’s acrimony toward the church; it robs the surrounding community’s disadvantaged from critical help so freely made available by that church. Begrudging the needy the opportunity to have their needs met because you have “issues” of some sort is so… small.

Choose to set antagonism aside and you will see Federal Way churches consistently meeting needs: Feeding the hungry, giving full backpacks to 600 little school kids, painting dreary school doors, creatively helping students practice math so their school passes the WASL, conducting student tutoring and ESL classes, offering winter coats, delivering a houseful of furniture to a desperate single mom of three, going to the trouble of making sure their services are interpreted in Korean, Spanish, Slavic and signed for the deaf, making the streets safer by introducing teens to the love of God so they can find purpose, renovating dilapidated parks, bringing meals to the sick — and more acts of kindness than I have room to detail.

Churches of every description offer marriage classes and rescue countless homes from divorce, usually at no charge. Some offer safe houses, while others provide places for women to recover from abuse. An unbiased bit of research would reveal that CFC is one of the churches offering help and shelter to such women. Thirty seconds of humble reflection would reveal that some of the money you condemn this church for accepting actually maintains the facility that helps those who share your gender.

Yes, some pastors have more material wealth than others, but then so do people in every walk of life. Much of the time wealth comes not from offerings, but from book royalties and the like.

Ultimately, no pastor is answerable to you, unless you are the giver questioning how your money is being spent. Simple as that.

With the abundance of genuinely urgent matters in our world, why waste heartbeats being negative about a church that offers help to so many? I’ve found that when I give myself to helping others, my knickers don’t get in a knot over someone else’s business because I am just too busy to wallow in negativity.

Pastor Casey Treat’s personal friend, Shaun Alexander? (The writer says with a twinkle and a smile.) He’s a big boy now, and his mama didn’t raise a dummy. Surely that’s not what you meant to insinuate?

When it comes to choosing his church, commercials or friends, Mr. Alexander has no need of a “nanny.”

Harriet Cook, Federal Way

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