Homophobic rhetoric from religious leaders is pushing Americans away from churches

Religious leaders

On April 21, The State reported that some conservative religious leaders pushed lawmakers to remove provisions of a proposed hate crimes bill that will have prolonged protections to members of the LGBTQ group. Tony Beam, the S.C. Baptist Convention Public Policy Director, mentioned “Religious leaders worry that the current bill later could lead to a law used to prosecute Christians, specifically Christian Evangelicals, for talking about their stances on homosexuality and transgenderism.” In different phrases, they’re so afraid of being referred to as out for his or her homophobic rhetoric that they won’t help a invoice that requires additional punishment for many who violently assault folks due to their precise or perceived sexual orientation or gender id. Instead, these religious leaders see themselves as victims of persecution.

According to a current Gallup poll report, church membership in America has declined by 20% up to now 20 years, with the best losses amongst younger adults. Apparently they’re notably delicate to that form of hypocrisy.

Fortunately, there are different religion leaders (and lawmakers like Brad Hutto) who perceive that the command to “love your neighbor” means ALL of your neighbors, no exceptions. I hope their voices prevail.

Miriam Johnson, Columbia

Planting bushes

For Earth Day this 12 months, Governor McMaster distributed thousands of loblolly pine seeds to people around the state to plant trees and prevent flooding. This gesture will do little to assist erosion and local weather change with out actual laws to guard wetlands and outdated progress bushes close to the considerable creeks and rivers in S.C.

I reside close to Gills Creek in a neighborhood of Columbia, and our avenue was utterly devastated by the 2015 flood. Every home on our block had water injury so badly that almost all wanted to be torn down. By 2017, builders started to come back in and tear down homes on the creek, lower down all of the outdated sturdy pines, and construct new greater homes subsequent to Gills Creek.

At the identical time, the town lower down a whole bunch of bushes in a forest subsequent to the creek to exchange the sewer strains with out replanting any bushes. These actions have resulted in much less safety from erosion and elevated flooding. If McMaster really desires to guard the wetlands and the pure S.C. setting, he can cross legal guidelines that defend these vital pure areas from improvement, plant bushes to lower flooding, and cut back local weather change all on the identical time.

Kyla Saphir, Columbia

Medical marijuana

During this season of rebirth, I used to be disheartened to read the article written by the chief of SLED, Mark Keel, opposing Senate bill 150, which is currently residing in the Senate. I respect Chief Keel and all the pieces he has carried out to guard our communities, however am dismayed that he is misrepresenting this compassionate medical marijuana invoice. A tightly regulated medical marijuana program must be lowest on what must be a protracted checklist of priorities.

S. 150 is a narrowly crafted, conservative invoice. It doesn’t enable smoking or uncooked hashish, and it is restricted to extreme, debilitating medical situations. Suffering sufferers shouldn’t danger the indignity and trauma of arrest. SB 150 would lastly enable sufferers to entry lab-tested hashish safely. It would additionally give veterans and others with extreme accidents and sicknesses a much less harmful different to opiates. After six lengthy years, we hope you agree the S.C. Compassionate Care Act deserves a vote on the ground. Now is South Carolina’s time to embrace optimistic change and to face up for its susceptible, to not reside in concern.

Judy Ghanem, Murrells Inlet

VA healthcare

I really feel it is excessive time to dispel the stereotypical, unfavorable opinion concerning the Veteran Affairs medical system. I don’t know what number of occasions I’ve heard VA medical middle “horror stories” from each the visible and print media, however I’ve actually by no means heard something good. I would be the one to begin. My major care doctor, Dr. Raghu Boppana, is fingers down the most effective physician I’ve ever had in my practically 65 years. He’s not one to hurry you out and in. He talks to me on a private stage and really exudes care. Even the VA Medical Center in Columbia is amazingly affected person pleasant. I’m really sitting within the aforementioned hospital as I write this, and I actually really feel like I’m being handled like royalty.

I’m extraordinarily happy with the VA medical system!

Jeff Jones, Greer

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