Lighting a path

The Greater Waco Interfaith Conference shares the concerns of many Americans regarding the recent travel ban. We stand with our Muslim neighbors here in the U.S. and abroad. We condemn religious discrimination and support the fundamental value of religious freedom, a founding and enduring principle of our nation.

At this crucial moment in our history, every American must take a moment to ask, “What are the values for which I stand?” In a nation where 98 percent of us are immigrants and the children of immigrants, we are saddened and troubled by the prejudice directed by a few Americans toward our Islamic neighbors and toward immigrants and refugees who come to our shores as workers, tourists, students, family members and more.

Americans are 200 percent more likely to be killed by a speeding bus than by Muslim terrorists. Turning away others based on their religion is not only unconstitutional, it is nonsensical, in terms of keeping Americans safe from terrorism. The GWIC will not let our decision-making be driven by fear.

Our nation, like many others, has struggled to understand and live by the principles of freedom. To love this nation is to engage these principles fully and with discernment. When we act out of anxiety and ignorance, we create terrible circumstances in which extremism flourishes. A door locked in the face of the unknown is a victory for fear and bigotry. In closing such doors, we recommit the error of Pandora, who set free all the terrors and sorrows of the world, only to slam the lid on hope: the only possible salvation from such terrors.

The Greater Waco Interfaith Conference seeks to build bridges, not walls. We challenge ourselves and our neighbors to reach across faith lines to increase understanding, tolerance and compassion for those of many spiritual and religious truths. We are Christians, Muslims and Jews; we are Baha’i, Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist, humanist and more. As Americans, we believe in this country and its people. At its best, the United States has long served as a light illuminating many paths to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. May it continue to be so.

Pastor Kris Cervantes, president, Greater Waco Interfaith Conference

Let’s just fix it!

I am dismayed to see that Republicans have moved to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. This shows a lack of foresight in the name of purely partisan politics. Some 20 million people are now covered by health insurance, which, admittedly, is part of an imperfect system. It seems more prudent to work with the existing model and make changes to those parts that could be made better rather than trashing the entire program. Such extreme moves seem to characterize Trump’s immature reasoning across the board.

Beth Ullman, Waco