Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 24, 2018

Practice kindness

Jul 11, 2018

To the editor:


Last week’s feature on Mt. Pleasant in the New York Times caught my eye. Although living in coastal Massachusetts, I consider myself a grandson of Mt. Pleasant. My mother Gladys (daughter of O.J. and Ozora Hoffman), grew up in a house facing the campus on the site of today’s Iowa Wesleyan library. My father, Paul, worked at the Fankhauser Dairy. While both moved on to careers in this country and abroad, they had happy memories of growing up in Mt. Pleasant. Our last family visit was in 1997, when my mother received an honorary doctorate at commencement. There is another connection, too. Our church congregation here in Cape Cod has been struggling with some of the same questions of faith and politics highlighted by the Times. Within our membership are some who support the president’s immigration policies and others (a far larger number) who oppose them strenuously. Each Sunday we are reminded by the liturgy that “all are welcome here,” irrespective of political views. In her last pastoral letter, our minister spoke of the Bible being invoked by public figures to justify grossly immoral polices.

“As people of faith, she wrote, “how can we not be outraged?” The church’s covenant, recently updated, commits members to “standing with and advocating for the hurt, the hungry, and the excluded.” Members do express their views. Last Saturday, a day of national and local protests against the President’s policies, several hundred townspeople from a wide range of faith groups and others carried signs expressing their concerns. My sign said, “De-ice.” An elderly gentleman to my right carried a sign favoring “Kindness.” In short, the Mt. Pleasant debate resonates with similar discussions around the country. How we treat people in our midst without proper documentation says a lot about our values as a nation. The sign of the elderly at the protest had it exactly right: “Practice kindness.”

Certainly, a serious long-term policy built on meanness will be doomed from the outset.

Larry Minear

Orleans, MA

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