Letters to the Editor — February 14, 2014

Church offers help to those in need


Judging and condemning those who are different from us is nothing new, particularly when we believe that those “different ones” are somehow inferior, or weaker than we are, or a threat to our own convictions or lifestyle.

This happens even in the animal kingdom, where the weaker ones can be systematically ostracized or eliminated for the good of the pack or heard. Animals are ruled strictly by instinct (I know, some pet lovers will disagree with me).

But human beings are supposed to be different. Even though instinct is certainly an important component of our behavior, we all know that it is not — by far — the only one. We can be altruistic; we can be compassionate for the poor or those who are suffering. Some might go as far as giving an organ or even their own life for those they love.

Unfortunately, most Christian churches in America have viewed their role as one of a traffic cop, telling people where to go, what to do and not to do. Consequently, they ended up being painted as a bunch of bigots and homophobes, and rightly so, I might add.

At the other end of the spectrum, some churches have decided to abdicate their own rules in the name of tolerance. At New Covenant, our goal is to be the “clinic” where hurting people of all sorts can come and seek compassion and healing within the framework of the Bible.

God did give us free will. However, to be sure, the Bible tells us that there are temporal, as well as eternal, consequences for our choices. As Christians, we do view God as a God of love and mercy, while at the same time as a God of justice.

However, let’s not forget that “Justice is of the Lord” the Bible tells us. In other words, that’s His job, not mine. My main job as a Christian is, above all, to extend mercy and love to my neighbor. It’s interesting to remember that Jesus did not specify who that neighbor may be, whether he may be my own spouse, a political opponent, a criminal, a drug or sex addict, or all of the above.

Jesus’s neighbors were often pariahs of that society: prostitutes, tax abusers, philanderers and even a criminal dying on the cross next to him. He never compromised on his own holy standards, but, by the same token, he never insisted on a changed behavior before engaging them in a dialogue, or performing a miraculous healing of their pain. He did expect repentance, however, and a decision on their part to change their ways after being healed of their pain.

As we see it at New Covenant, our modern American society is increasingly immersed in sexual immorality. As a result, more and more men of all ages are suffering. What may have started as casual looks at “adult” magazines may have developed into a full-fledged addiction. What was a friendly relationship with a secretary may have developed into an affair.

What seemed to be at first a lighthearted same-sex attraction to a good friend may have turned out into something which is destroying a marriage. In any case, the bottom line is that men can find themselves in situations which are tearing them apart, and yet from which they can find no way out. They feel trapped, enslaved, and end up hurting other people, as well.

Here, at New Covenant, we have no intention of confronting people who are comfortable with the sexual choices they have made, whatever they may be. But for those who are suffering of such choices, we want to let the word out that there is a church in this greater area willing to show them the way out of their misery.

To contact our Sexual Integrity Ministry: relief.soon@gmail.com.

Alan Bertaux
New Covenant (a PCA church), Lewes

Reader supports minimum-wage bill


Just as soon as the badly needed minimum-wage bill passed in the Delaware legislature, Rep. Ramone and other Republicans were working to gut it, introducing an amendment, HA4, which would pay some workers $5.81 an hour in June 2014, when the bill goes into effect. That would mean 75 percent of the minimum wage could be paid to:

• Anyone under the age of 18; or

• Anyone who is within the employee’s first 180 consecutive calendar days of employment with the employer; or

• Anyone employed in a seasonal capacity.

This would penalize many coastal Sussex families who already work in restaurants, motels and shops with seasonal part-time jobs to make ends meet. Frankly, it is unjust and cruel. Small businesses do not have to gain competitive advantage on the backs of their most vulnerable workers. If they can’t make a profit based on the excellence of their product and service, then they deserve to go under.

Beth Doty
Rehoboth Beach

Reader offers kind words on anniversary


I’d like to congratulate you, Susan Lyons and all your staff, both past and present, on the 10th anniversary of the Coastal Point. I read with interest the articles on the history of the paper in this week’s edition, and it was fun to remember some of the people who were with you in your early years. It was also heartwarming to read about people like Bob Bertram and Patricia Titus, who continue to make wonderful contributions to the paper and, therefore, to our community.

You and Susan have made the Coastal Point so important and valuable a mainstay of this area. Your generosity in publicizing and supporting local fund-raising events has been a key factor in making these benefits successful. Your reporting of election news and your recent participation as hosts of Candidates Night for the Town of Bethany Beach have been a great service to the voters.

Your timely articles and follow-ups of news relevant to our towns have kept locals and visitors alike informed of issues that affect our lives here in Sussex County. My husband and I eagerly look forward to the day we can get the latest issue of the Point, and we follow online when we’re away so that we can stay in touch with the area that we love.

The warmth, friendliness and caring of your staff, along with unfailing professionalism and good humor, have made it a pleasure to deal with and to read the Coastal Point each week.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Congratulations on 10 years of serving this community, and best wishes for your continuing success as the premier publication of the Bethany Beach area.

Joan Gordon
Bethany Beach

Reader supports Markell, budget


In his State of the State address, Gov. Markell called for a $500 million increase over the State’s current financial plan to invest in improving the state’s transportation network while creating good jobs and laying the foundation for future prosperity. He proposed a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase and borrowing to fund the proposal.

Tax increases are never popular; however, at times, they are necessary to meet genuine public needs. This is one of those times. Highway and bridge improvements are vital for public safety. Resulting construction jobs will enable Delaware’s workforce to earn decent wages and contribute to the economy, while businesses need a reliable transportation network to obtain supplies and raw materials and to get their products to market.

Gov. Markell’s proposal — including the gas tax increase — is in the best interest of all Delawareans. It will make us safer, create many good jobs and make our economy stronger.

Richard Legatski

Reader shares opinion on town elections


The short but excellent Coastal Point editorial of Jan. 31, 2014, dealt with local towns, their elections and progress. But, what caught my attention was the last sentence; and I quote, “It’s important that you identify those interests and vote accordingly.”

I firmly believe the author’s intent was to get people out to vote. We all have been taught that we must vote. However, voting is just one step of this very important process. Once the elected official has taken office, it is critical that the voters continue to participate in the democratic process by identifying their interests and making the elected representatives aware of these interests and priorities. When this happens, the will of the people can be carried out.

Thomas J. Sheeran
Ocean View

Reader chimes in on minimum wage bill


With the passage of Senate Bill 6, the minimum wage will increase to $7.75 an hour June 2014 and $8.25 June 2015. But if the GOP state legislators (and a few Democrats) have their way, even this increase will not apply to all workers.

Rep. Ramone sponsored House Amendment 4 (HA4) several weeks ago that would allow employers to pay some workers 75 percent of the minimum wage. It failed, but he plans to re-introduce it as a bill when the legislature re-convenes in March. Two Democrats, along with every GOP, voted for HA4.

Aside from the utter lack of fairness, who can’t see the abuse this bill would allow? How many employers would hire someone for five months and then lay them off and hire someone else? Who decides what is “seasonal”? Is December seasonal?

Ramone et al want to pay some workers $5.81 an hour in June 2014 and $6.19 in June 2015 — both below the current minimum wage.

A number of local groups fought for a $10-an-hour minimum wage, tied to a cost of living index. Minimum-wage workers will receive much less. Yet some legislators don’t want all workers to get even the meager increase the bill stipulated.

The Feb. 3 News Journal had a Delaware Voice article by Ramone. Ramone’s premise is false. Does he really think $7.75 an hour will allow a person to “meet basic living standards?” And does he really want us to believe he and other business owners can’t give this increase to all because it will “negatively impact them so much they will eventually lay off employees?”

I advocate for no exceptions to the minimum wage increases that just passed in the assembly.

Rex Shipp