Churches should stay out of politics
The article, “Valencia County’s 17 presidential elections streak comes to an end,” in the Nov. 24 Albuquerque Journal points to a disturbing trend.
Some people have suggested, as this article points out, that there are mega churches in Valencia County that have been preaching politics from the pulpit. This “politicking from the pulpit” helped skew the county vote in favor of one candidate. Church involvement in politics is not new.
Are these churches not aware that preaching politics is an illegal practice because churches are given a tax-free status? This is because of the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.
Do these churches not realize what happened in World-War II Germany when the Lutheran Church fully backed Hitler? When the Church did this, it lost its ability to effectively criticize Hitler’s regime when it decided on the “final solution” to eradicate Jews and other minorities.
Could the same thing happen in this country? Of course, it could. Germany was a democracy before Hitler obtained complete control of all political power and turned the country into the Third Reich, an evil autocracy. Democracy is fragile. Let us protect it!
Billy Graham, perhaps the last great gospel-preaching evangelist, envisioned a future time when churches might get involved in politics. In 1981, he stated, “It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” The day that he envisioned is here.
We are not suggesting that individual Christians be apolitical. It is important that they get involved in politics and vote accordingly. But it is quite another thing, and it is politically dangerous, for pastors and their church congregations to become politically involved to the extent that they support one political party.
It is also spiritually dangerous when churches become politically involved. For new believers, it may be difficult to distinguish between what is politically expedient and what are spiritual teachings from the gospel.
Thomas and Nelda Lobb
National Rural Health Day had special meaning
On Nov. 19, we celebrated National Rural Health Day across the nation. This year more than ever this day was especially important.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it abundantly clear that those living in rural America are especially vulnerable to this deadly disease.
This day of recognition not only brings to light the health care issues facing our rural health providers and first responders but to honor their heroic efforts since the COVID-19 virus has ravaged our country.
Let’s not forget there are 57 million Americans living in rural communities and all of them deserve the best possible medical care. Over the years, USDA Rural Development has become a major partner to rural America by providing financing to pay for numerous health care projects.
For example, here in New Mexico we’ve funded the construction of hospitals, medical centers, the purchase of ambulances and medical equipment and the construction of a factory making medical gloves.
We’ve also funded telemedicine systems and Project ECHO operated by the University of New Mexico Health Care Sciences Department which provides a weekly educational series to medical professionals on how to handle and treat the COVID-19 virus.
Please know we have not given up the fight and USDA Rural Development will continue our commitment to provide the financial support to our rural health care entities.
Finally, please join me in thanking and honoring our health care providers and our first responders who have dedicated themselves to provide the best possible health care to our rural residents at all times especially now during this pandemic.
Remember their commitment could be saving your life someday.
State director, USDA Rural Development
Trapping wildlife in a socially-minded world
In an era of social justice, isn’t it time we relate to all species?
Trapping has been used in the United States for a long time. Historically, around 1550, the “Beaver Era” started and lasted for about 300 years. Other furbearers were trapped during “The Beaver Era,” including the bobcat, badger, muskrat, raccoon, river otter and coyotes. The fur was used mainly for clothing.
By 1830, the price of beaver fur and other furbearers fell because of competition from the silk trade. Fortunately, a “conservation movement” soon developed. The idea of wildlife management plans grew as part of Teddy Roosevelt’s administration and the influence of conservationist Aldo Leopold.
However, in New Mexico trapping is still the longest hunting season. There are no bag limits and no oversight as to how many furbearers still exist. Traps are indiscriminate while killing and injuring all wildlife and pets.
Isn’t it time we contemplate our ancient trapping practices that involve a tremendous degree of cruelty and suffering and ban trapping on all public lands? Future generations deserve to see animals of all species and we need to stop cruelty of all types in a socially-justice minded world.
The Valencia Fair Management Co. Inc. (VFMC) thanks the following citizens, groups, businesses and organizations that participated or bought animals during the 2020 Junior Livestock Sale at the Valencia County Fair:
4 Daughters Land and Cattle, AC Disposal, Albuquerque Asphalt Inc., Bizzell Electric, Black Hills Enterprises, Build It Right
Cattleman’s Livestock Auction, CEMCO, Conquistador Dental, Cross Country Propane, Diamond T Trailer, Elite Communication, Farm Bureau Financial Service Bosque Farms, Frontier Outfitter
H.A.W. Farms, Hall-Gnatkowski Ranch, Jones Dairy Inc., King Energy Savers, Mesa Tractor, MWI, Ned’s Pipe and Steel, Old Mill Farm and Ranch Supplies, Onate Feed LLC
Pareo Dairy, ProSteel Inc., N.M. Rep. Gail Armstrong, Schwebach Ag Service, SLK Farms, TLC Plumbing, T&T Trailer Sales
Valencia County Buyers Pool, Valley Tractor, Village Veterinary Hospital and Westway Homes.
Thanks to everyone who made the sale a tremendous success this year, and we look forward for the continued support of the Valencia County Fair in 2021.
Valencia Fair Management Co.