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Letter to the Editor: Bethel’s Actions Elicit Strong Reactions

Editor’s note: John Oertle wrote this opinion piece in response to a March 17 piece published in the Redding Record Searchlight. He submitted his letter to editor to the Record Searchlight and aNewsCafe.com.  

I would like to join the chorus of people who will undoubtedly react to the recent opinion piece entitled “Redding’s relationship with Bethel complicated” (March 17).

First, the word “advertisement” should have been posted on top of the article. The headline itself gave the impression that the article would be fair and balanced. It wasn’t. Instead, there were four columns where Bethel was praised time and time again, and the article really was an unpaid advertisement for the church.

It was noted that Bethel is building a $148.8 million dollar expansion of its campus. Why doesn’t this moneymaking operation (which it is) use some of its many millions to deal with real-life problems in Redding, like homelessness? If Bethel took just a fraction of that $148.8 million and applied it to a day center and overnight lodging for people who don’t have anywhere else to go, that would be doing God’s work.

Another of my concerns is the number of people that Bethel attracts to this area from other parts of the world. I’m wondering how many of them come here on student visas with family members and then begin to work at businesses that are connected to Bethel members, even though there are restrictions on working while in the United States. That would be an interesting question to research.

Finally, I believe Bethel’s ultimate goal is to take over the day-to-day operations of the City of Redding and as many local businesses as possible. There is an online list of these businesses, and I avoid all of them … to stop Bethel’s “almost supernatural commitment” (quoting from the article) before it gets any worse.

John Oertel, Redding