Opinion: Bethel Declined to Participate in Vigil

I had the privilege of organizing Redding’s Lights for Liberty vigil for Friday. July 12, one of approximately 800 events worldwide. It was held to bring attention to, and asked for, an end to concentration camp like conditions at our U.S. detention centers.

Since this is a humanitarian crisis that transcends party lines and religious affiliation, I invited (albeit on short notice) a few larger churches in the area to pass the event information along to their congregants, or at least inform their clergy in case they wanted to participate.

The response I received from Bethel church was both frustrating and disappointing. A representative emailed me that “while all life is precious”, the entity was “unable to promote all local events and wouldn’t be able to promote this event.”

It’s understandable that perhaps Bethel wouldn’t want to promote Kool April Nights. This vigil was something altogether different, however, and is based on the very foundation the church proclaims to teach: emulating Jesus’ love to our brothers and sisters; taking a compassionate approach to all as Jesus did, rather than a punitive approach.

Bethel puts itself into a quandary with its response considering the following:

There are numerous admonitions in the Old Testament to welcome the stranger. Mary and Joseph sought asylum in Egypt when Jesus’ life was in danger due to Herod’s proclamation. Bill Johnson himself personally and very publicly promoted the man who created this crisis.

“Whatever you do for the least of these, you have done for me.” In this case, Bethel refused to even consider ‘the least of these’.

Bill Johnson’s church demonstrates an obvious selectivity in its community participation. I wonder what an omnipotent God thinks of that?

Valerie Anderson

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96 Responses

  1. Avatar Tim says:

    Concentration camps are places where law abiding citizens were rounded up based on race & ethnicity, starved, forced into labor, denied basic medical care, and ultimately executed.

    Detention centers are where criminals await their cases’ disposition, are given 3 hots & cot, provided basic medical care, aren’t forced into labor, and are ultimately released healthier than they arrived.

    It is a partisan issue, because none of you objected when Obama was detaining criminal immigrants. The outrage is simply a byproduct of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

      Asylum seeking is not a crime! A court actually had to order one detention center to allow a doctor in, and a UN human rights activist recently stated the conditions she saw while visiting a ‘center’ were the worst she’d ever seen (see the Guardian). Obama deported more people than his, predecessor and he wasn’t overcrowding, denying medical care or violating the Flores settlement – migrants were released w ankle monitors with over a ninety five percent success rate. Those monitors cost you as a tax payer $4 / day (many DID object to this) , you are currently paying $775 / day to private prison corps GEO and CoreCivic for tent cities to contain the backlog this president purposefully incurred.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Valarie, what is your answer to detention centers in Arizona? Triple teen temps combined with approaching Monsoon season means we have to get then in shelters or they will die on the street. And CoreCivic is looking to expand their detention centers in California. Why don’t you send a couple of buses down here to Phoenix and take those ankle monitored migrants to Redding.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Valerie…asylum seekers have increased by almost 2,000 percent, but when the Trump administration begged Congress for hjelp, what was their response? “This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis” Said Chuck Schumer…”“Mr. President, we don’t need to create artificial crises. We have enough real ones.” said Bernie Sanders…”The President is manufacturing a crisis.” Said speaker Nancy Pelosi. So now that they changed course and admit that there is actually a crisis…they now all blame President Trump. Disgusting. Oh, and by the way. Trump did not build one of these ‘concentration camps’. They were all built by President Obama. I’m glad Bethel did not join your highly partisan, anti-Trump political rally. I wouldn’t have gone either.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Seeking Asylum is not a crime. Needlessly breaking into the US and then applying for asylum is (Central American migrants are in no immediate danger in Mexico while awaiting approval).

        • Avatar Larry Winter says:

          Saying those that come across the border is needless is a subjective view, needless to say.

          That still doesn’t bar them from applying for asylum, according to our laws.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            They aren’t being detained for applying for asylum. They are being detained for illegally entering the US.

            America loves immigrants – we have 47 million of them, which is about 35 million more than any other country! We’re not xenophobic racists, we simply cannot allow unfettered immigration.

            Do the immigration rules need to be adjusted? Absolutely. So let’s tweak them to be fair – let’s not ignore them.

    • Avatar christian gardinier says:

      Tim… You Trump supporters keep going back, back and back to Clinton and Obama… Wow, got anything to contribute new? Nope… It’s lock her up, Benghazi and Obama. Now it’s send them back… I guarantee Obama did not violate the courts regarding families, did not kidnap and lock up totterers, splitting families the way your Trump has. George Takei grew up in Japanese American internment and he calls your camps concentration camps. Treating children and women the way the Trumps has is not only NOT a partisan issue, it’s an ethical, moral and human dignity issue…. unless of course you are for concentration camps like Trump and Bethel most likely is… and then yes, you have a point on the partisan thing. You see, not very many liberals are supportive of the camps, or Christians for that mater…

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        christian…for 8 years under Obama, all we heard from the left was them blaming Bush for every problem in the world. For that matter, those on the left are still blaming Gov Reagan for the homeless problem and he hasn’t been governor since 1975…44 years.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        “…You see, not very many liberals are supportive of the camps, or Christians for that mater(sic)”…what have you got against Christians?

      • Avatar Tim says:

        It is delusionally hyperbolic to describe conditions as analogous to concentration camps rather than prisons. These are places where we house criminals! These aren’t places where we round up innocent citizens whose race, religion, or ethnicity we don’t like.

        P.S. That injunction against separating kids from adult jails came from the ultra liberal 9th circuit – the most overturned court in America (12 of 15 cases reversed in 2017 & 12 of 14 cases in 2018 compared to the next most overturned court, the 11th: 5 of 6 cases reversed in 2017 & 3 of 7 in 2018).

        P.P.S. Obama – who once taught constitutional law – lost a greater percentage of Supreme Court cases (55%) than any president in modern history – including Trump.

    • Avatar Clare says:

      Your interpretation of history is insufficient and inconsistent. A typical way to try and rationalize what the Far Right does as right and reasonable, not to mention “it’s in the Bible,”—a pathetic attempt to legitimize inhumane oppression.

  2. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    As here in Arizona the tremendous influx of migrants, legal and illegal, has overwhelmed local support systems the only way to ease the overcrowding is for other states and areas to quit complaining and step up to help. Open your own refugee centers and take some of the migrants. Most of the legal asylum migrants are stuck here waiting for funds from family or friends to continue their journey. Sponsor a family by buying their ticket.
    When the Vietnam Refugees needed help the whole country, including Redding, stepped up and sponsored the refugees. People, not politicians, sponsored Vietnam refugees. What is the difference from the Vietnam refugees and these Central American refugees? Did the people of America lose their compassion ?

    • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

      Actually, this admin ended an Obama policy that allowed migrant refugees to be released to family or friends while they navigated the court system. They were monitored with ankle bracelets and there were social workers, etc that helped them as well, the program had a 95% success rate for people showing up to appts and maintaining good standing. This has all been discarded and instead we are paying $775 / day to private prison companies who donated to Trump’s campaign to house the overcrowded because he blatantly violating the Flores Settlement and purposefully keeping these people locked up even though asylum seeking is legal.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        “…, the program had a 95% success rate for people showing up to appts and maintaining good standing”
        I was a little suspect of that claim and did a little research. According to the AP, ankle monitors were effective for their first immigration hearing, but when the immigrant is released, “…There isn’t reliable information on the number of ankle monitor recipients who remove them and flee… but experts say it’s high.”
        The other important fact you left out is that the Trump administration expanded the use of ankle monitors, more than triple the number since November 2014. So your claim that the program was discarded under Trump is just not true…it was expanded.

  3. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Here’s a thought: If every church/temple/synagogue/etc in the U.S. would sponsor ONE refugee family, I wonder how soon the crisis would be over.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Adrienne, it worked for the Vietnamese refugees, I don’t know why it wouldn’t work for the Central American refugees.

  4. Avatar Patrick says:

    If there isn’t money or media attention involved, Bethel won’t be interested. Media Hogwarts!

  5. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    You reached out to a few larger churches? Which ones besides Bethel and what was their response?

    • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

      I did not receive any other responses, as mentioned the invite was on short notice (the entire vigil was only organized about two weeks prior).

      • Avatar Teresa says:

        I don’t care for Bethel but at least they had the courtesy to respond. Your article could have been “Out of several larger churches, only Bethel was kind dnough to respond!”

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Teresa,

          “Kind” is not a word I would use to describe Bethel’s leadership.

          They have attempted to slash the area’s already negligible services to the poor and homeless, to bus the homeless out of town en masse (no matter how local), forced Senior Nutrition’s one-morning-a-month food distributions out of the Civic parking lot (after 33 years in that central location), tripled the rent for Project Homeless Connect (pushing that life-saving event literally out of town), and have admitted that only a handful of members in crisis receive any help from Bethel – which usually takes the form of prayer over the phone, and that they must wait several weeks even for that worthless gesture.

        • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

          I have to agree with Teresa. This article is about one event and the one response you got Valerie. By the way, there were representatives from the Jewish community and perhaps from other faiths at this event as well. I was unable to attend but would love to learn more about this important event.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Unbelievable…Not one church responded, but you have the gall to single out Bethel for not attending. At least they had the courtesy to respond to you.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Doug,

          According to people who were there, representatives from a number of other local churches attended.

          And there is nothing wrong with “singling out” a massive, vastly wealthy mega-church that is forcing its dominionist agenda (something Bethel leaders have written books about) into every area of the public sphere. No other local church is doing that, so it seems to me that Bethel has singled itself out for public scrutiny.

    • Avatar Geri says:

      Temple Beth Israel responded and participated. Family separation is wrong. No matter your religious affiliation.
      As Jews, we thoroughly understand the meaning of ‘detention camps’ and ‘concentration camps.’ The overcrowding and lack of access to adequate hygiene are responsible for killing off far more people in camps than gas chambers ever did.

      • Avatar michelle says:

        Huh? More people have died in detention facilities than in gas chambers? Where is that data?

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Oh good gawd…over 3 million prisoners were killed in Nazi concentration camps. Come on Geri…you really want to make that absurd claim? This is why nothing gets done with immigration reform. Ridiculous claims like do not help the conversation. You thoroughly do NOT understand the difference between a detention center and concentration camp.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Doug,

          I believe you are being deliberately obtuse (again). I had no trouble understanding that Geri is saying more people died in Nazi concentration camps from disease, lack of sanitation, etc. than in the gas chambers.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            ..and how many illegal immigrants have died in our detention centers because of disease or starvation?

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            I ran across an article which stated that 24 migrants have died in detention facilities (although that figure may now be dated), with a third of them being children. Per my link above, 40-plus people are being crammed into cells for days on end designed to hold only 8, and untreated illness is rampant.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            ..and out of that 24…you are certain that they died because of starvation or overcrowding? Unfortunately, immigrants die while in our custody. According to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, there’s been very little change under Trump. 10 people in ICE custody died in 2009, Five died in 2012, and 12 died in his last year of Obama’s term in office office, 2016. The numbers have been similar under Trump. In 2017, 10 detainees died, and 12 died in 2018, according to data from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. So in other words, even with a almost 2,000% increase in the number of illegal immigrant under Trump, the death rate is comparable to the Obama administration. The only difference is you all ignored the Obama administration death rate.

  6. Avatar Julie Sergent says:

    I would like to know which other churches were invited and if any if those attended?

    • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

      No other churches responded, the invite was very short notice. The problem w Bethel’s response was the contradiction in not wanting to promote this event, yet it’s head had no problem promoting the person responsible for the issue. Other organizers did have clergy / church participation in their communities.

    • Avatar Geri says:

      Temple Beth Israel responded and participated. Family separation is wrong. No matter your religious affiliation.
      As Jews, we thoroughly understand the meaning of ‘detention camps’ and ‘concentration camps.’ The overcrowding and lack of access to adequate hygiene are responsible for killing off far more people in camps than gas chambers ever did.

  7. Avatar Pam Baugh says:

    ‘a few of the larger churches’…were notified…
    That seems exclusive and it seems combative in light of all the talk about getting above politics and divisiveness.
    How about, we focus on the positive outcomes and the respect and compassion that comes from the true nature of inclusivness?

    • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

      This vigil was organized within a short time frame so reaching out to every single church was not practical, it was a logistics issue not anything exclusive or inclusive. Not sure how that can be construed as ‘combative’ in any way.

      I am indeed immensely grateful for the support of those organizations that were invited and included to make this vigil a success for the community (I attempted to include all faiths and beliefs in my outreach and invitations). In fact groups that had previously not worked together came together for this event and have committed to working together in the future for the betterment of our community. At the same time, I’ve no problem calling out the contradictions Bethel’s response.

  8. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Economic Asylum, a term used by Senator Sinema.
    The Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador received $2.8 billion in US aid over the last four years. Most of that went to corrupted officials. By contrast, remittance from family members in the US totaled almost $20 billion in 2018. Wall Street Journal. The refugees are voting with their feet, Wall Street Journal headline, and risking detention camps because the reward for getting in the US is far greater than staying at home/

  9. Avatar Randy says:

    Bethel and most of the other “larger” churches in our area are Trump’s base and they are committed to supporting Trump regardless of his actions or deeds. Even trying to hold Trump accountable for his false words are seen as an attack on Trump and therefore themselves as well. This is 100% about power and control and the fear of losing that long held power is much greater than are the true words and teachings of Jesus Christ.

  10. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    If Bethel church members can raise the dead all over the world why then can they not spiritually raise a dying city as well that they call home ?

    Is Redding Dying ? Looks dead to me…….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6ptY_3lx18

  11. Avatar Judith Salter says:

    I honestly feel that this article is unfair. None of the other churches even responded. That should have been in the article too.

    • It’s a letter to the editor … an opinion piece.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        ..and with all due respect, it never should have been posted. If the headline read…”Redding Churches Declined to Participate in Vigil”, I could go along with the oped. But to single out Bethel just to me reinforces the bias against the church on these pages.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Doug, I know you have been told this because I have told you. Write your own LTTE if you don’t like others views.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Bruce, It has nothing to do with my views or any one else’s. It has to do with a misleading and biased headline. A bias that is prevalent on these pages. I believe it was unfair to single out Bethel for not attending this ‘vigil’.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Then write an opinion piece about it.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Doug Cook,

          Bethel is a massive, vastly wealthy mega-church that has singled ITSELF out for added public scrutiny by forcing its 7 Mountains Dominionist agenda (which Bethel leaders have admitted to in books they’ve written and elsewhere) into every aspect of the public sphere.

          No other local church is doing the things Bethel does. No other local church leader has claimed that God “gave” his church Redding to serve as a world-wide example of how to turn an entire city into its version of a theocracy.

          If any other church constantly assaulted the separation of church and state (as Bethel does), it woud also deserve all the scrutiny we could give it.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Barbara, Why should I have to write an opinion piece on it when I can just make a comment here? Isn’t that what the comment section is for?

        • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

          Doug,

          You said, “It has to do with a misleading and biased headline. A bias that is prevalent on these pages.”

          ANC only publishes the material we get. If we aren’t getting LTTE and articles reflecting diverse points of view, it is because no one is submitting them. When people complain about the content here, we tell them to submit material for consideration – and nearly always the response is *crickets*

          So if you want to see articles and headlines that reflect whatever it is you think, write ’em.

          From our “Contact us” page:

          Got a story idea, a problem or a suggestion?
          Please contact Publisher, Editor and Reporter Doni Chamberlain at donig.anewscafe@gmail.com

          Of course, if you feel that commenting will better represent your feelings without any of the work, go for it. Nobody’s gonna make you write an entire 750-word opinion piece. But commenting alone won’t change the content of the website.

          • Avatar Randy says:

            Some people have victim hood worked out to a magical art form that can be stretched out to cover all their bases all the time.

  12. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    The interview below (in which Bethel CEO Bill Johnson enumerates the reasons he voted for Trump) tells us the lengths to which Bethel leaders will go to support Trump’s agenda:

    Johnson claims that Trump “was never called a racist until he ran against Clinton”. That statement ignores Trump’s very long history of blatant racism, including the lawsuit by a previous Department of Justice suing him for refusing to rent to Black people and other minorities.

    Johnson claims that Clinton was less honest than Trump, although Trump broke all records for lying during his campaign (and continues to do so).

    He is against survival programs and taxing the wealthy to aid the poor (he claims that everyone can achieve wealth if they basically just believe in God hard enough, in keeping with Bethel’s prosperity gospel scam).

    He implies that Jesus was against gay marriage (where?)

    He lumps all asylum-seekers into the category of being a “danger” to Americans.

    He compares Trump to “Mother Teresa”.

    He excuses Trump’s bragging admission that he sexually assaulted countless women by labeling it “disrepectful talk”, and says Trump should be forgiven.

    Bethel is a worst-of-the-worst ultra-right-wing prosperity gospel church, which teaches that the poor and otherwise afflicted are being punished by “God” for living sinful lives, and that the wealthy (which conveniently includes Bethel leaders) are being rewarded for their godliness and virtue. The response by Bethel leaders to this invitation was entirely predictable.

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/bethel-churchs-bill-johnson-why-i-voted-for-trump/100306.htm

  13. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    I was there and I saw folks from 1st United Methodist Church, Beth Israel Temple, 1st Christian Church, Pilgrim Congregational and other church participants. Let’s not quibble over who responded, it was all about who participated and I counted over 100. I also heard the Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry students yelping, howling, screaming and going into hysteria across the river, under the Sundial Bridge. In my opinion, this was an attempt to disrupt the very peaceful and emotional vigil. I wonder who directed them to do this juvenile deed ?
    As far as adopting migrants from detention camps, that’s great, but, I think Redding, in particular, needs to start adopting/sponsoring our own refugees….the ones on the streets of Redding.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Frank, you are right. Redding needs to deal with it’s own homeless problems but there seems to be a bunch in Redding that would rather deal with Arizona’s migrant problem than fix their own. I think President Trump was referring to that with his objections to The Squad. Fix the problems that their voters elected them to fix in their own states.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Bruce,

        If Democratic members of Congress don’t call attention to the atrocities being committed against migrant families, who will? Republicans are too busy being afraid of what’s left of Trump’s base of deplorables.

        And before you mention that some Democratic lawmakers didn’t vote for the “migrant aid” bill, you might recall that a big chunk of that money will go to expand Trump’s kiddie concentration camp system, and to privately owned and operated detention centers with no oversight, where conditions can be even worse than in government run facilities. Those congress members wanted funds to go toward housing migrant families – together – in communities.

  14. Avatar Michelle says:

    The cup is half full or half empty. Bethel sends a polite decline and it’s automatically half empty- insensitive callous, cruel, uncaring. No other churches respond but they aren’t high profile so their polite decline cannot be misinterpreted. Government guidelines detain all immigrant/asylum seekers in fairness until processed. Release them all and you’d be asking for guidelines because we’d get the criminal lot along the all the associated costs that go with granting asylum. The government and Bethel are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Michelle,

      As pointed out above, representatives from many other local churches DID participate. In addition, Trump is the first president to make it standard practice to separate children from their asylum-seeking families. How can a church that claims to be “Christian” defend ANY of this man’s policies and actions?

    • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

      The Flores Agreement, government guidelines, are being ignored by this admin and that is why there’s overcrowding, unsanitary conditions in the first place.

      A no reply from a church is actually better than the contradictory reply I received from Bethel, which is the point. I never said Bethel was cruel or uncaring, I said it’s counter intuitive to say no to promoting this event about an obvious humanitarian crisis, while also promoting the person who created it in the first place.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Your ‘vigil’ was a highly politicized anti Trump rally. My guess is that back in January you were also mocking the president for manufacturing the crisis. Where would we be right now if the border control agencies actually got the emergency funding they requested back then? You remember…back when Pelosi and Schumer said that Trump is making up this crisis? So why do you think that Trump created this crisis? I hope the Democrats will stop their obsession with attacking the president and actually work collaboratively to fix this crisis. But they won’t…they will use the immigrants as pawns because they need this as a wedge issue in the 2020 elections. In addition, The Democrats have now gone from denying that there’s a crisis to accusing those working to stop it, our border agents, of actually creating a culture of cruelty. Fabricating stories of cruelty and besmirching the hard-working civil servants who are protecting the border and providing humanitarian assistance does nothing to help solve the problem.

        • Avatar Larry Winter says:

          Doug, you keep saying that Pelosi and Schumer “were also mocking the president for manufacturing the crisis”. The crises the President was referring to was the rapists, terrorists and drug cartels pouring over the border in order to get his wall funding during the government shutdown. The Democrats responded that this was a manufactured crises and the only crises happening on the border was a humanitarian crises due to the administration’s refugee policy

          Surely you see the difference in the two crises that you continue to conflate into one to make a point. Or maybe you are uninformed? If so, here you go…

          https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/pelosi-schumer-accuse-trump-using-prime-time-address-manufacture-crisis-n956481

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            I disagree, Then why didn’t the Congress provide the emergency humanitarian funding they requested?

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Doug, what do you disagree with? The quotes in the article? I’m not making this up, I’m saying you are distorting what was being said at the time.

            Your response is troubling in that faced with contrary evidence to your version, you don’t make an argument but just deflect?
            And to your attempt to deflect from your false assertion, you double down on another?

            Trump requests 4.5 billion dollars. 4.5 billion dollars of humanitarian aid funding is approved by Congress.

            https://www.texastribune.org/2019/06/27/border-aid-migrants-passed-house-senate-bills-are-different/

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            The Trump administration has been asking for months for emergency funding, and it was just a last minute scramble before the recess that they finally submitted a bill…a bill where 95 Democrats voted against the emergency funding. For the sake of argument..let’s say your assertion is true. You mean to tell me that Congress wasn’t aware of a humanitarian crisis until the end of June? That is went they jumped to action? No…the reason is that the Democrats need this as a wedge issue for 2020. They have no interest in fixing the border crisis.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Doug,

            As I’m sure you know, Democrats objected to the fact that a big chunk of that funding would go toward expanding Trump’s kiddie concentration camp system and to private, for-profit detention centers with no oversight, which in some cases are even worse than government run facilities. They wanted a more humane and effective approach, which would place families – together – in communities.

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            First you misrepresented what Pelosi and Schumer were charging Trump with.
            I gave you evidence that you were wrong.
            You disagreed without reason
            Then you ignored it

            I then responded to this
            “Then why didn’t the Congress provide the emergency humanitarian funding they requested?”

            I showed you they did.
            But, you say, it wasn’t quick enough.

            Rabbit hole stew.
            I’m no longer hungry.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Valerie, there is overcrowding, unsanitary conditions at these detention facilities because the border has been overwhelmed by these migrants. The for profit centers were licensed by President Obama. The left just wants to blame Trump for a crisis that hasn’t been dealt with since President Reagan offered asylum. That didn’t work and none of the President’s since has come up with a migrant policy that works. The migrants are coming and will not stop. Deal with it, here in Phoenix we are.

        • Avatar Don says:

          Truth. Left doesn’t acknowledge Obama’s role. They just hate everything Trump does. It does not matter what he might do to solve the crisis (which the left originally claimed was manufactured and now agree with Trump that there is a crisis), the left will demonize Trump no matter what to keep him from any kind of “win”.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Hey Don,
            Comments expressing your opinion are fine here. Being rude and attacking others is NOT fine which is why two of your comments have been unapproved.

  15. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    “90-year-old Catholic nun among 70 immigration protesters arrested on Capitol Hill

    The protesters were made up of Catholic priests, nuns, and laypeople who had gathered for the “Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children,” according to organizers.”

    “Images of children kept in deplorable and unsanitary conditions, without access to showers & sleeping on concrete floors without blankets & being detained incommunicado have compelled us to stand in solidarity and say, ‘not in our name!’” Sisters of Mercy wrote in a tweet.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/90-year-old-catholic-nun-among-70-immigration-protesters-arrested-on-capitol-hill

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      This Catholic Day of Action should have concentrated on sponsoring those migrant families and removing them from these horrible conditions. Some only need the price of a bus ticket to complete their journey to those awaiting them. How much did this 90 year old spend going from Chicago to DC?

      • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

        It is the Catholics my friend among other religious organizations that feed and clothe the immigrant men, women, children and infants every brutal step of their horrific path to inhumane detention centers here in America in their desperate quest for freedom where you yourself said “The migrants are coming and will not stop. Deal with it, here in Phoenix we are.”

        Apparently Priests and Nuns are exemplifying the Love and Compassion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as an example and way to “Deal with it” as well ?

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Chris, words do not help these migrants. They are in detention centers or the irrigation ditch next to the Greyhound bus station waiting for funds to finish their journey. The group I work with, St. Marys Food Bank, feeds and waters these migrants right here in Phoenix. All this biblical talk from thousands of miles away doesn’t do squat to help them. How many migrants have to die on the streets here, with triple teen temps and approaching Monsoon season before that compassion is turned into actual action?

  16. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    The evangelicals have made their bed with Trump, and now they’ve got to sleep with him. It’s not just Bethel.

    • Avatar Don says:

      Thank God. Trump has his faults. He is also a great president who is actually doing a lot of great things. He also supports many American-CHRISTIAN ideals which is why so many support him. Unlike the left. However, Christianity overall is pretty much split between political parties.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Don,

        Trump is handing control of our country over to Old Testament fundamentalist fanatics, who openly admit that they want to use their positions as heads of federal agencies etc. to force “God’s Kingdom” and “biblical law” on the rest of the population, in violation of the Constitution.

  17. Avatar Candace C says:

    Sanctimoniously bashing a 90 year old Catholic nun practicing her right to peaceful protest because her choice of protest doesn’t fall in line with one’s own idea of helping seems pretty unhelpful to me.

  18. Avatar Candace C says:

    Doug Cook, the headline is that of an opinion piece by one individual. Individuals are inherently biased and therefore attract criticism from those who don’t share their bias. LTTE are just that, letters. They may or may not be the shared opinion of the editor. Are you after letters to the editor that only match your opinion and sense of fair play being published on ANC? It’s one thing to take umbrage with the letter writer’s point of view, it’s quite another to criticize the editor for publishing it. You’re being given an opportunity to write a letter regarding your perceived bias against Bethel by ANC. It’s your choice not to do so but the opportunity still exists. I would contend that that’s a pretty fair playing field as far as LTTE go on ANC.

  19. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    There are only a handful that post on here that write LTTEs. It isn’t that hard and the only reasons I can think for not writing a LTTE is afraid of bruising your ego. While I have had LTTEs published on Anews as well as the RS I have more that went into the round file by the editor’s desk. There will be complaints from those too lazy to take the time to write a LTTE, but that comes with the territory. I relish writing an opposing LTTE and am flattered when bad posts are made because I know they read it.

    • Avatar Candace C says:

      Bruce, I don’t think all differences of opinions in the comment section warrant a LTTE. I do however think that the criticism of ANC being biased because of letters published is a stretch seeing as how there’s an open invitation to do so if one chooses while following whatever guidelines are asked for. Seems fair to me. Also, you’re probably correct about bruised egos as one has to have pretty thick skin to publicly open themselves up to criticism. Especially online criticism. Good thing ANC has Barbara Rice to commandeer the delete button if things get personal and nasty!

      • Avatar Doug.Cook says:

        Let me ask you this…are the headlines written by the LTTE author or the staff?

        • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

          Doug,

          I wrote my own headlines for every one of my articles. I can’t say for certain if the author of this particular piece wrote her title or not since I do not proofread, edit, or approve LTTE.

          Having said that, the owner of this website does not have to publish anything as submitted if it needs editing or could be construed as libelous.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Thanks…that clears things up for me. The Record Searchlight used to write the headlines for letter to the editor, and frequently misstated the theme of the letter.

  20. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    You know Bruce those Priests and Nuns have a Leader who is not afraid to confront and stand up to those who would pour out water bottles left on the trail to try to compassionately save the lives of those in the hot desert seeking freedom from oppression… Since we are calculating costs of 90 year old nuns perhaps you can tell us what cost you have paid for the freedom and suffering of others?

    “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
    To loose the bonds of wickedness,
    To undo the heavy burdens,
    To let the oppressed go free,
    And that you break every yoke?

    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
    When you see the naked, that you cover him,
    And not hide yourself from your own flesh?”

    Isaiah 58

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVlf7OiiTJE

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Chris, I helped in Cheyenne with the VFW in refurbishing apartments for homeless veterans. I wrote and had published a LTTE about it. Now in Phoenix, despite having to use a walker, I help every Saturday with the food banks. I do while others just talk.
      Perhaps we should talk about the costs you have paid to bash those who actually are trying to help.

      • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

        Indeed, like a 90 year old Roman Catholic nun and priests getting arrested and making international news with their message of Love

  21. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Instead of traveling to DC where the only crisis they have is squabbling do nothing politicians, come to Phoenix where the real crisis is. Bring water and food with you for all those caged migrants. Actually you don’t have to go far as every TV news or scout group or the Post Office is running food drives. And when you go home take a migrant family with you. Keyboard warriors miles away do nothing to help the situation. Bashas is running a water donation, a case of water for $3.

  22. Avatar Candace C says:

    Larry Winter, I hear ya. Lotta deflecting goin’ on. Rabbit-hole stew indeed. Yawn.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Candace there is a lot of defection going on as communities protest against the crisis at the border while ignoring the crisis in their own town. Seattle is dying, Redding is dying. Not from immigration but from homelessness. Homelessness is the crisis in Seattle, Denver, Redding, not immigrants. The homeless are being treated as criminals. On Facebook Redding residents say how they quit going to the downtown Post Office because of the gauntlet of homeless present.
      Homelessness is the number one crisis in America not immigration.

  23. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    Wow !

    “Watch here as Sister Pat Murphy, 90, is arrested and led out. Sister Pat works with migrants and refugees in Chicago, and has been holding a weekly vigil outside ICE there for 13 years. She says the treatment of migrants should outrage all people of faith”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ag0Pj8dsvE

  24. Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

    I didn’t need to single out Bethel among the area churches, it did that itself by stating one thing while its leader does the opposite. It’s interesting that ya’all are more concerned about who I invited instead of the contradiction of refusing to ‘promote’ a call for humanitarian compassion while at the same time ‘promoting’ the one person who created the mess in the first place. Not a lot of self reflection going on here.

    In other responses I stated facts about immigration, etc. so I won’t go into those again, they’re easily found online if you carefully vet your resources. Immigration is always going to be an issue, but no matter the solutions we consider, the minute we decide we’re closing off a certain group, we’re headed down an incredibly precarious road of unhealthy nationalism and we have enough history as humans to know how that journey ends. It ain’t pretty for anyone.

    Finally, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with the point I’m making, I simply did a google search of the top ten churches in the area and sent invites to the top six or seven. This seemed the best way to reach the largest number of people, which is good marketing no matter how ya look at it. Again, it was short notice, say a couple days before the event. I honestly didn’t expect a big response, but I did want to offer the opportunity for clergy or staff to at least come to the vigil and recognize that something needs amending in they way we’re handling refugees. I wasn’t asking for speakers or any public engagement, I had all that planned, I was simply inviting so as not to leave anyone out.

    The point of the opinion is that Bethel responded in a way that contradicts what its leader does. Considering that this particular church engages in, and has sway with, local policy making, the contradiction is pertinent.

  25. Avatar Candace C says:

    Bruce, I agree with you that homelessness is a monumental problem. I also believe believe immigration is a monumental problem. Both can exist at the same time and both carry weight. The deflection I was referring to when addressing Larry Winter had to do with a back and forth he was having with someone other than you. As far as Redding dying, I was born and raised here, I’m 62 years old. While I’ve seen many, many changes over the years, some good, some not so good, I personally don’t consider Redding to be dying. Suffering from problems causing and relating to homelessness like many, many, cities? Yes. Very much so. I’ve said it before on ANC and I don’t mind saying it again, “thank you for the help you’re able to give those in need, it’s commendable”.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      Candace, I knew who you were referring to and it was not meant for you. Homelessness is a big problem nationwide but added to that are the migrants along the border states which Redding has no immigration problem. I feel those protesting immigration problems on the border from thousands of miles away would do more good helping out their own homeless.
      Every time I debate/argue with those on Facebook who condemn the border treatment of migrants I ask them to donate to St. Mary’s Food Bank and help us on the border. A few have responded that they would.

      • Avatar Valerie Anderson says:

        We were protesting in solidarity with thousands of others that concentration camp like conditions in our detention centers, caused by this admin’s Zero Tolerance Policy and ignoring the Flores Settlement guidelines to the tune of $775 per day, is not acceptable. Nor does it elevate our nation’s dignity.

        Also, both can happen. We can protest concentration camp conditions AND work on the local homeless issue at the same time. The groups I belong to are meeting w all kinds of local people/orgs seeking to find positive solutions the homeless crisis. Some of my cohorts who also protested, work directly w the homeless.

        Here’s the deal though: Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is a real thing – if people have a roof over their head, they have the ability to move from survival mode to thriving mode. We need to make that a priority and stop judging the homeless for being homeless. It’s vexing to me that Redding takes a punitive approach to this issue when time and again, the compassionate approach is proven to be the better answer, as many communities find.

        However, taking a punitive approach as Redding is doing does nothing but

  26. Avatar Candace C says:

    Bruce, I also know there are folks here that help the homeless often whether it be with a meal, cash or simple conversation. While I have absolutely no problem with those who talk about giving help not all people feel the need to do so. I make no judgement either way, I’m just saying sometimes there’s an assumption made that if we don’t see help being offered or hear it being talked about that help is not being given. While there are definitely a large group of people in Redding that consider all homeless to be criminals there are also those who don’t.

  27. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    I did not notice that this was an opinion piece/ letter to the editor. In the olden days, a letter to the editor, or an opinion piece could only be challenged by another opinion article or letter to the editor. I apologize Valerie.

  28. Avatar Patrick says:

    Bethel & it’s leaders are nothing more that money hungry mongers, who gloat on any kind of attention they can get… Bethel IS the pimple on the butt of Redding which continues to fester hate at every chance they get. The IRS needs to take away their non profit status because of their political mingling & expressions of hate.