“Why do we need churches?” asks Ross Freese (Letters, 3/28). My initial response, Mr. Freese, is “to help people transcend the sort of bigotry and narrow-mindedness demonstrated here.”
Throw out churches and you throw out Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King. Throw out churches and you throw out the second and third biggest supporters of disaster relief in the United States: The Salvation Army and the Southern Baptists.
Churches and their people have taken the lead in many great movements in our history. Abolitionism and the civil rights movement spring to mind. In 19th-century England, it was the church that cared for the poor, the orphans and the disenfranchised. Churches build hospitals, universities, and a host of other good institutions.
The fallacy of your argument is obvious. Anyone can pick out abuses by members of large organizations in order to discredit the organization. Why do we need universities? Hospitals? Political parties? Businesses?
One might ask Mr. Freese, why do we need you? Churches and other religious institutions have an answer for that troubling question. Perhaps you’d do well to hear that answer.
Mr. Freese: The thing about churches is they are made up of people. And the thing about people is we tend to screw up. We screw up a lot — make mistakes, do the wrong thing, make bad decisions.
People need churches because we are screw-ups, and it is good to be in a community of other screw-ups who are just trying to live better lives. We need churches because they are good places to learn about grace and forgiveness and renewal and love.
The Rev. Andy Bryan
Kansas City, North
While some of the things Ross Freese said about churches are true, many of his statements are a sad reflection of what some have experienced as “church.”
People attending churches are themselves flawed individuals. The church is a place of acceptance and tolerance. It is the community of believers that gather not to be perfect but call each other to hope and a promise of better times. After all, we are an Easter people.
Renata J. Beaudoin
I am almost 65 and have been attending church since I was a newborn. Never once have I heard a sermon that promoted hate and oppression based on race, sexuality, gender and religion.
The churches I have attended did not allow the leaders to spend money on a lavish lifestyle. The churches I have attended have caring members that want to live fuller lives through the example that Jesus set. We all fall short of his example.
I suspect Ross Freese doesn’t have personal experience with churches but has only read or heard of the charlatans that have taken advantage of parishioners. There are crooks everywhere, but not to the degree the writer alludes to.
C. A. Hyde Jr.