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Raising comfort levels

Dear editor:

I wore my mask today as I shopped in Kroger. The employees and many customers were also wearing them. There were also customers who were not masked. I was concerned, so I went on the internet and did a search on "how good is my mask." The result was scary. Most said the fabric masks like most are wearing, including me, cannot prevent you from getting the virus. On a positive note, they do help by containing the expulsion of possible virus vapor into the immediate area. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing. You can search that for yourself. Maybe the people wearing masks were protecting me? What about the unmasked? Was I safe? Oh, dear! Worry, worry! Then I thought, let's be calm; don't panic, let's return to some reason.

Let's reason this out. Today it was reported there are 4,200-plus cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas with active cases being a little more than 850. These cases are in quarantine or other care. None of those unfortunate people were in Kroger today. Today it was reported that there are 118 cases in Garland County with six still active. None of those were in the store, either. Today it was reported that there was one new case in Garland County. He/she was not in the store.

Maybe in spite of the quality of my mask, I was safe after all. Maybe the mask wearers felt safer with their masks. Maybe they felt uncomfortable about those without masks. Comfort is very important to many in these trying times.

I will continue to wear my mask so others will feel comfortable.

P.S.: The 118 cases who were not in Kroger today will not be in your favorite restaurant tonight.

Mel Hilliard

Hot Springs

Scrutinize relief spending

Dear editor:

The current bailouts/emergency relief bills that have passed and are currently up for vote are mind-boggling.

According to Heritage Foundation, New York spends twice as much per citizen than other more modest states. "Total state and local government spending in New York is slightly more than the combined total for Arizona, Florida and Georgia. However, New York's population is about half, so as a result its per capita government spending is more than double."

Another horrible state for fiscal responsibility is Illinois. Why let a good crisis go to waste? Let us ask for more in bailout than the prior year's budget. Why should the taxpayers of responsible states be forced to reward the bad behavior of the states that cannot manage their money? If they are not able to budget and manage pre-COVID, crisis I have nor reason to believe they can manage money post-COVID crisis. I certainly hope that the voters of Arkansas and other states demand their elected officials scrutinize any relief bill to include only those expenses related to the COVID crisis -- not pension plan, not any other money for wish lists but costs related to COVID only.

We have to wake up folks our country is at stake, our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren are at stake. Act now.

Sharon Parrett

Hot Springs

'Irresponsible decision'

Dear editor:

When we moved to Hot Springs a little over two years ago, we were told Oaklawn Park pretty much got what they wanted from the city and the state. Obviously, we were given accurate info, as evidenced by the state's terribly irresponsible decision to allow their casino to reopen next week.

Thursday's news was led by the statistic that on Wednesday of this week Arkansas experienced their single biggest COVID-19 spike in a day.

I'm sorry, a casino is not an essential business. As a matter of fact, it's a business that's specifically designed to take much more from a community than it gives back. And despite the restriction of one-third capacity, you are still talking about hundreds of people who will be in close proximity, touching the same slot machines, door handles, gaming tables, cards, etc., that others recently have. Then leaving Oaklawn and going back out in the community.

As a caregiver, a number of my clients are elderly and shut-in. They take cabs to the grocery store, pharmacy, and other places. It terrifies me to think they will now be getting in cabs that just transported people to and from Oaklawn.

All in all, this is just a terrible idea. Obviously, the almighty dollar trumps any concern for public safety and health.

Kate Jones

Hot Springs

Comic suggestion

Dear editor:

As a liberal, I thoroughly enjoy Mary Robinson's contributions to my daily Sentinel-Record. I would admonish those who previously want her letters banned. My only recommendation to the editors would be to transfer her letters to the second section of the paper as a daily comic strip titled "Mary says." It will be a huge success.

Bill and Joyce Fritz

Hot Springs

Educational standards

Dear editor:

Most professions have education and licensing standards. An accountant may be a CPA or a physician may be and medical doctor and licensed to practice. Licensing and certification take years of schooling and advanced degrees. We do not want an accountant that failed math or a physician with only a Boy Scout First Aid Merit Badge. Standards are required of professionals.

This is not the case for Protestant ministers. Research by The Harvard Divinity School, shared data of the Protestant ministry in the United States. Data show only 20% of the Protestant ministers in North America have had a college and postgraduate divinity school course. The other 80% do not have to have an education beyond high school and no theological training at all. This is how our 6,222 protestant denominations in this country can be led by spiritual quacks and theological illiterates. In contrast, Catholic priests have six years of rigorous training before they are permitted to be priest. This requires theological training and multiple languages.

"In the Protestant ministry, a theological degree after a college degree does not make a person a minister. One must be ordained by a church. As long as Protestant denominations are willing to ordain the uneducated in their ministries, the seminaries are helpless. The responsibility for the present deplorable situation rests primarily upon churches rather than upon divinity schools." This ordination is often by board members equally undereducated. People can even be ordained online. This is the weak link to improving the standards of the ministry and education in churches. "Theological seminaries want Protestant denominations to limit and ultimately abandon altogether the habit of ordaining uneducated men to the ministry. Harvard Divinity School is backing up the Conference of Seminaries in an attempt to raise the general standard of the profession of the ministry."

The lack of formal theological education is a major problem contributing to the decline of churches and Christianity. The fundamentalists and evangelicals are increasing the speed of this decline with a failure to recognize the problem. Data show that churches have lost 5 million members, that 4,000 new churches start each year but 7,000 close, that 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each year and that churches lost 3,500 members per day last year. This denial and wishing it were not so will not change the facts of what is happening -- https://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/.

The lack of educational requirements for Protestant ministers contributes to significant damage to society. This perpetuates prejudice, divisiveness, and ignorance for Christians. Why would Churches and members choose the uneducated to lead them in something as important as religion?

Jerry Wayne Davis

Hot Springs

Editorial on 05/17/2020

Print Headline: Sunday's Letters to the editor

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