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Turning away refugees is wrong

11/25/2015

Dear Gov. Branstad,

I am writing to add my voice to those who are urging you to reconsider your position blocking refugees from Syria and the current European migration from being received in Iowa. Iowa, as you know, has a long tradition of hospitality to strangers, and refugees are people who are fleeing violence and hostilities in their own country and who rightfully fear for their own safety if remaining or returning to their home states. I acknowledge the genuine fear that terrorists will use this opportunity to infiltrate this country — and possibly our state — and yet we actually endorse their fear-mongering tactics when we surrender to their terror and turn our backs on the vast majority caught up in the current migration whose desires are innocent and humane. We who follow the teachings and life of Jesus remember his call to us to shelter the homeless. We also remember how he lived with a group of 12 men, fully aware that one of them would betray him. It is our unity and our incessant manifestation of compassion and welcome that is our ultimate weapon against evil and all forms of terror. I agree that the strong man needs to be bound, but an unconditional blocking of genuine refugees is actually to let that strong man bind us from our true decent selves.

Reverend Alan Scarfe
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa
-Des Moines

Give us more Farrell
I have always heard it could be difficult to work in a family business. But at least then everyone knows your name. Last week, Civic Skinny informed us that, for one family, “the brothers all went to work for the railroad…. that confused the paymaster, so one brother became a Randa and another a Rand, while the third remained a Renda.” Is it any wonder that with employees like the “confused paymaster” that the railroads were seldom on schedule, and most eventually went broke? Seems like Mr. Fratto — err, Farrell — could have cleared it up for the employer with a quick visit. In regard to Mr. Gartner’s father’s relationship with Lew Farrell (“…my father, a droll man who once told me that Farrell was a nice guy.”), I am sure readers would love to hear of anything he might have written about him.

Mike Rowley
-Clive

HIV

Aunt Carmella’s
When he was still in Des Moines and still Johnny Farrell, and we who are now in our early 60s were teenagers, there was, briefly, a great pizza joint somewhere in the Drake area. It was called Aunt Carmella’s, and Johnny Whoever was more or less responsible, if I remember correctly. What I am certain of is that AC’s pizza and Italian sausage sandwiches were outstanding. I was sorry to read of Johnny’s passing, but not as sorry as I was when Aunt Carmella’s closed.

Mike Wellman
-Des Moines

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