Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 8, 2014

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Use churches as shelters

As a life-time resident of Ashland, I’m well aware homelessness is an issue in our area. If you live in this area, you know there are many with no place to call home. With temperatures dropping dangerously low earlier this week, my question is this: Other than the Salvation Army, where there is limited space, where can these people find shelter?

Well, I have a suggestion. In our city alone, there are many churches not in use, save Wednesday and Sunday. As members of the body of Christ, is it not our passion to reach out to the community? Shouldn’t keeping God’s people warm be a priority?

Many may say this is a bad idea. After all, the sanctuary (a large area full of pews that could serve as beds to people who usually sleep on the ground) might be damaged.

Surely, it is not the will of God that our churches be damaged! But let’s remember the “church” is meant to be a body of believers, not a building. And anyway, what are our tithes being used for? Unfortunately, they are all too often put back into the building for cosmetic upgrades such as new carpet or fresh coats of paint.

Why not open the doors of our churches and show people they are truly loved? It is our responsibility as Christians to be a light in this dark world. Let’s not just be Christians on Sunday. Let’s connect with people right where they are and help them. This is what a church is meant to do. A church’s doors should never be locked.

Katie Hughes, Ashland

Education is lamp to our freedoms

My concern is a nation of the people, by the people and for the people is turning into a plutocracy. Peeling back the layers like an onion reveals unfettered money in our political process, outsourcing of jobs, free-trade agreements, globalization, venture capitalism, right-to-work states, Wall Street and corporate greed and the elimination of unions.

 All these factor into America’s middle class income disparity and decline. This ever-widening vortex is sucking in more families.

 This disparity affects all aspects of life with less funding for cities, states, schools, Social Security, Medicare, infrastructure, charities and churches. Little or no money can be set aside for a child’s college. Today, our nation is receding on the world stage in math, science and reading skills. Our politicians would rather hire an armed guard in the classroom and reduce funding for math, science and remedial-reading teachers to offset the cost.

The seeds of intellect lie dormant in all walks of life. The nourishment that comes from education feeds those seeds and America reaps the reward from it.

Heretofore, the middle class has borne the cross to a free democracy through a living wage coupled with its marriage to higher education, thus allowing one upward mobility to a higher standard of living. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, an educated people makes for a stronger America. Education aids in removing the varnish and separating the chaff from the wheat put forth by our politicians. Wisdom is a cousin to freedom, and education is the lamp to democracy.

Earl Ferguson, Wurtland

Letters invited

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