An article printed on last week’s Hiawatha World Religion page has sparked some controversy among our readers.

As you can see from the variety of letters to the editors on this page, there are varying opinions about Steve Kagin’s column entitled “Abomination.” I have spoken with many people about their views, hashed over the topic with close friends and co-workers and had a few sleepless moments at night about decisions made to print the column. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

As a journalist, I believe in freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of speech. However, I never want to hurt any one person or group by something printed in our newspaper that some could consider as “hateful,” which is a term I’ve heard several times this week. The Hiawatha World wants to print an array of views, religious or otherwise, but does not promote “hate” in any way, shape or form.

I am appreciative of comments of everyone who has directly contacted me and especially those who wrote letters to the editor for print in today’s edition. Controversial topics spark a lot of thought and talk and I know that this past week I’ve had many deep discussions about the bible, and especially Mr. Kagin’s column. On a side note, I was very interested by some very good points made in Randy Noon’s letter to the editor in today’s edition.

While, as a Christian, I cannot dispute God’s Word, however I lean more toward the teachings of Jesus Christ about God’s grace, tolerance, love and understanding. Many acts of His children could be considered “abominable” but I for one am thankful for the forgiveness and grace that I have been granted through the blood shed of Jesus Christ. Granted, I don’t feel that this act of selflessness is an open ticket to act how a person wants. It is taught in some denominations that all sins are viewed equal in God’s eyes — not one is more of an abomination than another. That’s kind of a hard pill for me to swallow after years of coverage of many court proceedings — such as is gluttony or gossip considered the same as taking another’s life? Or molesting a child? Wow, that’s a topic of discussion for someone much more scholarly than me to have, but those are just a few of the thoughts that cross my mind on occasion.

Prayer and open discussion of God’s Word is a positive thing in my mind. Whether you believe what is written, or you dispute it. Hash it out and maybe God will speak to you through those conversations.

With that said, views of columnists do not reflect the views of the staff of the Hiawatha World. We have a disclaimer printed on the Opinion page, but will now print that disclaimer on other pages where columns may appear in the paper.

We also want to reach out to local pastors to resurrect The Pastor’s Corner, which is a column reserved for ministers to share about their churches, messages and more. We want a variety of opinions, not just one, and hope that pastors jump on the opportunity to share more of God’s Word. We have the first one scheduled for next week and hope to have enough commit to have a several-week rotation.

Contact me at 742-2111, ext. 20302 or by email at joeymay@npgco.com to discuss joining in the rotation of our Pastor’s Corner column.

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