THE BIRTH OF JESUS

 

A BETTER WORLD FOR IT

A recent column offered some views on what would the world look like had Jesus not been born.

Scott Powell presented facts to show how the world has been positively shaped by the birth of Jesus.

He noted that Methodist suffragette Frances Willard inspired millions of Americans to support voting rights for women.

And Powell noted how America’s civil rights movement was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister.

I would like to point out some additional facts.

Without Jesus, our world would not have had Mother Teresa, whose good works in India are well known all over the world.

Nor would we have had Christian politician William Wilberforce, who worked hard to stop the slave trade in England.

We would be without beautiful songs like “Amazing Grace,” “Silent Night” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.

We wouldn’t have great works of art like Michelangelo’s “Sistine Chapel” and Caravaggio’s “The Entombment of Christ.”

And we would only have half of the Bible: The Old Testament foretold of Jesus’ coming hundreds of years before his birth. The New Testament told of the fulfillment of these prophecies through Jesus Christ.

Sonja Harpe, St. Augustine

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RACE AND CHILDREN

THE ARTS CAN HELP

No one is born a racist. But it does not take long to develop racial and ethnic biases.

By the age of 3, children can recognize differences in skin color and other physical traits.

And American children of color are experiencing harassment and anxiety.

One factor contributing to this animosity is the increasing racial segregation of K-12 schools.

But the good news is that even though children develop negative biases quickly, once they are exposed to diversity those prejudices can be unlearned.

Arts education is an incredibly viable way to combat prejudice, especially when works of artists from diverse backgrounds are given equal billing in the curriculum on an ongoing basis throughout the school year.

In the visual arts, students learn to look beyond surface impressions and examine elements and technique.

They focus on character.

Similarly, individuals trained as musicians hear more during a symphony performance than those who hear only the top-line melody.

They also hear the character of the composition.

It stands to follow that studying the work of diverse artists is a start toward developing a deeper understanding of other individuals.

Through works of art that reflect the creative thinking of diverse peoples, children come to see their story from different perspectives.

They also learn the stories of others from diverse backgrounds.

The arts help children look more closely at both the ways we differ and the ways we are alike.

Kimberly Hyatt, CEO,

The Cathedral Arts Project,

Jacksonville

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DEPORTING SALVADORANS

A JUSTIFIABLE ACT

A recent Times-Union article tried to generate sympathy for a Salvadoran who has been in the United States for 17 years.

The man has an American spouse and two children who are American citizens, but he will be deported to his native El Salvador because the conditions in that country that led him to being granted temporary residency in America no longer exist.

Being married to an American citizen almost guarantees you citizenship if you fill out the form — and you’re not a war criminal or fleeing felon. So why didn’t this man apply for citizenship during the past 17 years?

Probably because as a “refugee,” he was getting benefits from some support group — or food stamps, rent assistance, energy assistance, free or subsidized housing and other entitlements.

Meanwhile, a Salvadoran sought to draw sympathy by complaining about losing the money that was being sent home to El Salvador by “refugees” in the U.S.

We Americans decided to provide temporary assistance to people who were coming from countries experiencing a natural disaster or man-made upheavals from revolutions, civil wars, etc. But the operative word here is “temporary.”

We Americans did not agree to provide these people with eternal entitlements.

Yes, I agree that it will be a hardship to uproot these people after years of public assistance. But they should have been sent home years ago.

Robert Pasciuto, Jacksonville