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Protect the earth, don’t destroy it
It is perplexing… the continual contentious debate about when, where and who should drill for more gas, oil, dig for more coal, uranium, etc. etc. It seems a non-stop, unstoppable, exponentially increasing race of who will get there first, who will extract the most, who will make the most money the fastest and cheapest way. 
The bottom line is making more money and the collateral damage of who and what gets hurt along the way is beside the point. 
I make this statement partly in response to Jeff Peace’s Letter to the Editor (Oct. 15, 2017) on the timing and implementation of the ‘methane rule’ in New Mexico, as my statement is on all extractive activity happening the world over. 
With the mad race to exploit the earth’s remaining resources, the damage being done to the earth and the environment is tremendous and mostly irreparable. There is a limit to natural resources and there is a limit to the life of earth. 
The life of earth is being destroyed for the sake of monetary profit. It perplexes me, extremely, on how the vast majority of leaders in industry, government and science don’t appear to be able to connect the cause and effect here. The leaders who refuse to or simply cannot understand this reality, are actively participating in accelerating the closure of the life of earth and subsequently all life. 
To these leaders, I say ‘consider this and look into the eyes of your young child and grandbabies and tell them you are helping to destroy their world’. Defenders of Earth Mother and water protectors can look into those trusting and innocent eyes and tell them we do all we can to save their future.  
Chili Yazzie
Shiprock, Navajo Nation

Don't push LGBTQ community out of churches

I’m writing to express my disappointment that some of our local pastors continue to push away many in the LGBTQ community by preaching about how “wrong” these lifestyles are. 

While I am straight, I have several gay, lesbian and transgender friends, and some of them have told me that although they grew up attending church and would love to again find a church home, most churches make them feel incredibly alienated. I’m wondering if pastors are aware of the impact such pat statements as “we hate the sin, not the sinner” have on those in the LGBTQ community. Although I’m sure the intent of these statements is to convey that love and acceptance are being offered “anyway,” what is actually being heard is that these individuals are aberrant, and in order to be fully accepted they must eventually change. Who would want to worship in this type of environment? This attitude actually pushes people away from the church and, sometimes, away from God. I can only hope that’s not the intention. 

I am aware some people feel strongly that homosexuality is wrong, and they have the right to believe this. I just hope pastors would ask themselves if alienation is the impact they want to have on others. In addition to those in the LGBTQ community, many of us who are friends and advocates of these individuals are also feeling pushed away, as it seems hypocritical to attend a church that singles out and excludes others.   
On a positive note, I’m very encouraged that some local churches and pastors are, instead, practicing extreme inclusiveness – of all people, regardless of their sexual preferences and gender orientations. They’re reaching out to these people and telling them it’s safe to worship God without fear of being singled out as a “special type of sinner” (maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t this the non-judgmental approach Jesus told us to take?) 
I am also grateful for individuals in our community like the recently-passed Dr. Judy Palier. Judy worked tirelessly to advocate for those in the LGBTQ community and helped to establish the Identity, Inc. Community Center, which provides one more safe, welcoming, and inclusive place. We will probably never know how many lives Judy and the others involved with this center may have saved. She will be sorely missed, but I know there are many others who are continuing on with her efforts. That’s a reason to hope, and a reason to feel pride in our good community.
Leigh Black Irvin
Farmington

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