Compassion should extend only so far

Regarding Jay Collett's letter ("Where's compassion toward others?" April 15), I'd like to take this opportunity to answer his question.


I, as other Americans, do have plenty of compassion for those who have fallen on hard times. I have plenty of compassion for my fellow Americans who have fought in wars, fought family illness and who have lost their jobs. Where my compassion ends is when those people go from asking for "help" to get back on their feet to demanding my help to keep them in a lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.

We as Christians are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. It doesn't say much about a person's character if loving themselves requires any kind of dependency on another. As many mothers out there know, we should be raising our children to become independent, responsible citizens of the greatest country on Earth. Imagine what the crowded streets of New York would be like if everyone couldn't tie their own shoes.

Independence starts at birth- when we take our first breath, on our own. Yes, it does get more difficult as responsibility mounts as one grows. But I firmly believe that is what the good Lord wants it to be. In fact, one would argue that faith is the ultimate responsibility that one carries. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have free will, and God would be standing on everyone's front porch. ...

Mr. Collett is right when he states that this country is going through hard times right now. He is right that we must unite to get through this. But uniting doesn't mean handing over all of one person's hard work to benefit someone else who refuses to do the same. Remember, if there is only one person tying shoes in New York City, there would be a whole lot of people tripping over knots.

Katherine Wideman




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