Readers write to The Times about the value of faith groups, President Joe Biden's agenda and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Churches do good in community, as well as for the spirit

I have gained a renewed appreciation for the privilege of attending church the past few months after so many months of not being able to attend church meetings.

It has been noted that church attendance, including synagogues, mosques and other religions, was down (pre-pandemic) significantly nationwide.

Organized religion plays a very important part of our society. Churches have provided help for homeless, food for hungry, support groups for Alcoholics Anonymous, clean water in Third World countries, humanitarian aid to our U.S. citizens as well as many other countries. Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave two semi-truck loads of food to food pantries in the Tualatin and Lake Oswego areas. The Sherwood YMCA received a sizable amount of this food.

But for me, the most important reason for attending church is increasing my faith in God and Jesus Christ. Answers to the big questions about life, what happens after life, how to deal with inadequacies, the purpose of pain. I appreciate the opportunity to worship and learn with others. We find hope in church worship.

Some have felt disappointment in others at church. I learned a long time ago to attend church with the attitude of attending to uplift and serve others.

It is at church we can become our best selves, full of love and joy, serving others as well as finding our purpose in life, whether it be in a synagogue, mosque or other organization. I often notice a small item in our local news of churches doing good, I applaud all of those efforts. Thank you!

Peggy Stevens, Sherwood

Pass the Build Back Better Act

We know from a vast body of scientific research that climate change is causing an accelerating number of natural disasters, and that, left unchecked, it will lead, in the lifetime of my children(!), to a world inhospitable to human civilization.

Science also tells us that if we act quickly as a country and as a world, we can avoid the worst effects of climate change. And the science of economics shows that we can achieve this while growing jobs and the economy.

In this regard, I am very encouraged by the Build Back Better Act, currently working its way through congress. It is the transformational policy American families really need.

The Build Back Better Act includes historic investments in communities. It works to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 while supporting living-wage union jobs in the clean energy sector and direct investments to U.S. factories. It also includes real investments in childcare, healthcare, caregiving and revitalizing the middle class. It will not raise taxes on families making less than $400,000.

I am grateful to Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden for championing climate action. And I am grateful to my congressperson, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, for voting "yes" on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, and for committing to vote for the Build Back Better Act.

Let's get this done, for ourselves, for our children, and for the generations to come.

Stephen Funk, Cedar Hills

Global pandemic requires global action

The federal government receives criticism for spending money on foreign aid. It's often the case, however, that money we spend globally benefits our nation.

U.S. State Department official Gayle Smith was interviewed recently on NPR about the importance of our country buying and distributing COVID vaccines around the world. She said, "As long as we've got low rates of vaccination anywhere, COVID is a threat to us. It is a huge threat to the global economy, to global stability."

President Joe Biden recently added, "To beat the pandemic, we need to beat it everywhere."

Oregon's federal legislators should be fully behind efforts to spread COVID vaccines globally.

Kip Phelps, Tigard

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