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Plus, our readers believe ministers should obey quarantine rules and medical research saves lives

Organizations step up to help youths

Over the last few weeks many times I've thought about how hard it is to live in uncertain times. Then I think about the youth and families I've worked with over the last 41 years, many of whom live with ongoing uncertainty and trauma at all times. Maybe the way through this is to care that much more, to look for inspiration and to acknowledge just how heroic people can be.

As the CEO of Trillium Family Services, my inspiration has been heightened by our "everyday heroes." Those essential direct care and support staff that show up every day that ensure our youth and families receive the mental health services and round-the-clock care they need, particularly during this time where trauma, stress and uncertainty are even more pronounced. I am proud and humbled by how this organization and its staff have shown up during this unprecedented and frightening moment in the history of the world.

There are many nonprofits across our great state that have "everyday heroes" who are doing great things for Oregon's most vulnerable citizens. All of them are struggling for their very survival due to drastic losses of revenue and increased costs as a result of this pandemic. The entire human-serving sector is in jeopardy, but I believe we will survive this crisis. We will care more, we will do inspirational things and we will acknowledge the everyday heroism we see happening around us. What is certain is these organizations are critical, and as this crisis unfolds and the impact and toll on youth, families and communities is more apparent, they will be even more essential.

It is my hope that when we look back three years from now, we reflect on the courageous and pivotal commitments from our public partners and communities at this time rather than mourning the loss of much of our social service sector. Please do what you can to help all of us continue our important work.

Editor's note: Kim Scott is the CEO of Trillium Family Services, Oregon's largest provider of children's mental health services.

Ministers should obey quarantine rules

As a Christian, I am saddened, upset and disappointed at the ministers who are brazenly defying shelter-in-place orders. These congregational leaders are defying God.

Their actions seem to be more of an ego trip than obedience to God's word, which states: "Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow." (Romans 13:1-2).

Again, Matthew 22:21A states: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (In other words, keep the difference between what the law of the land requires, and what God requires.)

From my point of view, all those "Christians" who are refusing to work together with everyone and shelter in place to help stop the virus are not only disobeying the lawmakers and medical experts who are only trying to keep people from dying, but also defying their God.

And I say, shame on them. Are they so wrapped up in their egos that they are willingly ignoring God's will, as well as human safety? What is their justification for this? Is a huge, outdoor Easter Sunday service during this challenging time glorifying God or the pastors who stage it?

I ask them to put all this misdirected energy to helping those who need it — shut-in elders who may not have anyone to get them groceries and who are lonely, needing someone to help them relieve the boredom and stress of no human contact. Are they giving rides to those who must go to the doctor for their conditions? Donating food to those families who are suffering financially?

Are these "Christians" showing love by helping some of those same people pay their bills, rent, etc.? Taking time to watch some children and give their beleaguered parents some needed relief?

What about supporting local businesses and restaurants to help them stay afloat until the pandemic is over? Is flouting the law the only thing that can get them headlines? And, why do they want them?

Performing acts of kindness can be its own reward, but knowing human nature, these kind acts soon will attract attention and get them praise better suited to Christians than thumbing their nose at the law and the people who are suffering patiently through the situation.

Remember 1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now abide: faith, hope, love, these three. But the greatest of these is love." Let's show love, not pride. Will your ego-driven desire to defy laws and common sense kill many of your congregation? I will pray for them — and you.

I am a native Portlander, and a

retired customer service tech with

an adult daughter.

Hollis Vannatter

Southeast Portland

Save lives with medical research laws

Medical research, given funding and freedom, saves lives. We need this now more than ever.

I have seen so many diseases that ran rampant in the past when I was young vanish, such as polio.

I carried the Hepatitis C virus for almost two decades because the treatment was not always effective with my particular strain. The cost, even with insurance, would've bankrupted me, and I probably would have lost my job.

Research finally came up with a pill that was 95% effective in 12 weeks with few side effects. Granted it was around $1,000 a pill, but the medication was picked up by the government. I now am not tempting fate with increased chances of liver cancer or cirrhosis.

This virus and other health care problems need to be eradicated, and perhaps we need some legislation to move it along.

I have spent many years advocating for health care reform, and while it pains me to say this, I urge lawmakers to move this without cost-control riders. Given the makeup of the U.S. Senate, it will not pass or may not even be voted on with cost controls.

That has to be a separate battle. First things first. Let's save lives.

Mark Sturbois

Southeast Portland


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