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Wouldn't we all like our views to be the dominate ones in America?

To The Daily Sun,

I don't know E. Scott Cracraft, except by his columns and letters in the Daily Sun, but I get the impression that he has a low opinion of evangelical Christians and those who hold conservative (sometimes called traditional) values. He doesn't seem to be very tolerant of those of us who hold those views, and someone needs to correct statements that are misleading, thus this letter.

The implication that many evangelical Christians are calling for the execution of gay people and those women who have abortions is absurd. There may be a very few (not even a fringe) who feel that way, but I know none who have even mentioned such a thing. I have heard no preacher in our country calling for the death penalty for gays. Anyone who does is not representative of the vast majority of conservative, evangelical Christians.

Mr. Cracraft warns us about something called "Christian dominionism." As one who has been involved in Christian evangelical fellowship most of my years, to date I do not recall ever having been involved in a discussion of Christian dominionism. I have discussed the dominion of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ. I am acquainted with the term "apologetics" which involves defending the Christian faith, and not apologizing for it.

To Mr. Cracraft and those who share his concern about Christian beliefs and practice I ask: Would you like your worldview to be the dominate one in America? I expect you would and would be puzzled if you did not. Do you believe Muslims would like their beliefs to be the dominate one not only of Iran, but also of the United States? I expect they do.

Mr. Cracraft's references are internet sites. My guess and research leads me to believe that the term Christian dominionism is one used more by the those that like to label some people with unpopular viewpoints than it is by Christians.

However, followers of Jesus Christ realize that they are going to be misunderstood and misrepresented and belittled for their beliefs. That is a small thing in light of the fact that they have experienced the love and power of God in their lives, and purpose to live their lives by the commandments of Jesus to love God with all their being and to love their neighbor as themselves. That love extends to the unborn baby that is killed in the womb, and, believe it or not, to the mother who chooses to end her baby's life.

One internet site reveals three beliefs of those it labels Christian dominionists. The first is that they believe that the U.S.A. should be a Christian nation. There are people who with reason believe that a nation governed by Christian values makes for a better nation; not a perfect one, because Christians aren't perfect, but a better one. Mr. Cracraft seems to believe that a nation without Christians (at least evangelical Christians) would be better.

The second supposed trait of a Christian dominionist is said to be that they do not respect the equality of other religions. The idea that all religions are equal defies logic. Some Christians don't like to use the word religion in describing their faith because they feel it is misleading. But how can all beliefs be equal when they contradict each other? Do those in political parties think that the opposing party is equal in value? The rhetoric I hear doesn't indicate that. Should we respect the equality of all restaurants? Does it make me a bad person if I choose one over the other?

The third charge against the so-called dominionists is that they believe that the Ten Commandments should be the foundation of American law. The fact is that they have been just that in practice until recent decades even though it may not be stated in the documents. The commandments are good and right and sensible and the keeping of them makes for a better society.

Does the evangelical, conservative (in some ways, liberal) Christian want to promote the good news of Jesus Christ? Would he like to see others accept all that Jesus offers them? Of course! But theirs is not a mission of hate, nor of imposing their beliefs on others against their will, nor of denying freedom of religion, nor of advocating execution of people whose conduct they don't like, nor of denying people a vote. Who, really, are the ones who have been trying to impose their values on us? Whose agenda is the extreme one? Who has been questioning the intelligence of Christians? Who are the intolerant?

Mr. Cracraft may be a very nice man. I choose to think that he is, but I also think he is barking up the wrong tree.

Bob Smith

New Hampton

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WOW Trail: putting state-owned land to more productive use

One year ago, this photo of two young girls illegally trespassing on the State of New Hampshire-owned railroad corridor was published on the front page of The Laconia Daily Sun.
The photo prompted a reminder from the N.H. Department of Transportation Bureau of Rail and Transit of the dangers of trespassing on the active railroad corridor. The photo also became the screen saver on my computer. It serves as a daily reminder of the importance of the regional rail trail effort.
It was 1980 when the City of Laconia first discussed developing a recreation path along the State of New Hampshire-owned railroad right-of-way, and April 1982 when, together with the Lakes Region Planning Commission, the City of Laconia published the Lakes Region Bikeway System Report.
According to that long-ago published report:
"The railroad right of way is well suited for the trail for a variety of reasons: it's close proximity to the homes of year round and seasonal residents; the level grade and separation from automobile traffic make it attractive to very young and older riders; and the route combines scenic beauty with access to the region's busiest commercial areas."
Fast forward to present day and two phases of this long-ago conceptualized trail are currently under construction in Laconia and Belmont. Come the end of October, users will be able to travel from Lakeport all the way to Belmont, near the Mosquito Bridge, a one-way trip of about 4.5 miles. This is a significant step in the regional trail effort that will one day connect Meredith Bay to Weirs Beach, Lakeport, downtown Laconia, Belmont, Tilton, Franklin and New Hampshire's 56+ mile Northern Rail Trail.
The State of New Hampshire-owned railroad right-of-way is arguably some of the most spectacular real estate in the Lakes Region yet, for most year-round and seasonal residents, it is off limits. Unless you own a snowmobile or have bought a ticket for a scenic train ride, you've likely not had a chance to enjoy the Lakes Region from this state-owned land.
Together, we are changing that.
The WOW Trail will transform this underutilized state-owned railroad right-of-way into a vibrant year-round public recreation space for ALL residents and visitors to enjoy, bringing with it the economic impact that rail trail communities around the country now enjoy. Shovels are in the dirt this summer because of the persistent, collective effort of countless community volunteers and donors who see the value of the trail for the region and have generously donated their time and resources to make it happen.
Yet we still have work to do. We need your help to meet a $40,000 fundraising gap for Phase 2. Please share your enthusiasm for the regional trail with your friends and neighbors. Better yet, consider making a donation online at www.wowtrail.org or by mail to WOW Trail, PO Box 6832, Laconia, NH 03247. Every dollar counts and no gift is too small.
In his recent Fourth of July column published in The Laconia Daily Sun, a local real estate broker reminded us that "It's the friendly, family-oriented atmosphere we have in the beautiful Lakes Region and the multitude of events and activities that keeps drawing families back year after year." There's no doubt that a regional bike trail linking neighboring communities together and showcasing our three beautiful lakes will fast become one of the Lakes Region's best amenities, drawing vacationing families back year after year and enhancing the quality of life for those of us fortunate to call this place home.
It's going to be spectacular. Thank you for coming along for the ride.
**A limited amount of granite pavers (12"x36") will be placed along Phase 2 behind the downtown Laconia train station. If you'd like to permanently commemorate your business, family, or remember a loved one on the trail, these can be purchased with a $1,000 donation and will be engraved with your business name, logo, or special message. To reserve a commemorative $1,000 granite paver, please send your donation to WOW Trail, PO Box 6832, Laconia, NH 03246.**
(Gretchen Gandini is the executive director for the WOW Trail. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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