Letter: Christians can’t outdo government’s impact
Op-Ed · November 16, 2012

I have practiced business in the West Branch area for over 50 years, and been a property owner for over 40. I was active in the Chamber, Lion’s Club and even a trustee at the Methodist church. That meant I got to change light bulbs! I watched businesses, city councils and their employees, policemen, even newspaper editors come and go. I also know what West Branch is and isn’t.
That’s why the Soapbox Philosophy in the Nov. 8th Times got my attention. It stated that the influence of the church body in West Branch could “impact” the world more than our government. Really! Osama might beg to differ! He learned in a very sudden way about our government’s “impact”! I’ve also noticed that in the very short time Mr. Norfleet’s been in West Branch, he continually accelerates his “selling of religion.”

In this country we are supposed to have freedom of religion, which I assume includes freedom from religion! Only countries like Iran have neither. Churches teach morals and values of course. Most atheists have these same values. I can provide examples. And I certainly have nothing against West Branch’s churches. I currently belong to the “Round Church,” where the devil can’t corner me.

Now a few thoughts about government. My car from West Branch Ford has the required lights, crumple zones, and other safety features mandated by government; not a church. When I buckle up and head to West Branch it’s on an interstate put in place by President Eisenhower, not a church. It contributes to our safety and comfort, and saves time and fuel. It also promotes automobile travel. That in turn sells cars and creates more jobs. Think of all the new businesses along the interstate. Many people tour the Hoover Site because of its interstate access.

When I deposit checks at the Community State Bank I have no worries. It’s insured by, you guessed it, our government.

When I stop for lunch downtown and I see those little round black things in my soup, I really do believe they are black beans! You see the cafe’s been government inspected.

Looking around downtown I see churches that receive special taxation privileges. I see a new winery that supposedly got about $300,000 of government cash infusion. A Hoover House that I heard took a $100,000 handout. If those figures are a little high or low, what’s the difference? You get the point. It was government money.

When I started in the life insurance business I found that widows and their children got monthly checks for years to help sustain them. Not from a church but from government. And the reason many senior citizens retire in comfort is government’s social security plan. My father collected social security thru age 87, over 23 years. My mentally challenged sister has been supported over 30 years by our government. My brother in law, about 55, has been in a nursing home for over 5 years, paralyzed from the neck down. Friends, relatives, his church, gave him big doses of sympathy! The government gives him a check for the nursing home every month. It’s called Medicaid or title 19. About 70 percent of occupants in nursing homes are on it. Probably half of those people used to rant and rave about “government programs”! I myself get most of my health coverage for a pittance compared to people under 65. It’s called Medicare. It’s administrative costs are 2 percent compared to private insurance companies 15 to 20 percent cost.

Most people don’t have a clue about the amount of cash shoved back into their county each month. I find it especially strange when people that have never received a check that didn’t have the government’s fingerprints on it, continually complain about that same government. Go figure!

Yes, churches have a role. But government’s role is much larger. And if as you state, Mr. Norfleet, introverts can each influence over 10,000 people, they should get in the insurance business. They could make a fortune!

Nick Arensdorf, Coralville

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