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Keep faith 'essential' 

This may come as a surprise to many of us, but I believe that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did us all a huge favor — a favor with implications well beyond the duration of our current COVID-19 crisis. Many would say it has eternal ramifications.

When the governor banned all gatherings of greater than 50 people and then restricted excursions from home to "essential" activities, she determined that church services do not fall into the "essential activities" category. While she exempted churches from any penalties due to violations of this order (to avoid providing the basis for a lawsuit tied to the loss of civil liberties), her order stands.

How is this order "doing us a favor" then?

Simple. It forces each of us to question whether we believe that worshiping is essential to us or not. Is our faith something that sustains us through the week or is it something we simply check the box for completing once every weekend?

Many have commented that food and medicine are essential, but praying together is not. If one can practice social distancing guidelines in a grocery store or liquor store or pot shop, surely one can also practice social distancing guidelines in a church.

One can also pray at home, even communally with your family members. That is not the underlying issue. The key question is, "Do you view your faith as essential or non-essential?"

Our reflection upon this question may yield a much greater gift  than a $1,200 check from the government. I encourage each of us to reflect upon this important question during this crisis.

Personally, I thank God that I live in a country — that I live in a state — with a Constitution that allows me to decide whether my faith is essential and not some government bureaucrat. When we stop asserting our constitutional rights, we will lose them.

Patrick Colbeck, Canton

former state senator 

A double standard? 

This probably seems petty, but I am wondering if the politicians on TV are really doing their own hair and make-up. It sure looks like salon work to me.

They can take this as a compliment if they want. But if it’s salon work, they should be ashamed!

Jane Finn, Royal Oak

Some advice from a business owner 

While paying bills on a business that has been shuttered by the governor's pandemic decree, I came up with some suggestions on how Michigan leaders could demonstrate burden sharing.

The state of Michigan should cease all property tax collection on commercial buildings that house businesses shuttered by the governor's decree. Businesses are unable to use the property as intended so the value of the property falls to zero.

Suspend the payments of wages and benefits to the governor and state legislators until the shutdown is lifted and we return to an open economy. They can collect unemployment benefits and any assistance they may qualify. The ailing Michigan treasury will benefit and it will instill in our leaders newfound motivation to resolve the pandemic. Let our leaders demonstrate to their newly unemployed constituents that they truly understand the pain associated with the shutdown.

These actions would demonstrate to the citizens of Michigan how much their leadership cares about their well-being and shares in their suffering.

Mike O’Hara, Highland

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