The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 15, 2014

Readers' Forum 1-15 | Cleansing our souls through forgiveness

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — I first proposed marking New Year’s Day as a nationally celebrated day of forgiveness in 1997. An act of Congress could encourage Americans to pause and reflect about the benefits of casting off the burdens of the past in order to make a fresh start on the future of a new year.

Considering how polarized Americans have become since the ’90s, forgiveness offers a reset button to overlook past offenses and build on the nation’s historical consensus of our moral and constitutional duties to our fellow Americans.

Forgiveness offers an opportunity to liberate oneself from the baggage of past adverse memories that so often enslave the conscience that dwells on the pain of past offenses. Forgiveness does more for the forgiver than the offenders who have long forgotten these experiences.

The prayer of our Lord calls for our forgiveness as a condition of his forgiving us for offending him. It is a crucial step toward the restoration of the body and soul to health and social renewal.

The power of personal and divine forgiveness has been scientifically documented to have a profound effect on the overall health of the body, mind and spirit, and in some cases, miraculous cures of chronic, debilitating diseases such as cancer.

Forgiveness is a powerful alternative to new year’s resolutions that usually fail.

Marking New Year’s Day as a national day of forgiveness could lead to a new birth of personal freedom that would unleash our energies to create a new future.

Dr. Bill Choby


Regarding ambulance, not what it appears

I am writing in response to “Unprofessional behavior,” a Readers’ Forum letter from Clark Woodley of Northern Cambria.

I have been an emergency medical technician for the past five years; I currently serve with two emergency services that routinely are called into each other’s service area to take calls if the first service is out of emergency vehicles.

Usually these calls go out as an emergency, and they are treated as such –  meaning that the ambulance will travel with its lights on and siren blowing.

It also is routine that we are cancelled by the home service while we are on our way to these calls. At that time, our ambulance is placed back into service, and we are relieved from answering that call. This means that all lights and sirens are ceased as soon as that cancellation is confirmed.

I am sure that Woodley did not see that ambulance “just turning off its lights” in a convenience store’s parking lot.

At this time, it is perfectly acceptable for the crew to stop at a store in their coverage area to get fuel or food, should they need it.

Don’t jump the gun. If you know nothing about emergency services, ask the crew on the unit, visit an ambulance station or, if permissible, participate in a ride-along.

Don’t throw the people who may be there to save your life one day under the bus.

Megan D. Ochenrider

Emergency Medical Technician

Nanty Glo

Can’t pigeonhole all constituents

I am so confused.

The religious right is obsessed with establishing its god’s laws as our country’s laws. Never mind that one in five Americans (one in three under the age of 30) is not religious – and the “nones” are growing fast – what exactly would this mean?

Would it mean returning to slavery and concubines? Killing children who mouth off to their parents? Selling daughters? Killing anyone who works on the sabbath? Making women marry their rapists? And don’t forget dashing babies against rocks or setting hordes of bears on little boys who laugh at bald guys. Really?

This stuff is all in the Bible.

The penalty for many biblical crimes is death by stoning. Would we go back to that? Who would select the stones? Who would throw them? Usually stoning was to be done at the gates of the city. Where are the gates of Johnstown? Would there be film at 11?

The camel’s nose is already in the tent when elected officials craft legislation that codifies their beliefs and runs roughshod over the rights of different-minded constituents. We’re all in trouble then.

The religio-conservative party line is that women are uppity, organized workers are bad, the poor are undeserving and children are famished, but that’s OK (if their mother can’t feed them, she

shouldn’t have had them ... yadda, yadda).

As a liberal/lesbian/nontheist Quaker, I have several dogs in this fight. I hope to live long enough to see science, common sense and reason prevail.

Because, you know, sanity.

Nancy Coleman