The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 25, 2012

Readers' Forum 12-25 | Thankful that opinions can be expressed

JOHNSTOWN — I’d like to thank The Tribune-Democrat for allowing the people of the area to express their opinions, whether they are liberal, conservative, secular, religious or whatever. Some, from their biased points of view, do not think the other side should have the opportunity to express their opinions. I may be misinformed, but I always thought that’s what freedom of speech was about.

Robust opinions on political and moral issues of the day are going to bring about stirring debates. Some people don’t seem to understand that just because you disagree with them doesn’t mean you are a hateful person or that you hate them personally. God teaches us to hate sin but to love the sinner.

Speaking of God, I believe the Bible is the real dividing line throughout life’s journey. The Bible is God’s instruction book of how we came about, what our purpose is and how we accomplish that purpose. If the selfish, self-centered “I” gets in the way, problems are created. If “he” takes precedence, then we’re on our way to being the kind of people and nation God wants us to be.

Look around. Do you think we’re more of an “I” people or a “he” people? Pretty easy answer, huh? Talking about “he” (Jesus), I’d like to wish all a very merry Christmas as this is the national holiday set aside to honor the greatest birth ever in all mankind. Emmanuel, God with us.

Bernie Bolha

Upper Yoder Township

In times of need, don’t turn to drugs

The prostitute of addiction; how she attracts many with promises of instant satisfaction and escape from painful realities.

In one way or another, most of us have kept company with her. We’ve smelled her, taken her into our mouths, up our noses, shot her into our arms or raised her up in glasses to relieve the distress in our minds caused by emotional, physical or spiritual abandonment. She ravages our souls and bodies, and in the end betrays all that desire her when they can’t handle her demands anymore.

She has led away friends and family to shackles, to death and some right out of their minds. Breaking free is a frightening proposal. At first we experience more loss; where will we turn now for support when everything eludes us? We may even break down and withdrawal in pain into some sickbed to escape her clutches.

But there begins the real opportunity; if we wait, we will discover a truer friend that rewards us with his constant presence and faithfulness; with no false hopes, promises or strings attached to keep the experience going.

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10); “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24); “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8).

You can bring in the new year without heroin, mary jane, crystal, sudsy and ciggy. Seek support in Jesus, he’s waiting for you.

Kirstin DiNinno

Central City

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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