Roxane B. Salonen
Quietly, and with great concern, I've watched the controversy at Standing Rock unfold. Though it might seem a white woman, or "wasicu," writing about faith would have little to say on the matter, I grew up alongside the Lakota and Assiniboine on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeast Montana, where my parents taught and lived for 37 years. Given that my formative years happened in Indian Country, maybe my perspective could be helpful. Certainly, the situation has been pressing on my heart; I have friends in both worlds and love them all.
FARGO — No one would guess the hell Shegitu Kebede has lived through. The scars she bears from her horrific childhood in Ethiopia in the 1970s do not show visibly. Instead, those who encounter her see only her poised, grace-filled presence. The losses — her biological parents at age five from war; her missionary parents from political tumult; her faith in God temporarily; her siblings; and eventually her innocence as she was raped after fleeing a Kenyan refugee camp at night, pregnant and vulnerable — go deep, reemerging only as haunting reminders.
On Nov. 8, I began the morning reading the Word of God and other inspirational writings to help start my day solid. And then I poured out my heart to God, begging for some sign that he is indeed with us, his hand near. I didn't pray for a specific result, just that his merciful will would be obvious. I knew that not only the United States, but the world, was counting on this election's outcome. I begged God to bring relief to the oppressed across the world and in our own country, regardless of how the votes leaned.
HORACE, N.D. — Like any mother and wife with cancer, Heidi Frie has good reason to be miffed at God. After all, from the beginning, the severity of the disease's injustice hit hard. "Ironically, the day after I went into the hospital, Anna was getting confirmed," Heidi recalls, of the week in June 2011 when pains in her body had become too fierce to ignore.
It's still in the distance, though one can faintly hear its haunting "choo-choo": the euthanasia death-train that's picking up speed. Is there time to warn the conductor of impending doom?
"Don't bring your religion into politics." We're hearing it more and more these days. But I find the admonition inherently flawed, and as we fly headlong into Election Day, I'd be negligent to avoid making the case why. Jane Ahlin's Oct. 9 Forum piece, "Personal religious faith in realm of public policy," may echo the cultural mantra, but its faulty base belies reality and deserves to be checked. In her essay, Ahlin references the recent vice-presidential candidate debates, at which the moderator broached the issue of religion in the public square.
FARGO — At the funeral Mass of little Ruby Faustina Schultz, the Rev. Kyle Metzger of Sts. Anne & Joachim Church noted that her whole life had been lived during the Year of Mercy. The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began Dec. 8 and concludes Nov. 20, was set aside by Pope Francis earlier this year as a special time to focus on the mercy of God. This reality has brought comfort to grieving parents Sara and Steve Schultz, who lost Ruby in utero at 27 weeks on Aug. 25.
FARGO — It was a severe wake-up call for Fargo Police Chief David Todd — the eruption of opiate-related drug deaths and overdoses in our community that were "growing like wildfire." "We were seeing something that we hadn't before," he says of his decision to call together a press conference early this year. "We suspected it was something more than just heroin, and we were trying to warn people about it."
Her last letter to me was postmarked July 5, and I looked forward to responding, but by the time I was able to, it was too late. Our family's late summer vacation also had complicated things; I didn't learn of Florence Jordahl's Aug. 18 passing until mid-September. The notification came from her family — not handwritten in beautiful scrawl as all her letters had been, but computer-composed, and, naturally, sent at her request. She'd wanted her family to communicate with those she'd kept in touch with after her death, they'd written.
The simple headline shocked me. "Women's clinic asks for volunteers to escort." In the end, I have to give WDAY the benefit of the doubt and assume its editor was napping the day this piece slipped through. After all, this reads like an advertisement for our state's only abortion clinic than an actual news story, and I'm sure that wasn't the intention. But for those of us working hard to help change hearts and minds on the issue of abortion, it was a stab to the chest.