To the Editor

The December 30 Echo featured a column by Pastor John Smith entitled “Strong Men Needed.” In it, Pastor Smith claimed that “a lack of strong leadership” has led to the “long slow breakdown of what it means to be masculine.” Strong men, according to Pastor Smith, “have backbones and righteous conviction, stand up for what is right,” and are not “passive and overly agreeable.”


A world of “effeminate” men, he says, has caused confusion, “emasculated” men, businesses shutting down, restriction of church worship, and people suffering.


I have two questions: 1. Might President Trump, who fits the description of Pastor Smiths strong man,” be one of those responsible for allowing the pandemic to get out of control and  causing millions to suffer, through his denial of the dangers of the Coronavirus, his bungling response, and strongly refusing to wear a mask? 2. Are the Trump-incited mobsters who attacked our Capitol on January 6 ones Pastor Smith considers strong men” (and women)?


I prefer to think of strong people as those who strive to love one another, as Jesus directed his followers. I prefer to think of strong people as those who care for and protect one another by being careful not to expose others to Covid, wearing masks, keeping their distance, and avoiding crowds. The strong people I know are teachers, grocery store clerks, caregivers for elders and children, artists and musicians who lift our spirits, ministers who comfort their people and protect them from COVID, public officials who apply science to their decisions, trash collectors, servers, clerks, postal workers, professional journalists, health care providers, and bus drivers — all those who accept risks, care for others, and commit themselves to protecting one another and our country.


These qualities of strength have no gender.


Susan Butruille



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