I’d like to comment on two of the columnists run regularly in The News Virginian.

The “Christmas gifts” column (Dec. 23, and most, if not all, of his columns) by Steve “Doc” Troxell makes clear that this man lives an insular life, something I would not expect for a “retired university professor.” (If this is true, why isn’t the university named in his byline?)

To willy-nilly wish everyone in sight a “Merry Christmas” is akin to wishing everyone a “Happy Birthday” even though it might not be their birthday. It’s stupid.

I grew up in an area with quite a few Jewish people. In December, I would send Christmas cards only to those I was sure were Christians. Anyone I wasn’t sure of would receive a “Happy Holidays” card.

For Troxell to suggest that people “can go sit in their safe space” if they don’t like his “Merry Christmas” greetings displays an ugly arrogance that certainly is not in keeping with “the real reason” for the holiday. “Happy Holidays,” on the other hand, demonstrates respect for the religious belief of others (a First Amendment right, remember?).

Then there’s Mark Wingfield, a pastor who should know better than to suggest the God is micromanaging all of our lives (“Living for Jesus”, Dec. 15, and many other of his columns).

When Wingfield says that God “kept [him] from car accidents” as well as from burning to death, drowning, and being shot to death, he’s suggesting that he must be a very special person. After all, the numerous folks who’ve been in car accidents, or have been burned, drowned, or shot, apparently must have deserved it!

If it’s true that “God kept His hand on [us]”, it would make us automatons instead of free-thinking beings — which Wingfield suggested in a prior column by saying Donald Trump became president because it was God’s will (which can only mean that He guided the hands of voters in the voting booth). A corollary to that would be, then, that it was God’s will for Hitler and other dictators to become their country’s leaders and thus kill millions of their countrymen.

Commentary writers (certainly retired professors) should be competent enough to employ critical, rather than inane, thinking.

Marlene A Condon


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