Mr. Nassivera's op-ed “On Faith: Without a compass” identifies our lack of a moral compass. The problem with compasses is they only point in linear directions, without consideration for the real topographies. Counterintuitive for “flat landers,” Vermonters instinctively know the best way to the other side of the mountain is often going outside your way around it. Compasses also aren’t time machines pointing the way back to times gone and never coming back. Longing for the good old days requires a lot of selective memory.

Mr. Nassivera laments the loss of God as the “North star,” our reference point. Perhaps, but it’s hard to trust a God that points some towards mass murder of innocent “infidels;” literal interpretations of ancient texts to impose today's personal behaviors and geography, regardless of consequence; equating the rights of a fetus to that of the woman for whom it’s intrinsically part of her own body and outlawing her choices; treating women as second-class members and declaring even discussion of it prohibited.

That said, I’m deeply saddened ways that could help us face the mysteries we all face, life and death and our place in it all, seem flawed to the point of toxicity. And yes, we feel rudderless as we stumble, sometimes dangerously, through the time we have. Maybe we can’t make it work with true personal freedom and the striving for unity. Time will tell.

My only hope is, there are intrinsic values in all of us. Our country’s first declaration proclaims “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and woman) are created equal, that they are endowed, by their creator with certain unalienable Rights ….” Striving to make that reality, without the guard rails of fear and condemnation, may be our North star now. And if we get there, maybe we’ll find God’s fingerprints all over it. I fervently hope so.

Chuck Kletecka lives in Waterbury Center.

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