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Why close Winter Park Memorial thrift store?

The Winter Park Memorial Hospital Auxiliary White Elephant Thrift Store is closing, and 31 volunteers are asking why. We know that Publix is expanding and will be tearing down our building in the Aloma Plaza, but why, after 27 years of being a source of income and volunteer service for the Winter Park Memorial Hospital, was the decision made to close the store, even though another building was available. During these years, thousands of dollars have been made for hospital projects, improvements, scholarships and various needs of the hospital.

Why now, with the economy like it is and the community needing stores such as ours, would the hospital close it down? The monies we made did help the hospital and the community by being there for the people. The 31 volunteers are dedicated ladies that have formed friendships throughout the years with a wonderful store that has served the community well and helped many who were in need and unable to pay.

We feel that the Winter Park Hospital fails to realize just what the White Elephant Thrift Store and its volunteers have done for the hospital and the community after all these years.

—Carol Rollman

Orlando

Jepson stacks the deck on religion

Chris Jepson blasted God again in his March 4 column, "Satan as a Card Dealer," in the Observer by exalting the devil. He quotes Samuel Butler who laments that, since God has written all the books; mankind has only heard one side of the story. (Is Satan illiterate?) God's Book is only of value, however, if read. The devil can in no way match God's power, though he can inflict great damage. He was the first to realize and take advantage of free will — to realize that the choice to obey God also opens the door to rebellion, which many prefer.

Epicurus' error has been answered many times, but some have not read those books either. A diet of skepticism seldom yields wisdom. Could God prevent evil? He could — but only at the expense of our free will. God is unwilling to eradicate all evil at the moment of its inception because the devil and all of us would have been destroyed long ago. Furthermore, no one would ever have a chance to learn from mistakes, repent, or make positive changes. God is not malevolent to allow the existence of evil because it provides us the means of deciding our future. God knew from the beginning what man's choices would be. For that reason Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world. God Himself has paid an enormous price for allowing us freedom. Epicurus and Jepson have confused Earth with heaven, where no evil will exist. Those who dwell there forever will enjoy a sin-free environment.

Is Satan a mere "fall guy"? The devil has never made anyone sin, but he does know how to manipulate, spin, twist and distort circumstances to his own advantage. He excels in making sin look attractive, but we are still drawn away by our own lusts. We bear the blame for our decisions.

Mark Twain was a brilliant humorist, but did he say with a straight face that Satan "hasn't a single salaried helper"? Really? Do those who traffic in illegal drugs do it for free? Are there no paychecks for those in Hollywood who encourage young people to use crude speech and engage in acts of fornication? Sin ministries are big business. Even writers of books and newspaper columnists have been known to receive remuneration for their efforts.

Many claiming to be Christians serve in the devil's camp. As the old story goes, a man was on the way to a costume party dressed as what many people imagine the devil to look like (orange suit, horns, etc.). A sudden storm arose, and he ran for cover from the rain. He slipped into a church building just as lightning struck and the power flickered. People suddenly saw him and began to scream and scatter — except for one elderly man, who stood his ground and confided, "I just want you to know that I've been a member of this church for 40 years, but I've been on your side the whole time." Likewise, some "clergy" now champion fornication, adultery and many other sins —contrary to the Word of God.

Those who want to know God should read His Book instead of listening to those who claim to represent Him. The Bereans did not even take Paul's preaching as truth until they searched the Scriptures. Paul also encouraged brethren to prove or test all things. Lumping all or even most religious leaders together with the one Jepson cited is nothing more than the logical fallacy of "hasty generalization," which he surely knows. Talk about stacking the deck!

—Gary W. Summers

Winter Park

Identifying the silent killer

Can you imagine if everyone in the state of Florida walked around with a disease called "the silent killer" — and didn't know it? Or if every single resident in New York and California were at high risk for developing this "silent killer?"

Nearly 6 million Americans are unaware they have diabetes. Look around you. One in five Americans is at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Could one of them be someone you love?

For many people with Type 2 diabetes, diagnosis may come years after onset. Yet, early diagnosis is critical to delay or prevent the debilitating complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and amputation.

What can you do to stop diabetes? Know your risk.

Tuesday, March 23 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day. Discover your risk for Type 2 diabetes — and join the movement to stop this terrible disease — by visiting stopdiabetes.com or by calling 800-DIABETES.

It's time to stop this silent killer once and for all.

—Thomas Kincaid

Longwood