(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: The time has come to stop Eastman’s willful and wanton damage

God in the Bible makes it clear that we are to care for the vulnerable among us.

  • Friday, March 10, 2023 9:59pm
  • Opinion

We wish to commend the state Legislature for successfully organizing in a timely and creative manner to do the work of the people this year. It gives us great hope to watch our legislators engage in a manner that seeks to serve the people of Alaska.

Likewise, we wish to commend lawmakers for unanimously censuring Rep. David Eastman for his thoughtless and damaging comments regarding “economic benefit” resultant from the death of abused children in the judiciary committee meeting of Monday, Feb. 20.

Unfortunately, such thoughtless and damaging commentary is not new for Mr. Eastman. His Republican and Democratic colleagues have not welcomed him into either the majority or minority coalitions because of his past vitriolic tenor and tone.

While Mr. Eastman defended his comments by saying he was trying to highlight injustices around abortion, the fact remains he did so at the expense of the serious work of reducing and preventing instances of child abuse and neglect in our state. As people of faith, we recognize that if one claims to be pro-life, this extends beyond pregnancy and delivery to protecting our vulnerable from adverse childhood experiences that have lifelong consequences to the individual and to our community.

We recognize state legislators have sought to minimize Mr. Eastman’s hurtful actions by excluding him from both the majority and minority caucuses. We recognize you have sought to minimize Mr. Eastman’s vitriol by limiting his committee assignments. We recognize you have sought to hold Mr. Eastman accountable by censuring him, but now we ask that they recognize this only expresses disapproval without consequences.

The time has come to stop Mr. Eastman’s willful and wanton damage. At a minimum, we would hope members of the Legislature would consider taking away his last and final committee assignment; however, we believe they are warranted in taking the extraordinary step of once and for all expelling him from the body.

God in the Bible makes it clear that we are to care for the vulnerable among us. This is a moral imperative shared by many faith traditions as well as many who hold to no specific faith.

Please hold Mr. Eastman to account for his verbal assault and inconsiderate actions.

The Rev. Andy Bartel, Anchorage; Rabbi Abram Goodstein, Anchorage; The Rev. Matt Schultz, Anchorage; The Rev. Dan Wilcox, Wasilla; The Rev. Emily Carroll, Anchorage; Pastor Bertha Koweluk, Nome; The Rev. Autumn Krueger, Anchorage; The Rev. Karen Martin Tichenor, Soldotna; The Rev. Undra Parker, Anchorage; The Rev. Nico Reijns, Girdwood; The Rev. Joel Kiekinveld, Anchorage; Pastor David Owslely, Ketchikan; The Rev. Bob Smith, Anchorage; Pastor April Hall, Kenai; The Rev. Dr. Denise Sudbeck, Anchorage; Pastor Erin Day, Anchorage; The Rev. Duane Chase, Anchorage; The Rev. Criss Mitchell, Anchorage; Lonnie Brooks, Anchorage; Pastor Martine Robinson, Anchorage; and Pastor Michael Bunton, Anchorage. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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