To the editor,

We live in a time when global disillusionment, discouragement, depression and despair is running rampant. Suicide rates are skyrocketing. We all struggle at some level to find a bit of happiness, joy and peace. We feel alone, disconnected, lost and scared. So…what and where is the solution, and how do we implement it?

Many of us have found solace and restoration with the knowledge that we are first and foremost spiritual beings, and that is where our healing must take place. Those of us who are followers of Christ also know that real happiness comes from a personal relationship with our Father God. Be that as it may, we all, deep inside, understand that “who we are” is much more than mental or emotional. Because of that, any man-made efforts to “create” happiness that remain on these levels, will be ultimately futile.

This is why I am concerned about a Positive Psychology program called “The Orange Frog/Happiness Advantage Initiative” that our Isanti County Commissioners are considering implementing county-wide at the cost of $2.5 to $4.5 million. And although they look at this money as “free money” because it would come from a $7.8 million grant the federal government is giving to Isanti County from the American Rescue Plan Fund, I say it is our tax dollars (federal in this case) that they are talking about using.

I appreciate the commissioners’ concern for the mental well-being of their constituents. But, if we spend this kind of money on a pie-in-the-sky self-talk program that is hyped up and highly promoted for huge financial gains (do the research!) for a temporary band-aid fix of our deeply disturbing declining county-wide mental health, it would be a travesty – especially considering that there are many very practical needs in our county that could be addressed with these funds.

By every definition of the term, this “Orange Frog Initiative” is secular humanism at its core. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is in fact a religion. Are our County Commissioners prepared to face charges that they used tax dollars to promote and propagate a religion in our county? 

Please join with me in making our concerns about this known. Let us act responsibly and help guide our County Commissioners toward making a wise, moral and righteous decision in this matter.     

Gary Lantz


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