A divided Willmar embraces ‘welcoming’

It’s a sign of the times that the notion of welcoming everybody brings division.

Few cities have wrestled with the idea more than Willmar, Minn., where the City Council has voted 5-to-2 to embrace a resolution on welcoming, the West Central Tribune reports today.

The resolution says all residents of Willmar are welcomed no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation and country of origin.

The need for a resolution on being welcome in the city is sparked by the reality that all residents are not.

“Ordinary citizens in Willmar are regularly tarred and feathered and labeled for opinions some feel are not politically correct,” resident Jim Dokken said. “Willmar has a diversity problem, and that is too many people refuse to tolerate opinions that are different from their own.”

“Government cannot legislate feelings, attitudes or emotions. A welcoming feeling is a personal choice, unique to each person’s heart,” Sue Quist said.

Last year a city council member was criticized after he “liked” a Facebook post that said “We need to get these people out of our country and back to other Muslim hell holes where they will fit in because they don’t fit in here and never will.”

“I don’t trust this document to do anything for the city of Willmar,” council member Ron Christianson said last night.

“It is a reaffirmation of what makes this country great,” Councilor Shawn Mueske said.

Related: St. Joseph council approves motion to build ‘all-inclusive community’ (St. Cloud Times)