published Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

'Let children open hearts to idea of God' and more letters to the editors

Looks do matter in making a point

So I'm reading the paper Oct. 28 and flip to the opinion section to check out the thoughts for the day, and what jumps out at me but the editorial cartoon titled "Take a guess!" Oh my, but I thought I'd fall out of my chair laughing. That one cartoon says it all to those who are having a hard time understanding that everyone doesn't "get" their alternative lifestyle looks, perceptions, etc.

What is so sad for this 61-year-old ex-hippie (who still very much remembers with very fond recollections the protests of the '60s) is that looks do matter when you're trying to make a point! And the only point that many of the Occupy Wall Street folks are projecting is exactly that shown in this great cartoon.

Credibility is not given, it's earned, and unless these folks get their act together and have the right talking head getting their message out, the only thing anyone will remember is a bunch of nuts carrying signs and tossing stones.

Which brings me to another related issue: if we want to continue having the right to protest those things we find egregious it must be done peacefully!

SCOTT C. WILSON

Ooltewah


Homeless housing isn't excessive

The Oct. 23 Free Press editorial titled "Expensive housing for the homeless" does not present an accurate view of housing costs for people experiencing homelessness.

First of all, the $4 million cost of the building mentioned could include non-construction costs since some housing funding also involves funds for rental assistance and other operational costs. This particular project is a form of supportive housing for people who are moving out of transitional housing but still need some supportive services. Supportive housing has been proven to be a far more cost effective (and compassionate) response to homelessness than simply ignoring the problem.

The editorial also mentions several amenities included in the facility. This follows a typical pattern used in your editorials to create the perception that taxpayer funds are supporting a lavish lifestyle for people experiencing homelessness or living in poverty. I have been to several homeless facilities throughout the country. I have never seen any housing that exceeds the minimum expected of a society that respects human dignity.

With so many people in need, emotions are running high on both ends of the political spectrum. Your editorials can add fuel to the fire or they can promote reasonable discussions of differences. Please choose wisely.

JOHN DORRIS


Reflection Riding part of history

It was a mistake to change the name Reflection Riding Arboretum to Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center. I am a former professional landscaper and appreciate the natural beauty that John Chambliss preserved and perpetuated for us to enjoy. It is a great classroom for not only plants and trees, but for history.

The book "Lookout -- The story of an Amazing Mountain" states Reflection Riding "is historically important for here two ancient Indian trails crossed -- the Great Indian War Path and the St. Augustine and Cisco Trail. The Old Federal Road and Hernando De Soto clanked across what is now Reflection Riding. The last battle of the Revolution was fought near here as were Civil War skirmishes".

Quoting from the book "Chattanooga, the Hills of Home," Elizabeth Patton related "a riding in Colonial times meant a place to ride leisurely along and view the pleasant scenery -- and now translated into a scenic drive-thru. As a pleasure trip Reflection Riding is one of the finest type experiences."

In 1967 John and Margaret Chambliss were awarded the Margaret Douglass Award of the Garden Clubs of America for their work at Reflection Riding.

The name Reflection Riding Arboretum is a part of Chattanooga's history. Many resent the unique name being obliterated.

SUSAN PATTON

Signal Mountain


It's time to fix the NCLB law

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is broken and needs to be fixed.

President Obama recently announced that states would be allowed to get waivers to some of the NCLB requirements which is good, but more progress needs to be made in reforming our current educational system.

No Child Left Behind is a federal law passed in 2001 designed to hold schools accountable for student learning and ensure that at-risk youths are not "left behind" academically.

It brought to the forefront the achievement gap between rich/poor, white/non-white, advantaged/disadvantaged students, as well as focusing on low-performing schools and getting them turned around. But it also encouraged some states to set low academic standards, failed to recognize growth in student learning, and did little to elevate the teaching profession or recognize the most effective teachers.

Change is needed. Congress needs to get its act together to fix No Child Left Behind. In the meantime, our educational system is in crisis.

It's going to take the community to make change happen.

Support the schools by volunteering, tutoring or mentoring. Be involved in your child's education. Join the PTA, volunteer at school, and make homework/studying a priority at home.

Together we can make a difference.

BECKY STIEGLER


Let children open hearts to idea of God

One morning I awoke to the news story where a couple of children were sent to the principal's office for praying during an assembly.

I regret not hearing the entire story. I am proud of these children for not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and for expressing their freedom of religion.

One part of the story did upset me. They showed some blogs in which one mother said she "didn't want religion crammed down" her child's throat. Did the child complain to the mother or is the mother just complaining?

I thank God that my parents let me decide whether or not to listen to someone pray or to pray on my own. We went to church, but we were not forced to go. It was something we did as a family. I wonder what this mother does with her family?

Parent, please don't decide for your children whether God is real or not. Allow them to open their hearts and minds to the idea. Who knows, maybe you will learn something, too. And may God bless you!

DENA SMITH

Dunlap, Tenn.

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ToHoldNothing said...

I hope you're fine with letting your children be open to the idea of no God just as much.

November 1, 2011 at 2:35 a.m.
Livn4life said...

ToHoldNothing...in this day and environment, they can easily get the "no God" message on their own. And for all who hold that position, your life here will come to an end. It can only be hoped that at some point in life you at least make some attempt at reaching for something beyond yourself.

November 1, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

L4L, "It can only be hoped that at some point in your life you at least make some attempt at reaching for something beyond" blind faith in a primitive concept of a jealous, mean-spirited, and petty God who rewards or punishes his children based on merely how they choose to believe. Or if by chance you believe in some kind of God other than the Christian one, then I hope that you might some day at least be able to wrap your mind around the notion that most people who reject a monotheistic personal God do not do so out of mere whimsy or purely selfish interest. Most agnostics or atheists I know and have ever known have come to their rejection of God, particularly the absurd concept of the Christian God, out of much study, reflection, and soul-searching. Most agnostics/atheists know the Bible, having studied it objectively and with eyes wide open, far better than the typical Christian who generally just cherry picks what he/she wants to read, or they merely listen to their preacher on Sunday who does the cherry picking for them.

"If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane." Robert Green Ingersoll

November 1, 2011 at 1:57 p.m.
moon4kat said...

L4L: I don't know where you live, but most of us are inundated with religiosity. Repeatedly, upon meeting new people, I have been asked if I am "churched," and what church I go to. Frankly, that is no one else's business. But, there are a lot of people out there pushing their religion on other folk, including on vulnerable and unsuspecting children. It's a form of child abuse to mislead kids into believing that mythology trumps science.

November 1, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

Living4Life, I seriously doubt that it's that easy to get anything that actually represents a well thought out atheist position in the secular world you're referring to. Religion is a prominent thing in the South and that's undeniable in terms of just the culture and exposure to churches all across the region.

I'm quite interested in reaching for something beyond myself: friends, family, existential questions, philosophy, music, arts, and many other things.

Just because I happen to believe I don't live beyond my death doesn't mean I'm automatically an egotist and for you to think that suggests to me you don't really know much about atheism or secularism beyond talking points in a political or evangelical context of what they are supposed to be like from stereotypes.

November 2, 2011 at 4:22 a.m.
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