Accept gays as people first
Sunday's story, "Tempest in my soul," was heart wrenching. We have been wrong so many times in our history, discriminating against blacks, Jews and women, just to name a few. We even crucified our Lord. Haven't we learned anything?
Ask yourself: When did I choose to be a heterosexual? My bet would be you didn't "choose" it, you were born with that orientation. We may choose lifestyle, but we don't choose sexual preference.
I am hopeful we will come to accept our homosexual brothers and sisters with the same rights and responsibilities given to heterosexuals, especially in our churches. I am hopeful because I see many young people who have accepted their friends who have come out of the closet, and they relate to their gay friends as people first.
Matt Nevels served on a committee with me several years ago. My guess is that he would not remember me. But I certainly remember him. I did not know his hurt, but I have not forgotten him because of his kindness, wisdom, gentleness and joy. And yet, how could this be with the trials he was facing? What an awesome testimony to God's ever power, presence, love and healing grace.
MARY DeSHAZO RICE, Hixson
Fleischmann, team are shameful
The Chris Carroll article (June 23) about Chuck Fleischmann's campaign was pretty shocking but proved some things that most of us knew two years ago.
First, getting someone's personnel file from the Tennessee Republican Party to falsely claim "lavish bonuses" were paid shows me two things: The TNGOP is corrupt in allowing a personnel file out of their care to be used in a GOP primary. Just because something is said on TV by a preacher-politician doesn't make it true. Right, Mr. Huckabee?
If that isn't enough, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's campaign director, Chip Saltsman, admits he used the official seal of Tennessee to create the belief there was a state audit that never occurred; another lie created for a TV image that went unchallenged.
We were told over and over again, "I'm Chuck Fleischmann, and I approve this message," when he now admits he's not observing federal requirements.
For this small-business man-attorney to knowingly lie while he claims he wants to serve the public shows that he and his supporters are happy to skirt the rules, blur the lines and downright lie.
Chuck Fleischmann and his "team" are all shameful.
Remarks about Steelman belittling
I felt Ms. Garrett stepped out of line in her low-key derogatory remarks against Dr. Fred Steelman. Dr. Steelman has been and continues to be a highly respected man along the same lines of Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, etc. I felt Ms. Garrett was trying to embarrass, humiliate and make Dr. Steelman look like the "bad guy" because of his rightful, biblical stand against homosexuality.
I applaud Dr. Steelman's stand. I wish there were more with the same courage he has shown. Until you've walked in a pastor's shoes, and had to make controversial decisions, you can never know the pain he feels.
If Dr. Steelman had compromised his true convictions and avoided biblical passages condemning homosexuality, and allowed Matt to have free rein in his eulogy of other gay friends, you can rest assured Red Bank Baptist Church would have lost more families than the Nevels family.
To the Nevels family, I am sad for your loss and understand it was nothing you did to cause this situation; however, you cannot expect God to change His word to fit your present emotions.
I hope the new pastor from Louisiana has the same convictions and boldness Dr. Steelman has shown in his many years of leadership.
REV. RONALD B. CASE, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, South Pittsburg, Tenn