published Saturday, September 15th, 2012

'Past can reveal reasons for decline' and other letters to the editor

Past can reveal reasons for decline

The fool has said in his heart "there is no God ..." (Psalm 53:1). When you remove God from public life, prayer out of schools and Christ out of Christmas, then "absolutes" are gone, lines are blurred, values are situational, ethics are elusive, society is in decline, chaos prevails, anarchy reigns and destruction is inevitable.

In 1788, Edwin Gibbon completed his monumental work, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," in which he listed the following as several of the reasons for that fall:

The rapid increase of divorce. ... the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home -- the basis of human society.

Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.

The mad craze for pleasure.

The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy, the decadence of people, was within.

The decay of religion.

Are there lessons here for us in 2012? Wake up before destruction comes!

PAUL A. RITCH


Coupon sales benefit students

A letter (Sept. 11) questioned where the proceeds from the Kids First Coupon Book program actually go. I've coordinated my school's sale for nine years and can answer that.

We send the Fund for Excellence $3 for each book we've sold to cover expenses (incentives, for instance) and other programs the FFE supports.

The remaining $7 is deposited into a line item in the school's budget, which is thoroughly audited annually, to purchase essentials and "extras" not otherwise funded. Depending on the school's needs and resources, the proceeds might buy ink for printers or an interactive smartboard for a classroom, library books or playground equipment. It might supplement what parents can pay for field studies tied to classroom curriculum, enabling students to see the world outside their classroom.

But $14 million over 25 years, divided amongst the many schools in the system, doesn't go nearly far enough. I do know it doesn't go into anyone's pockets, though -- it goes into educating the children of Hamilton County.

Please buy a coupon book or two for yourselves, watch your savings pile up, and enjoy knowing you've helped a local elementary school provide a better learning experience for its students.

PATTY STREIP


What we need is honest reporting

The Supreme Court ruled on Stolen Valor. They indicated it conflicted with the First Amendment. So people can still masquerade as phony heroes.

There's a more important conflict with the First Amendment: TV talking heads and their colleagues masquerading as journalists. The Fourth Estate has First Amendment protection. However, they fail to understand their responsibilities to the First Amendment. The press was given protection of free speech to provide us with objective knowledge of our government and elected officials. They've failed miserably in this responsibility. I'm not talking about MSNBC or Fox News. We know their reporting is slanted. We watch them to reinforce what we already believe to be true.

I'm referring to CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and NPR. Can anyone honestly say what they report, how they report it and what they don't report is objective? Do you think the verbiage, syntax and facial expressions convey an objective reporting of the news?

Examples: the racist slant to the Tarvon Martin case, the intense vetting of Republican candidates while giving the president a pass, reporting white on black crime but not black on white. The list goes on.

Regardless of your political persuasion, you should want honest and objective reporting on your government and the world around you.

VIRGIL R. SPERRY, LaFayette, Ga.


Prophet brought peaceful religion

Upon hearing the news about the recent attack on the consulate in Libya that killed four American diplomatic personnel, I was deeply saddened. Once again, we all witness the senseless reaction to a senseless action.

No doubt, the film insulting the Muslim's Holy Prophet Muhammad hurt the many followers of Islam around the world. But nothing can justify a violent crime like the one that occurred in Libya. This horrific incident gives the world the wrong image about all Muslims, including the majority who live peaceful lives.

It is high time that we all realized how to respect each other's beliefs. Like the recent Sikh temple incident, what occurred in Libya is an example of lack of tolerance. There is not a religion in the world that teaches hatred. We need to start from our homes, teaching our children about the importance of accepting the beliefs of others.

As a Muslim, with all of the terrible incidents that are occurring in the name of Islam nowadays, I do not know which words to use to explain to the world that the religion that the Prophet Muhammad brought was peaceful. What the so-called "Islamic extremists" are doing is not Islam to any extent.

KHOLA HUMAYUN, Tunnel Hill, Ga.


Remove eyesore from the river

Regarding your story (Sept. 12) "Tourism chief calls for new infrastructure": I find it ironic that Bob Doak (and others) who claim to be so concerned about the promotion of Chattanooga's riverfront can't seem to figure out a way get rid of the hideous eyesore currently docked across from Ross's Landing. Alan Casey's barge has been a scab on Chattanooga's beautiful waterfront for three years and appears to be falling into further disrepair with each passing day.

I understand "management" of this issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, but can't somebody in city government please figure out a way to work with them to either get this project started, or better, get this ridiculous thing moved? It's my understanding the thing was never properly permitted, currently violates multiple Army Corps/TVA regulations, causes multiple problems for the adjacent property owner, and is still sinking.

I've got a friend who lives further down the river who built a small dock without a permit, and our "officials" found out within a single day of its completion and have spent more time giving him a hard time than they have to this giant, ugly barge.

MATT McLELLAND, Lookout Mountain


Obama abuses the Constitution

Washington is oblivious to the damage of federal programs; the $800 billion stimulus did nothing except reward Obama's voter base. President Obama swore to faithfully execute the nation's laws, now picks those he likes, and chooses executive order and fiat. He sees no need for Congress' approval or the upholding of our Constitution.

Obama's "buzz words" in 2008 were "hope and change." America got political spin, class warfare, subversion of the legislative branch, political payoffs to his special interest and voter groups, and $4 trillion more in national debt.

Americans will follow a leader who leads from the front; you can only earn leadership by telling the truth. It is not bestowed on you ... you must earn it.

JOHN K. ARNEY, Signal Mountain


Obama hasn't started the job

Bill Clinton says "Let Obama finish the job."

Come on, Bill, you can't finish a job you haven't started.

CHARLES ELSEA, Rossville


Re-elect president and lose liberty

Twenty-five years ago, we had Ronald Reagan, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope.

Today we have Obama, no cash and no hope.

If this president is re-elected, we will lose our liberty in less than four years.

His plans are very destructive.

The Democratic Convention was a circus as usual.

Its two main speakers -- Mr. Clinton's a felon -- and the other -- President Obama -- would be if he ran a private company the way he is running the U.S. government.

PIER MORGAN

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ToHoldNothing said...

PAUL A. RITCH

The use of the term fool, I hope you realize, is not the best translation for that verse. Wicked person or other such notions might be better, even though in the context of the Jewish religion, sin is considered the essence of folly. But one is not necessarily lacking in intelligence or the like, but, in the perspective of a monotheist, lacking in moral acumen. There are verses where fool is used to refer to someone lacking in perspective and foresight, thinking only of the immediate and not considering the consequences of their actions, but the original Hebrew made that distinction remotely clear, from what I understand.

Prayer is not completely out of schools, only prohibited from official favor or recognition. Students can pray as individuals as long as they are not disruptive or trying to infringe upon other students' basic rights. God is not removed from public life unless you consider the churches somehow not part of public life, which is preposterous. And Xmas was used as a shortening in ancient times as a shortening for the Greek word for Jesus alongside the Latin for for Mass. Not to mention X was used as shorthand for Christ before that in ancient Christian art. There's a symbol that uses the Greek symbols for the letters Chi and Rho, the first two letter in Christ, as a representation of the significance of the Christ in the religious culture. The more you know!

Rome's politics were, from what I understand, fairly different from our own, even if there are comparisons to be made between our system of governance and theirs, at least in a historical progression. Divorce law was likely different as well, since I don't think they had the concept of no fault divorce at least explicitly spelled out. Women were impoverished by a divorce much easier than they are today with legal matters usually settled beforehand.

Religion is not decaying, unless you mean slavish legalism, in which case, one might say it is a slight step in the direction of independence from dogma, but not if you fundamentally consider yourself a priest with no need for any medium between yourself and God, for this leads to abuse of spiritual caprice in declaring your interpretations by the "Holy Spirit" true and biblical when evidence may point out otherwise beyond your impulses.

September 15, 2012 at 12:51 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Paul Ritch, I would like for you to elaborate on exactly what some of those "absolutes" are that you and so many Christians are always talking about. Every law that has ever been formulated, every moral code that has ever been written or spoken, and every description that we have of God have all flowed from the mouth or the pen of humankind. You might like to think that God literally handed the Ten Commandments to Moses on a stone tablet but if indeed you think so, then I declare you to be tantamount to the "fool" that you refer to in Psalm 53:1. For it is a fool who allows himself to dwell in willful ignorance, unable to discern between obvious myth and historical reality.

Christians like to think that God himself (I refer to God as a male only because you Christians somehow have it in your heads that there is only a man-God and that woman had no hand in the creation of things) is absolute and perfect in his absolute-ness. But if so, then why did God sanction slavery, incest, polygamy, rape, misogyny, genocide, and infanticide in the Old Testament, but today Christians say such things are intolerable? Did God evolve from a heinous, merciless tyrant in the past and become more loving today? If so, then God himself is not absolute, or his laws and moral code are not absolute. "Situational ethics" indeed! And practiced by none other than your very own God.

So again, I ask....what exactly are these "absolutes" that you Christians seem to think so highly of?

September 15, 2012 at 2:58 a.m.
librul said...

The damnable tribal religious triad of xtianity, judaism and islam ARE the real Axis of Evil in the world - fomenting more human misery and horrific destruction than any other human influence. Do away with it all and what is left? Humans who would be forced to see and relate to other humans on that basis alone. People can work out differences when THEY are the only responsible parties. No need or justification for hating others because "my god is real and their god is an idol". What utter idiocy! No drive to foment world war and conflagration because "my holy book says Armageddon is nigh". What ignorance! No need to kill innocent people and burn government buildings because some mythical "prophet" was lampooned in a cartoon or a politically motivated propaganda film.

Religion was a political innovation, anyway. What easier way to consolidate power than to impose laws on simple, ignorant people supposedly mandated by some supernatural "wizard of Oz" who could not be seen or argued with - only feared.

The mistakes of humanity are legion, but the mistake of starting a competition among ethereal gods was the absolute worst and is the greatest threat to human survival on the face of Earth.

September 15, 2012 at 8:55 a.m.
LibDem said...

Strange how we lament Islamic theocracies while pining for a theocratic USA.

September 15, 2012 at 9:05 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

librul, following is one of the ways that Jesus Christ describes the 'religion' (actually relationship) of Christianity to come:

"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."

The greed and lusts of mankind unbridled brings about every kind of evil. We are human only! We need The Lord God of Hosts to guide us to a higher calling, to the Divine Light of Life.

kwo

September 15, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Could someone please elucidate the concept of islamic jihad? Also, how does islamic shariah law deal with known homosexuals? Someone sent the following information to my very good friend. i would like to believe that it is false. So far i don't find strong evidence for it being true:

September 15, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
librul said...

You go Yahweh, I'll go mine .....

September 15, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

librul,

That is too cool! Did You create that? I'm not at all stating it is wise to use the phrase, but, what creativity! kwo

September 15, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.
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