published Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Editorial misses mark and other letters to the editors

Editorial misses mark

Faith Police? The (Times) editorial writer herself is the one actually policing “faith” here. This church showed the “pinnacle of hypocrisy”? Seems to me (we don’t know all the details, do we?) that this church was doing just the opposite, i.e., trying to live out what they believe regarding homosexual behavior.

“West Wing”? Really? Using dialogue from a TV show as her best argument, which seems to be that the Leviticus passage has no relevancy to today? Is that all she has? Does she not know what the New Testament teaches regarding this issue?

Lastly and most importantly, true love includes truth-telling; grace and truth must go together for true love to be shown, and is challenging for us humans to apply. The “lack of mercy” so decried by the author is just as evident in her own response to this church’s crisis as it is to her judgment regarding the incident.

Perhaps before chiding others for their lack of grace she should first examine her own.


Pastor’s God must be different

Linda Cooper is our sister-in-law and has been for 40 years. Is she a perfect person?

Of course not. Is she a good mother, wife and person?

Absolutely. Was she a faithful and passionate member of the Ridgedale Church of Christ for 60 years? Without a doubt.

So it is understandable that she is very distraught over the ultimatum given her by Ken Willis, pastor of Ridgedale Church of Christ, to either

denounce her relationship with her daughter to the congregation or leave the church. She loves and supports her family. So, the decision was an obvious one.

There will never be any way that we can ever understand the reasoning behind Willis’ decision to pass this kind of judgment.

But what we do understand, from his actions, is that there are obviously different Gods for different churches. His is different than ours.

Mr. Willis, good luck with your God.


Shouldn’t recusals work both ways?

Councilman Larry Grohn questions whether gay Councilman Chris Anderson should recuse himself from voting on proposed legislation to give benefits to same-sex spouses and partners of city employees. How many heterosexual council members recused themselves from voting on the original legislation providing benefits to spouses of city employees?

GREG GLOSS, Cleveland, Tenn.

Crane hunters don’t use level field

In the recent article about the Sandhill Crane hunt that was approved by the state legislature, Dan Hicks, spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, was quoted as saying, “But it’s not all for sport, (Hicks said) .... They taste very similar to a beef product. People have called them ‘sirloin in the sky’.” Merriman Webster’s definition of sport is: n. any recreational activity, specifically a game or competition, etc, requiring

bodily exertion. I might add that the “competition” is typically agreed upon by both parties. What sport is it when the animal being hunted is influenced by the hunter providing habitat and requisite food? It might make it a more equal playing field if Sandhill Cranes were taught how to shoot guns! But let’s be serious — the only thing harder than teaching a Crane how to shoot a shotgun would be trying to teach ethics to the TWRA.


King would have expanded causes

This week’s 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington is being observed with marches, speeches, and speculation on what causes Dr. King would embrace today. He would certainly continue to work for racial equality. But he would also likely advocate for a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan, workers’ rights, gay rights and animal rights.

Yes, animal rights.

Although he is best known for advocacy of racial equality, Dr. King opposed all violence, like the Vietnam War. And there is no greater violence than

that perpetrated each day against billions of cows, pigs and other sentient animals in America’s factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The day before his assassination in 1968, Dr. King came to Memphis to champion the most oppressed human beings in America — African-American sanitation workers.

Today, it would also be about the most oppressed living beings in America — animals raised for food, experiments and entertainment.

Although Dr. King never lived long enough to extend his circle of compassion, justice and nonviolence to non-human animals, his wife, Coretta Scott King, and his son, Dexter Scott King, did by embracing the vegan lifestyle.

A great way for us to honor the King legacy is to follow their lead.


Alexander doing the right thing

Lamar Alexander was a two-term governor of Tennessee, the education secretary, and one of two senators who has represented Tennessee since 2003. He and

Sen. Corker are co-sponsoring the Wilderness Act of 2013, which protects more of the resources of the Cherokee National Forest.

I met him after his performance with the Knoxville Symphony to celebrate the 75 the anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

While I shook his hand, I told him how much I appreciated his efforts to help our park and keep our air and water clean. His response was, “it’s the right thing to do.”

I wrote letters thanking him for his stand on mercury pollution under George Bush.

Now, he is targeted by the extreme right, especially the tea party, who think he should be voting more like they do. They claim he is too “bipartisan and compromising” to represent the people of Tennessee.

Those who attack him should understand that the partisanship they create is exactly what is wrong with our country. We need more compromise, not less, as they impose.

I would like to thank Sen. Alexander again for his efforts and pray he is able to continue to “do the right thing.”


Read the Bible for understanding

I have a few observations about the controversy over homosexuals and the Bible, the church and your articles on the subject. In the entire Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, there is not one chapter or verse that condones homosexual behavior, much less homosexual marriage.

In the Bible, marriage is always between a man and a woman, and marriage is held in such high regard that it is the symbolism of the union of Christ and the Church. If the Church accepted what is popular and cultural and rejected the Word of God, it would not be the Church.

Also, the reference to the TV show “The West Wing”... surely you are not getting your theology from TV! That would be amusing if it weren’t so sad. The 66 books of the Bible cannot be explained in 200 words or less. To understand the Bible you need to read it, and understand how and why it was written, not just try to get it to affirm your preconceived notions.

SARA PANKAU, Ringgold, Ga.

Learn lessons from United States

In the Middle East it would seem that some of the “democracies” established over the last several years are less than desired. The United States government was built on a Constitution resulting from the needs of the various states.

The U.S. should recommend to developing nations that they take some years to develop and solidify local governments fashioned after our proven and

tested Constitution before attempting establishing a national government to represent the local political subdivisions.

In the United States when the national government takes too much central control, we see our leadership going back to the states for ideas. The most

workable governmental services are successfully begun at a state level first.

What happened in Egypt resulted in a predictable “Mob Vote/Rule.”

PAUL K. ANDERSON, Rocky Face, Ga.

God can help uproot bitterness

Yes, the truth was told in “The Butler,” and the truth hurts. Leonard Pitts Jr.’s commentary in Sunday’s Aug. 25 paper tells it like it is. What is needed is divine forgiveness. Because God sent His only begotten Son into this world to tell us how to be forgiven for our sins, we can ask to be forgiven and know God has forgiven us.

Once forgiven, we can get on with our lives.

I am willing to ask God to make me willing to not be bitter toward people who have hurt me. God can take care of uprooting bitterness.

Freedom from bitterness lets us get on with our lives and become productive.


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The word Wife written in the Hebrew of the Holy Bible. It means: 'ishshah = ishג€¢sh' = 1) woman, wife, female a) woman (opposite of man) b) wife (woman married to a man) c) female (of animals) d) each, every (pronoun) Hey, it's a 'feminine noun'.

Now for HUSBAND in Hebrew:

'iysh, = 1) man a) man, male (in contrast to woman, female) b) husband c) human being, person (in contrast to God) d) servant e) mankind f) champion g) great man 2) whosoever 3) each (adjective) Hey, it's a masculine noun. Any questions? kwo

gyn<<Do You know what this is? It is the word 'Wife' written in the 'Biblical Greek' language of the Holy Bible. It means: 1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow 2) a wife 3) of a betrothed woman Hey, it's a 'feminine noun'.

Now for 'HUSBAND' in Biblical Greek:

an“r = 1) with reference to sex (gender) a) of a male b) of a husband c) of a betrothed or future husband 2) with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy 3) any male 4) used generically of a group of both men and women (as in 'mankind', etc.)

Hey, it's a masculine noun. Any questions? kwo

September 1, 2013 at 4:49 a.m.

The law of the state of Tennessee is that marriage is between a (as in one) man and a (as in one) woman.

The two Seventh Day Adventist Collegedale City Commissioners may, or, may not know of this fact. They voted to give two women, who some say are homosexual lesbians), benefits that can only lawfully (within the state of Tennessee) go to a 'legitimate' (meaning legitimate under Tennessee law)marriage.

Regarding: Obey the law of the land

Romans 13: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are * ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are Godג€™s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

September 1, 2013 at 4:56 a.m.


@@Excerpt from The Council of the General Conference Executive Committee@@

"Seventh day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare:.. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev 18:5-23, 26; Lev 20:7 21; Rom 1:24 27; 1 Cor 6:9 11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent:.., "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh." (Saint Matthew 19:4- 6, KJV)...Seventh day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. For these reasons Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships."

September 1, 2013 at 4:58 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Also, the reference to the TV show 'The West Wing'... surely you are not getting your theology from TV! That would be amusing if it weren’t so sad." - Sara Pankau

Surely you are not getting your theology from a 2000 year-old book in which the people of that time thought that God was a male sky daddy who zapped the world and all its life forms into existence like some kind of wizard! That would be amusing if it weren't so sad.

Personally I never got into "West Wing" enough to know whether there were any morality lessons to be learned from it, but there really are some good TV shows and movies with some very powerful and uplifting moral messages. One could learn more about decent and ethical behavior from practically any episode of the old Andy Griffith show, for instance, than from your absurd, sanctimonious book of commandments of how NOT to live, from your book that focuses so much of its content on a God of wrath and vengeance and his long list of punishable sins. There is even more morality in "South Park" today than is contained within the bulk of your Bible. You Christians cannot wrap your mind around that, though, because you are so prudish about the obscenity and the focus on sex, but the creators of that show are not afraid of exposing the unvarnished truth, and truth is itself morality.

Indeed, there are some jewels of wisdom contained within the Bible but they are few and far between. It could be condensed down to one very small booklet in which the positive and uplifting messages would be conveyed and it might then be considered a book worth reading.

September 1, 2013 at 9:54 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

RACHEL DFCOSIMO, maybe you Christians are incapable of feeling "forgiven" without your mythical savior and perhaps you are incapable of letting go of bitterness without your mythical God's help, but I feel entirely free and forgiven without a "savior" having to shed his blood and I am perfectly capable of recognizing how negative and destructive bitterness can be and then letting go of that bitterness at my discretion. Freedom from mythical gods and saviors lets us get on with our lives and become productive.

September 1, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.


'Food for Thought': Out of approximately 9,000 universities around the world, there are probably 'ZERO' which were begun by atheists! Approximately the same goes for hospitals and charities. Please don't name was begun by a Minister of The Gospel of Jesus Christ back when Baptists and Methodists were difficult to tell apart. Atheists are not even a 'blip' on the radar screen when it comes to charitable giving. WHY? WHY? WHY?

September 1, 2013 at 3:12 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Just what is the population of atheists in this country, Ken Orr? What did the censuses tell us about the percent of atheists in this country over the last two hundred years? Many charitable organizations and hospitals are not religious in origin. The term is "secular", not atheist.

Finally, why does this matter anyway? Religious people don't have a monopoly on charity, kindness, giving, patriotism, or anything else. People in this country have accomplished many things separate from religion. Some of them may or may not have also been believers.

September 1, 2013 at 4:41 p.m.

Yes, language can be...even, 'dangerous, very deceptive, as in, lies. Let's just say very few Anti-Christs have ever done anything of a truly loving nature. The colossal dismal failure of the old Soviet Union is one of the greatest examples of so-called beneficence of a 'Jesus Christless' society. Call it atheist, secular, Jesus Christless (Copyright), Godless (not really, though, as in some worship the moon god). Does anyone think there is any legitimate comparison to be made between He who IS LOVE and the 'secular'? Just a few observations...kwo

September 1, 2013 at 10:33 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Secular is not atheist. Many believers prefer that religion and other things, such as government, remain separate. The presence of religion does not always translate into good. The separation of religion does not always yield evil. There are many, many charities, schools, universities and hospitals that are secular. That is not the same thing as atheist. Just because things that are not your flavor of Christian doesn't make them atheist. Other religions also do good works, including, yes, Islam.

Not everyone feels inclined to include religion in every aspect of their lives like you do, Ken. That does not make them atheists. And even if some are atheists, that does not make them less charitable, less kind, or less honorable.

September 2, 2013 at 7:45 a.m.

Wow, I did have to say to myself 'selah' regarding Your 7:45 a.m. comment. It stopped me in my tracks. I don't want 'anyone' eternally hurt (according to my beliefs), and I certainly do go overboard with it sometimes. lkeithlu, when You know that You know that You know that You really do love ALL people...You just do not want any of them to be hurt...kwo

September 2, 2013 at 8:12 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Wanting to make sure you stick to facts and maintain perspective, Ken. You are cannot effectively evangelize if you come across as deranged or dishonest. Not that your evangelizing will work on me; I will not be changing my beliefs based on website posts. But I am offended when people equate atheism with evil, liberalism with lack of patriotism, and unbelief with dishonesty. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will in exchange not equate fundamentalism with insanity, conservatism with lack of empathy, and religion with delusion.

September 2, 2013 at 8:26 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"when You know that You know that You know that You really do love ALL people...You just do not want any of them to be hurt"...kwo

It's really creepy to hear you and other Bible thumping yahoos spouting BS like that. I know that you really do believe that you love homosexuals or other "sinners" in general, but it is the same kind of twisted "love" that an abuser shows to his mate while slapping her upside the head. Most of those "good" Christians who burned all of those so-called witches at the stake in times past claimed they "loved" them, too, as they set the fires beneath their feet. They honestly believed they were setting them free from the evil spirits that possessed them. Thank god there are laws today to protect the public from sickos like you but you still go as far as the law will allow in excommunicating and otherwise denigrating and demeaning homosexuals in any way you can. And instead of being God's personal executioners you leave it to your "loving" God in the afterlife to punish the gays for all eternity in the fiery bowels of hell. Yeah, that is real love.

Enough already with your "I hate the sin but love the sinner" garbage. Who appointed you the monitor of sin anyway? You might claim to be washed in the blood and saved by grace but you still need to worry about your own relationship to your God more so than that of others. You, sir, are a self-righteous egotistical blowhard with a particular obsession for homosexuality that is as insane as it is childish. Grow up. Get help. Get your head out of that friggin' crazy Bible.

September 2, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Good post, lkeithlu. But I totally disagree with what you say about fundamentalists. Anybody with a mind so simple or dense or willfully ignorant as to reject even the the most basic findings of science and believe in the childish nonsense of creationism, a sado-masochistic sky daddy who monitors our every move, and the many other tales in the Bible that any halfway intelligent adult should easily see as the obvious myths that they are....well, that is just plain nuts.

September 2, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

I'd be inclined to agree, Rickaroo, except that I know people who are fundamentalists who are otherwise measured, logical people. They've been programmed since birth to accept the nonsense; had they born into different circumstances they would be just the same as you and I. (Hence I consider fundamentalist church as a form of child abuse)

September 2, 2013 at 11:47 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

I likewise know many fundamentalists. In fact I come from a long line of them - on both my Mom's and Dad's side of the family. Yes, it is true that they all utilize their logical, reasoning minds in every other facet of their lives, and in many ways they are otherwise intelligent people. But when it comes to their religion, they just shut down their minds completely and turn to blind faith. It's as if they have a separate compartment in their brain locked away where reason cannot, dare not, tread. It creates a schism in the mind whereby they perceive and define reality in two completely different and antithetical ways. It's like having multiple, or at least dual, personalities. Hence, I see it as a form of insanity. They are able to function in society but only because we give them a pass in the name of religion. Fortunately they can't pose a threat to anyone physically without incurring serious penalties for their anti-social behavior, but they manage to do enough harm as it is, in the way that they have infiltrated the Republican Party and are forcing their wacko religious agenda in some very subtle, or not so subtle, ways.

Whether fundamentalism is insanity or merely irrational behavior, it is a scourge nonetheless. I especially detest the way that kids are still being brainwashed with it. The Bible thumpers are churning out more of their zombie clones to preach their garbage to their own kids. And on and on it goes.

September 2, 2013 at 12:51 p.m.

Disaffected fundamentalists make for the most strident atheists. Shame on fundamentalists for producing them.

September 3, 2013 at 7:55 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

If we atheists are "strident" it's only because we feel compelled to speak out as forcefully as the Bible thumpers in order to be heard. The things they say are oftentimes so ludicrous, injurious, and appalling that we can't help coming across as "strident" in our visceral responses to what they say. I think it is wrong to remain silent in the face of their lunatic comments and actions.

Personally I never describe myself as an atheist unless someone asks me specifically about my religion, or some holy roller approaches me in some attempt to "save" me. As for the Christians who do not proselytize or go around pointing out other people's "sins" I have no beef with them and I never say a word against them. I fully respect them for focusing on simply spreading the love without judgment or condemnation of others. The trouble with the Bible thumpers is that they not only do not respect anyone whose beliefs are different than theirs, they actively engage in their campaigns to denounce them and call them out as lost souls, "sinners" who are bound for hell. Sorry, but that kind of insanity and disrespect needs to be stood up to. And if that is "strident," well, so be it.

September 3, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

Rickaroo I think your stridency is probably not your fault. I honestly think that you were raised and SEVERELY abused by a whole family of those you refer to as Bible thumpers. Having had quite a lot of training in psychology at UT leads me to the conclusion that this abuse was from overly religious possibly to the point of being fanatic parents. I think the abuse was physical AND VERY PAINFUL, and most likely committed to the accompaniment of what I call the "more in sorrow than in anger" routine. All of the symptoms I see in your writing point to this and I would suggest that you get help immediately. I feel it has been way too long delayed, and because of this, it may not be very effective in curing the damage. Your assertion that this "insanity" must be stood up to indicates that you feel guilt because of not being ABLE to "stand up to it" during your formative years and that guilt is coming out now in your constant references to "Bible thumpers." Your transference of what you feel to be their "insanity" to all Christians is another indicator of your reaction to the abuse I believe you went through. You do not even attempt to differentiate "Bible thumpers" from other Christians except to the extent of more or less considering some to be "safe" Christians because they limit their comments about the evil and immoral acts they see others committing. To you they have become one and the same. I am sure that you will vehemently deny that any of this is true or that any of it took place, but to one who has even minimum training, it is obvious that your attitude was not arrived at by a logical thinking process. It is sad that this has happened, and I feel sorry for you. And I do wish this could be ameliorated, but I don't believe what has been done to you can be undone.

September 14, 2013 at 4 p.m.
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