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SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2005
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Would-be Point Mallard developer hasn't given up

THE DECATUR DAILY:

"A small town is a place where everyone knows whose check is good and whose husband is not." — Sid Ascher

We continue to pursue the redevelopment of Point Mallard.

Doug Gooch

Decatur

Central Baptist needs to remain downtown

THE DECATUR DAILY:

Central Baptist Church was founded in 1892 by a group of well-rounded Christians. Members decided to build at Fourth Avenue and Grant Street. The name Central was chosen because it was between First Baptist and 16th Avenue Baptist, not Central to the community, as some would say.

Throughout the years, Central Baptist Church has grown as Decatur has grown. The church body owns almost the entire block between Fourth Avenue to Sixth Avenue and from Johnston to Grant Street. It also owns property between Johnston and Moulton streets.

God has blessed Central Baptist Church. It has led the Morgan County Association in donations for many years. Last year, Central Baptist raised more than $100,000 for the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for foreign missionaries. Likewise, it reaches out each year, building new Baptist churches here in the United States for Home Missions.

Today, some wish to relocate, just as other churches have done from the same downtown area. The 2000 U.S. Census reported Decatur's population at 50,926. Some feel Decatur is growing toward the southwest and Central Baptist should too — despite the last count of churches in that area, which is more than 20, and 12 of those are Baptist.

Where is the new location? To my knowledge, no land has been purchased at this time. To quote Dr. Vance Haviner, "If you don't have a place to go, it is a good sign you need to stay where you are."

Why have churches in the downtown area wanted to leave when there is a vital need for Christian ministry? Some believe that downtown Decatur has fallen into decay, with old, empty buildings harboring criminal activity. However, people traveled to Jesus Christ to hear the Word of God, so why must Central be different?

Phillip M. Chenault

Decatur

Alabamians give directly to poor, not government

THE DECATUR DAILY:

Of the editorials I have read in THE DAILY, the recent Christian-tax-shame-article "We Bible Belt residents hold on to our money" is surely the most unfair.

Much to the author's chagrin, I do not feel guilty because the state of Alabama has one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the United States. That the poor in Alabama pay more taxes than the poor in other states does not cause me to lose sleep. I rest easily at night aware of these facts because I know that Alabamians voluntarily share a relatively large portion of their wealth with the poor in the state through direct charitable giving. (See Alabama's No. 5 ranking in the Generosity Index published by the Catalogue for Philanthropy at www.catalogueforphilanthropy.org).

That Alabamians choose to personally direct their charitable giving as opposed to granting the state the power to tax and spend on their behalf does not make them hypocrites as the editorial implies. The author should realize that a Christian fulfills his duty to help the sick, the poor and the ignorant, which the Good Book says should be done with gladness, when he does so voluntarily and not by coercion.

Brandon Browning

Birmingham

Can't remember Bush ever telling the truth

THE DECATUR DAILY:

Guess what? President Bush has finally looked inside the Social Security vault and what did he find? Only $1.7 trillion in government bonds. Yet he says this is just a worthless pile of IOUs.

There are 867,601 Alabamians receiving Social Security benefits. This is estimated to be $7.9 billion per year and is approximately 19 percent of the state's population. If these bonds are just worthless junk, that means anyone else who holds government bonds has the same junk. I do not believe that countries like Germany, China, Japan and others who are our biggest creditors will appreciate hearing this. However, I remember this is the same man who told the country that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that his fix for Medicare would cost no more than $400 billion. Five months later, it is up to $876 billion and will not kick in until 2006. The thing I cannot remember is anything that President Bush has told us in four years that has turned out to be true.

President Franklin Roosevelt's legacy was a chicken in every pot. I guess President Bush's will be three people chasing every rabbit.

By their own admission, the Republicans have been trying to destroy Social Security since its birth. Who in his right mind would trust the Republicans to it when they have not been able to balance a budget in four straight years?

Now the state of Texas has one more thing to brag about: It is the only state to give us two presidents, one a Democrat and one a Republican, who were caught lying to the public while waging a war that divided a nation. If we were to change to Islam and chopped off hands for stealing and lying, Washington, D.C., would be known as the handless city.

Gordon D. Pigg

Addison

GOP has strange idea of Christian morals

THE DECATUR DAILY:

The state of Alabama is under the strange delusion that the Republican Party is the party of "Christian morals." This "moral" party is the same party that has recently approved President Bush's energy bill (also considered morally sound, I am sure), which opens up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling — drilling which will not provide oil for many years, and which will provide only a year's supply once it does.

This bill also has given those large, "moral" energy companies that desecrate God's land $12 billion in tax breaks. That's more than even our "fine, moral president" wanted. Meanwhile those "dirty, immoral Democrats" dared to propose adding measures to the bill that would reduce energy use, and they even had the audacity to propose requirements for higher automobile fuel economy! Thankfully, the Republicans, enlightened by the Word of God, defeated those proposals.

Thankfully, the Republican Party has also brought us their bankruptcy reform. I'm glad to know now that it is a moral duty to force people who have already gone into insurmountable debt into paying for credit counseling that they cannot afford, so their children and spouses can go hungry in the meantime. This bill that places bankruptcy filers into permanent debt with their debtors, instead of relieving them of it, has reminded me of the old Bible lesson, "If you are rich, take advantage of the poor." That's in there, right?

Finally, who could forget our great moral leader, Tom DeLay? So what if he cheated his constituents in Texas and that he is a leading supporter of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether, a gasoline additive company that is being sued for contaminating drinking water supplies? He is still a good, upstanding Christian.

If that's Christian morals (which it's not), then maybe I need a new faith.

Joe Webb

Decatur

Veterans need help with asbestos legislation

THE DECATUR DAILY: Veterans are stuck. Veterans who were exposed to asbestos while they were risking their lives fighting enemies and defending U.S. interests are not allowed to seek compensation from the government for their asbestos-related illnesses. In addition, most of the companies that supplied the asbestos to the U.S. government no longer exist. As veterans, all we're asking for is a fair shot at compensation for our colleagues with asbestos-related illnesses.

The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act — or FAIR Act — now making its way through the Senate is the only solution that will help vets. The medical criteria bill supported by some will do little, if anything, to provide assurance for veterans, because it leaves the asbestos compensation system in the courts.

Thankfully, the Senate is closing in on a solution. As a veteran, I urge Sen. Jeff Sessions, who sits on the Judiciary Committee that will soon consider the FAIR Act, to put the needs of sick veterans and other asbestos victims before the needs of special interests. Without the FAIR Act, thousands veterans may be left with nowhere to turn for compensation for their asbestos-related illness. We've come too far to let this opportunity pass. I urge both of our senators to vote "yes" when the FAIR Act comes to the Senate floor.

Jimmy Manley

Past state commander, Alabama Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Athens

Nutrition, fitness are wise investments

THE DECATUR DAILY:

Bravo to reporter Martin Burkey for alerting the public to the Decatur City Council's approval to spend $2,000 a month "to create programs to make couch potatoes healthier, seniors more flexible and athletes quicker."

What better investment in the quality of life for our youth and our seniors than sponsoring programs that enable them the opportunity to learn how to reap it!

Nutrition and fitness are two of the most important life factors within most people's control. Once those issues are addressed, the others fall into their proper place.

The bonus is a win/win situation for all because being active affects mental, physical and spiritual health, along with improved clarity of thinking, productivity, and an enhanced lifestyle and longevity.

Now if we can go "back to the future" by bringing back neighborhood schools, sidewalks and bike paths, that would also help enormously. Children could get additional daily exercise by walking or biking to school. It would eliminate the need for gas guzzling transport twice a day, and encourage more neighborliness.

Decatur's a great place to live, and it keeps getting better.

Gerry Coffey

Decatur

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