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SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2006
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Decatur must focus on high-tech sector
THE DECATUR DAILY:

Eric Fleischauer's Dec. 25 article concerning Decatur's failure to capitalize on MSFC job opportunities should serve as a guideline for those who influence the shape of Decatur's economy. Years ago, we chose heavy manufacturing and chemical industries. Now those jobs move overseas. But the high-tech sector, although itself under siege from overseas programmers, remains strong in this country, and Huntsville is a significant high-tech center. The base realignment will bring even more technical expertise to the area.

What to do? First, remind these folks why they should live here. I've made the 15-minute drive to Intergraph for 27 years, with infinitely less stress than commuters from Huntsville. Decatur should emphasize ease of travel to Marshall and to Madison. Advertise our significantly lower cost of housing. Make choices favoring education, both in quality and the kinds of courses offered. High-tech parents naturally want great science and math courses for their children and we should always seek to improve them. But those parents will also desire arts, music, drama, etc. Decatur's International Baccalaureate Program, which requires uniform standards recognized worldwide, is an example of this emphasis. Decatur High School's choral department is award-winning, as is Austin's band. A recent suggestion that Calhoun and Decatur combine to create a performing arts center should be vigorously pursued.

As we aggressively compete for people to live here, we should actively develop ways for them to locate their businesses here. Mallard Fox targets heavy industries, but Decatur needs a Research Park focusing on offices and networking. This is the lure for tech-oriented businesses.

We must advertise existing strengths and reinvent ourselves where we are less so. There's no easy future, but choices made now can mean the difference between a prosperous future versus the frightening prospect of empty factories, empty stores and empty lives.

Chuck Puckett

Decatur

Moore is more than 'Ten Commandments Judge'
THE DECATUR DAILY:

In the Dec. 14 editorial about Judge Roy Moore, THE DAILY stated, "Mr. Moore built his candidacy entirely on defying the constitutional ban on mixing church and state." That statement is deceptive and misleading. We welcome all comments about Judge Moore's candidacy, but THE DAILY seems to have a bias against Judge Moore.

As proof of that, Judge Moore has a printed platform on which he is building his candidacy for governor of Alabama. Judge Moore's platform, "Return Alabama to the People," is a five-plank platform that concentrates on the obvious needs of this state. It is, in fact, a signed commitment by Judge Moore to the people of Alabama that, when elected governor, he will work tirelessly to bring about the changes "Return Alabama" calls for. That doesn't even come close to the characterization of his candidacy that you described in the editorial.

To link, as your assumption does, Judge Moore's proud past of upholding the right of ordinary citizens to acknowledge God in public, as the entire reason for his candidacy, is an obvious bias. His candidacy for governor is built on his vision for Alabama and her future. I suggest you read his platform. It can be found at www.judgeroymoore.net.

J. Holland

Communications Director

Judge Roy Moore for Governor

Montgomery

Some Christians lose sight of commission
THE DECATUR DAILY:

The uproar over "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays" is the latest misguided attempt by many Christians to "defend our turf." Other examples include the battles over "prayer in the schools," the Ten Commandments in the courtroom and media images of Christians.

Meanwhile, Jesus just looks on and shakes his head. For people outside the faith will never take Christianity seriously as long as they can see most Christians act like children fighting to keep somebody from taking our candy. Therefore, we will be unable to fulfill our Great Commission of making disciples of all peoples, as we make a mockery of the very faith we claim to be defending.

Jesus never commissioned his followers to be his defenders. In fact, when his first followers tried just that (just before they all abandoned him), he stopped them and said that all who live by the sword die by the sword (Matthew 26:51-52). His commission instead was to spread the Good News (Gospel) of the love, joy, peace, hope, healing and salvation he had come to bring, and to join him in the task of setting all people free from everything that binds them in body or spirit.

Christianity is not about defending our turf. In fact, Christianity was born, and has flourished best, in a hostile environment. Instead of defending anything, we are called to extend the blessing we have been given. The world needs to know that ours is a positive message of hope, rather than just more of its own negativity. So, before getting all in a flitter about whether or not the secular world gives us what we arrogantly believe to be our due, let us remember our God-given mission: to seek and to save (not to react and rage). Merry Christmas to all!

Rev. Gene Lankford

Pastor, Collinsville First United Methodist Church

Collinsville

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