News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Justices, ACLU interpretation wrong

Many Americans, including the courts, are conflicted by the Constitutional (plain English) meaning of separation of church and state. The First Amendment plainly states that Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

Most Democrats, the ACLU, and the majority of the Supreme Court justices seem to think the First Amendment says, "Congress, states, local governments and Wal-Mart shall make no law or have any policy that has a religious connotation unless it promotes and adheres to the likes and dislikes of Islam and the ACLU atheists." In other words, it guarantees freedom "from," not "of," religion for all Protestants, Catholics and Jews unless it promotes Islam and ACLU secularism.

Someone recently pointed out that anyone who has successfully completed ninth grade civics would recognize that the "separation clause" is found in Article VIII of the Constitution. Article VIII also is the proscription for the National Tooth Fairy and succession of the National Easter Bunny to the presidency following the NASA secretary.

Oh, pardonne moi, strike that. There is no Article VIII, no National Tooth Fairy, no National Easter Bunny, no Cabinet-level Secretary of NASA, and no separation clause in our Constitution. Our Constitution is a wonderful document. We the people, the Supreme Court justices and other judges should read it occasionally.

Edwin R. Hyatt


Bible class sounds good to liberal Yankee

In your editorial "Democrats wouldn't dare use religion for politics" you say that Democrats usually oppose "issues that mix religion and government" and therefore "it's difficult to imagine Democrats being serious about" a bill that would allow a course called "The Bible as Literature" as an elective for high school students.

Well, as a Democrat, and moreover a firm believer in Jefferson's wall between church and state, and furthermore a Northern liberal, I think that course, especially if it uses the King James Bible, is a great idea. Much of the great literature in the English language — and the great speeches in politics, I might add, as well as sermons — relies on this book's concepts and quotations, parallels and cadences. These days, college students often lack KJV exposure through lack of any Bible knowledge, through study of a highly accurate modern translation that is ungainly and tin-eared (try to get some comfort from a recent rendering of Psalm 23, if you don't believe me), or, according to what I see on TV, through Bible exposure pretty much limited to the prohibitions in KJV Leviticus.

Do let me know how this turns out. I might suggest that Pennsylvania adopt a similar measure if our Legislature ever gets done saving my marriage from terrorists, or whatever it is they're fussing about.

Joy Matkowski

Enola, Penn.

Christian man resents fruits of alcohol sales

I am a 60-year-old male who has lived in and around Decatur all my life. I am a Christian.

The longer I live and the closer I walk with my Lord, the more I hate sin. I am so proud of how our city has progressed since we decided to become a "wet" city. I am so proud of our city as THE DAILY reports the disgusting acts of the patrons of our wonderful honky-tonks and clubs. It is so wonderful to have places we can go, and get drunk and cut and fight and shoot each other. That just seems like so much fun.

It still disgusts me to see beer trucks parked at our convenience stores. I was just thinking: Those rascals burning those churches down South are, I think, after the wrong crowd!

Ted Hogan


Vets deserve priority on asbestos exposure

The Senate is considering a vital bill for veterans — the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act.

As veterans return home injured from the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, we are reminded of our country's duty to provide for their care and needs.

Unfortunately, Congress's record on providing care for veterans is blemished by a failure to compensate older veterans — many who served in World War II — for their exposure to asbestos while serving in the military. This harmful material is known for causing debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases.

The FAIR Act would remedy this blight and provide relief for these sick veterans by establishing a privately funded trust for all asbestos victims. Because veterans are unable to sue the federal government (which was their employer at the time of the exposure), this would mark the first time veterans would be able to easily receive compensation. The FAIR Act would also put an end to the broken asbestos litigation system.

I ask both Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby to vote for the FAIR Act and provide relief to veterans suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

Jimmy Manley

Alabama Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars


Officials entertaining, but flap won't last

I have been reading about the Morgan County Commission and the sheriff, as has everyone else within a several-mile radius.

I grew up in the 1950s and some of my favorite comedians were the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. I think it's really nice they have made a comeback and just think of all the young people coming up today: They get to enjoy them, too.

Our young people are smart and they have their own way of expressing themselves in a different lingo, like: whittle, fiddle, diddle, piddle, riddle and doofus. They would want you to pick your own doofus.

I think we should enjoy the show as long as we can, because their show will close at election time and we don't want to miss any of it, now do we?

Jerry Harrison


Judges right to jail deadbeat parents

I have been reading with great interest the controversy surrounding the Morgan County Jail. I am not a criminologist and I really do not have any kind of great insight on the matter, but there is one comment I keep hearing that bothers me.

A couple of different times in DAILY articles, it has been mentioned that there are individuals in jail for minor offenses such as non-payment of child support. You have got to be kidding. Supporting children should be a parent's reason for waking up in the morning. Individuals incarcerated for non-payment of child support are not pulled off the assembly line and thrown in jail. These are individuals who refuse for some sick reason or another to get up and go work.

As a single parent, I could be arrested for neglect if I did not provide for my children or did not feed them. Is that minor? It is not. That would be criminal.

If parents refuse to go work and take care of a child they created, they should be jailed — no matter how much it costs. Morgan County judges do everything they can to work with parents who owe money and work. They garnish wages and everybody wins.

For those who will not work, jail is the only option.

Billy Pike


Clinton left Bush mess; Democrats do nothing

Lately, one of the political jabs is that "Bush is the worst president ever." This idea is laughable, considering Bill Clinton was our last president.

To give President Clinton some credit, he was fortunate enough to preside during an economic expansion. Unfortunately good things must come to an end, and the end is what President Bush was handed. Starting in the summer of 2000 we saw a general decline in the overall stock market, which was later worsened by the collapse of the stocks in companies without revenue or holdings. And don't forget the corporate scandals. Enron, Worldcom, HealthSouth and others were committing their frauds under Mr. Clinton.

Sept. 11 was devastating as well. Mr. Clinton left President Bush Osama bin Laden, who after attacking the twin towers in 1993, was completely free to develop his ultimate plan and finish the job. The planning and much of the surveillance for the attack was done under Mr. Clinton's watch.

Mr. Clinton left President Bush an Iraq which had kicked out the U.N. inspectors in 1998 and was shooting at our aircraft enforcing the U.N. no-fly zones everyday. Iraq was a WMD intelligence vacuum.

Mr. Clinton left President Bush with a failed North Korea nuclear agreement.

Mr. Clinton lied under oath in a civil case and was only the second president to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

I contend that Mr. Bush is the president during the worst minority party behavior ever. Democrats contribute no ideas and only try to attack, often with the strategy that if you repeat a frivolous or trivial charge often enough it will somehow become a reality. If Democrats would get as fighting mad against our enemies in the war on terror as they do fighting Mr. Bush, we would all be better off.

Michael Waugh


Dispose of tattered American flags

I recently bought a motorcycle and enjoy driving around Decatur on sunny days and admiring the scenery I overlooked when traveling by automobile.

One thing I have noticed is the large number of ripped and torn flags being flown around the city. After Sept. 11, many of us began to display our flags, and it was an inspirational sight. But when a flag is torn and tattered, it should be replaced. If a person can't afford to have it replaced, the flag should still be taken down. It shows a lack of respect for the values of that flag and nation when businesses and individuals don't take the initiative to recognize and resolve this problem before others do.

United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1, tells us that "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."

Your local VFW Chapter, Elks Lodge, American Legion or Knights of Columbus can be contacted for assistance in properly and respectfully disposing of a worn out flag.

Cameron Reeder


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