News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Secretary doesn't speak for church


THE DAILY reported that the general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the Rev. Jim Winkler, had made several negative and intemperate statements about President Bush and his conduct of the war in Iraq. This (Winkler's statements, not your reporting) has been upsetting to many of my parishioners.

Mr. Winkler does not speak for the United Methodist Church. No one can, except the General Conference. The general secretary of the Board of Church and Society is given the task of interpreting the actions that are taken at General Conference. The Board of Church and Society is a part of our denomination, but between General Conferences, there are no checks and balances on this board. There is nothing we can do except to respectfully disagree and ask that board members, who are elected and selected in a complicated process, ask him to accurately interpret the actions and statements of the whole church.

If Mr. Winkler had used the whole context of our statement on war in the United Methodist Social Principles, he would have also quoted, "When peaceful alternatives have failed, the force of arms may be preferable to unchecked aggression, tyranny and genocide."

On June 3, our North Alabama Conference met and considered actions on the war in Iraq. Through the representatives from the churches and pastors, we voted to make the statement that we continue our efforts in Iraq until the mission is accomplished.

The speeches on the floor of the conference made the point that, though no one likes war, we believe in the mission to bring justice and freedom to Iraq and believe that we need to complete it. The speeches and the resolution were also sending the message that we support our men and women in military service.

Rev. Robert Sparkman

First United Methodist Church of Hartselle


Apply for grant to build school


Hartselle is now in a quandary whether to raise property taxes to build a high school. The tax increase issue has been before the voters on several occasions and voted down each time. The elected or appointed entities of Hartselle, as a majority, support this tax issue. They want a new school. As a taxpayer, I have several problems with it.

I have never in my life heard of any municipality that I lived in vote to remove a tax after its goal was achieved. As the time allowed was to expire, suddenly there was an additional issue that popped up, every time, that extended the length of the taxes.

Last year the "RINO" (Republican in Name Only) Gov. Bob Riley visited Hartselle. He was overheard saying that our school system was top of the line and he would like to "clone" it for other schools in Alabama. Instead of taxing the people of Hartselle, like the "RINO" does with his annual property reappraisals, why don't the supporters apply for a grant to build a new school? Hold Gov. Riley's feet to the fire on this.

If the state of Alabama has a big surplus like it claims, it will grow each year because our property taxes will rise yearly. Hartselle receives grants to replace awnings on private businesses, purchase land and build hangars at airports and widen roads, just to name a few. Apply for a grant to build a school.

Mike Dowdy


Animal abusers eventually are human abusers


Hopefully Garland Edward Treadway, the man accused of neglecting several horses found on his property, will be punished to the fullest if convicted ("Horse owner arrested for alleged animal cruelty," June 14).

Cruelty to animals, including negligence, is a serious issue. Repeat crimes are the rule among animal abusers, so it is vital that those found guilty of it are properly punished. Mental health professionals and top law-enforcement officials consider cruelty to animals to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies crimes against animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of these crimes in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. Experts agree that it is the severity of the cruelty, not the species of the victim, that matters.

For more information about the link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans, see www.HelpingAni

Amber Hodge

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

One way, God's way


In regards to the, June 17 article on "Heaven and Hell," a very sad state has been revealed. Richard Ostling, the author of the article, bemoans the lack of American understanding of the concept of heaven. Yet, his own definition and understanding is fatally flawed when he states that heaven is living in harmony with God, the cosmos, and one's neighbors.

I also share his angst over the indifference that people share concerning matters of eternity. Yet, the definition of heaven or hell cannot be left up to the discernment of man's mind or opinion. The God of eternity has given mankind a clear definition of heaven and hell.

He has also clearly stated the way to gain heaven and miss hell. However, since man's nature is fundamentally anti-God, our society has chosen to reject God's clear instruction. God's way is neither bigoted nor narrow-minded, but it is God's way. He will make no exceptions. Rather, he lovingly invites all to come his way, which is through Jesus Christ.

Marty O. Wynn

Columbus, Ga.

DAILY sports coverage biased


Re LSU Sports Coverage:

In the June 11 edition of THE DAILY, buried somewhere in the Sports section, there appeared an article regarding an NCAA Champions track meet. The article highlighted the individual feats of an LSU participant equaling the 1935 feats of Jessie Owens. This was a very commendable individual effort and well worth noting; however, Florida State won the men's championship. However, the article also mentioned, barely and apparently begrudgingly, that the Auburn Lady Tigers also won the NCAA women's championship.

More of the same. Alabama gets front page coverage in losing but Auburn winning a championship is recognized only as an aside. Pitiful. Same story in all sports, nothing but Bama. A previous letter on this apparent bias resulted in nothing but some lame excuse and continued bias. What's the real reason: ashamed, jealous or just plain biased? If you can't do it right, hang it up and let some other children play at it. Alabama isn't the only university with a school of journalism. The problem probably is in-breeding.

James L. Nix


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