News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2006


Evans presents New Testament values, morals

I enjoy the weekly column by James L. Evans published each Saturday in THE DAILY. He shines the light of thoughtful reason into the tent of Christianity, testing and strengthening it. He presents God and Jesus as compassionate, tolerant, and supportive in times of stress or need. I find this view of Christianity much more consistent with the teachings of the New Testament than the angry, intolerant, and politically active image of Christianity that is so often in the news these days.

Both history and current events illustrate the dangers of allowing religious beliefs to control government policy. Iran and Afghanistan under the Taliban are two recent examples. Once your religion has set the precedent of controlling governmental policy, what happens when another group with different beliefs is elected?

Our nation is based on religious freedom for all. It is not based on incorporating one religious viewpoint as the law of the land.

I suspect the vast majority of Christian subscribers to THE DAILY find their faith well represented in Mr. Evans' columns.

Joe Blackburn


Conservative media blind columnist's critics

The June 16 letters to the editor were most instructive. From one writer we learned that Jesus supports a politically influential church. I suppose we are to believe that Jesus would have blessed the murderous Catholic Inquisition, the execution of alleged witches in Europe and America under the auspices of the Christian church and the genocidal slaughter of native people throughout the Western hemisphere, with Christian churches leading and abetting state power.

From another writer we are advised to poll store patrons to determine theological questions, particularly regarding the Rev. James Evans' view of Christianity. This writer's homophobia and religious chauvinism are examples of Mr. Evans' description of the June 24 column, "Christ-haunted culture in the South." He also objected to Mr. Evans' questioning of the Christian bona fides of our president.

President Bush is the man who began a war that has cruelly destroyed a nation for no reason and brought more than 2,500 Americans soldiers home in coffins; a man whose government has reduced aid to the poor and needy and increased welfare to the rich and powerful. Is this really what Jesus taught?

From a third writer we got the weary litany that liberals control our country and are traitorous dupes of the United Nations. These fiends, he believes, want to socialize our economy, desecrate our flag, abolish God and destroy American families while foisting upon an innocent populace the horrors of abortion, homosexual marriage and even gay cowboys.

I suppose if one listens to Fox News, the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh and their ilk long enough, one could come to believe almost anything. Maybe that war is good, that the strong should oppress the weak and that selfishness and self-righteousness are Christian virtues. Perhaps even that President Bush is a follower of the teachings of Jesus.

Wayne Holliday


Customer health a legitimate consideration

Silly me. I thought business owners had to obey all laws and had the right to set business policy like employee benefits, product pricing and customer service, but it appears, thanks to the wisdom of our esteemed leaders, that if one has "sweat equity," that the customer can determine those things for him. How marvelous for the business owner. He no longer has to determine those trivial concerns for himself.

"Sweat equity" has opened up a whole new world for customers. We no longer have to be concerned about the health and welfare of those around us. Our own personal satisfaction is all that is important, never mind pregnant women, children or older folks who might be having breathing problems.

If they don't like what I'm doing, they can get up and leave and just go elsewhere.

After all, it's a free country, isn't it?

James MacIlveen


Secondhand smoke kills

Thank you for continuing to print information about the use of tobacco.

Studies are apparently true that secondhand smoke is a killer.

That means I am being murdered. Even in the apartment building where I live, I cannot escape tobacco smoke. I spend more than I can afford, it seems, on preventative measures, yet I sniffle and snort and am most uncomfortable in my allergic reaction to smoke.

I would hope that Decatur would enforce the laws governing smoking.

Jane Bradford


Twenty-year car loan a bad idea

Our mayor and City Council keep reminding us that Decatur is an enviable financial position. I wonder how long that will be true if we get into a 20-year debt to purchase cars, vans, truck and other materials that have a useful life of four or five years?

If anyone thinks financing motor vehicles for 20 years is a good idea, run down to any lending institution and apply for a 20-year car loan and see how responsible money managers respond to your application.

Twenty years from now, our children will be paying for cars and trucks that were purchased before they were born and worn out before they started grade school. Good grief.

Huey J. Hall


Hartselle wasted golden egg

Once, there was a goose that could only lay one golden egg. That egg was worth $1,964,172. Then there was a piece of land (18.8 acres), that was appraised at $39,900, but purchased with that entire golden egg. Now add a somewhat conscientiously blind, spendthrift council. They make a down payment of $550,000 and enter the taxpayers of Hartselle into an agreement with the seller for a five-year loan on the balance, at 1.5 percent below prime rate.

The council purchases the land with high hopes, dreams, fantasies and speculations about its possibilities. Added expenses are beginning to mount. Things like interest amounts of $246,021 on the loan, sewer project costs of $627,132 and land development costs that can easily top another $1 million.

This land becomes one of the most expensive properties in Morgan County, at a possible total cost of $3,827,325, or $204,113 per acre. This took place without any environmental impact study. This took place when other property was available that already had utilities, and in the same general area. After all, it's not their money they are spending.

Allegedly, our mayor is concerned about the appearance of Hartselle. How far would this money have gone toward repaving the neglected streets? How about a good down payment towards a new high school? Now we know just how "education friendly" this council really is. Also, it would have built and equipped Fire Station No. 3 and staffed for it for decades.

I cannot fault the seller of this property. Given the chance, I would have jumped on this as well. One goose, one golden egg. P.J. O'Rouke, a political satirist, once said, "Giving money and power to governments is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." Could he have heard of Hartselle and our City Council?

Mike Dowdy


Low wages for nurses

As a registered nurse, I am outraged to hear that the hospital industry may be working to artificially hold down nurse wages while working conditions get worse for nurses and an increasing number of RNs leave the profession for more rewarding fields.

Shortages in other professions have always corrected themselves by employers raising wages until the shortage is over (i.e. pharmacists, engineers, accountants, computer programmers, etc.), but the same hasn't happened for nurses because hospitals have chosen to avoid a bidding war.

I became a registered nurse to diagnose, treat and care for my patients when they need it most. But hospital practices, like short staffing, forced overtime and low pay, are making it nearly impossible to provide that care.

Claudia Walden


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