Flag doesn't fit in church
Thanks to Clint Cooper for his July 9 article voicing concerns some Christians have with displaying the U.S. flag in church.
Flying a flag in the front of the sanctuary goes far beyond an expression of appreciation for our country. It suggests support for U.S. policies and undermines our sense of absolute loyalty to God.
Who can imagine Jesus and his followers unfurling the flag of the Roman Empire and displaying it prominently in the midst of their gatherings? Jesus' allegiance to the kingdom of God threatens the empires of the world. His call to love our enemies threatens the state's dependence on Christians to pay federal taxes for war, to work in military research and development, and to take up arms in U.S. conflicts overseas.
His call to welcome the stranger threatens new laws that make it a crime to assist undocumented immigrants.
His call to store up treasure in heaven threatens the state's encouragement of unbridled consumption.
For me, the saddest part of seeing the flag in church is what it represents: the church's confused allegiance and accommodation to the culture around it.
GOP death trap is killing us
To Sen. Bob Corker:
You must stop this Republican death trap. I know you are trying to get the president out in the next election but it will not work. As a matter of fact, I think you will lose all the gains the Republicans made in the last election. This is killing us. It will not work. The average voter sees this as nothing more than a ploy and it will come back to bite us.
LOVELL STALLARD, Soddy-Daisy
Don't omit anyone from health care
The new report by the National Center for Children in Poverty, examining health disparities by race and ethnicity (www.nccp.org/publications/pub), pinpoints a crucial issue in the health care field.
Today, more than 1 in 3 Americans are minorities. By 2020, the Census Bureau projects that figure to rise to 40 percent. By 2050, minorities will be the new majority in the U.S. at 54 percent.
African-Americans are almost 15 percent more likely to be operated on at centers with worse cardiovascular outcomes in comparison. More than 50 percent of Hispanic elderly are cared for by only 5 percent of U.S. hospitals. Low-income families are six times less likely to receive care for a health problem. The death rate from heart disease is 50 percent higher for poor men than for wealthier ones.
These disparities must be addressed.
The American Heart Association is committed to eliminating health disparities through a comprehensive, global approach based on its pillars of health equity:
Assuring cultural competence by tailoring delivery of care to meet patients' social, cultural, and linguistic needs
Overcoming health differences linked with social or economic disadvantage
Strengthening minority outreach efforts integrating our science, education, and development to reach target audiences.
We must do all that we can to ensure that no one is left behind.
KEITH B. CHURCHWELL, M.D., Executive Medical Director/Chief Medical Officer Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute
Start cutbacks in Washington
I'm sick and tired of seeing the list that Washington keeps showing us of cutbacks on the American people
I think it's high time we gave them the list of cutbacks..
Just this morning (July 28), I was at the YMCA at Hamilton Place and there sits a government car and the license plate clearly read "government use only." And not only that, it was illegally parked, probably hoping nobody would see it!
I think it's high time we sent Washington a list of cutbacks that start from up there.
I'll start the list with giving up government cars. (I'm sure that would save millions per year.)
Anybody care to add to the list?
JUDY RUSK, Harrison
Problem is both debt and spending
Do we have a debt problem or a spending problem?
The simple answer is that we have both!
But the main problem we have is not explaining how serious the debt/spending problem is in terms that even a fifth grader can understand.
(1) During the eight Clinton years from 1993-2000, we spent only 2.6 percent more than we received in total revenue ($12,372 billion/$12,693 billion), with the last three years having surpluses.
(2) During the eight Bush years from 2001-2008, we spent 11.7 percent more than we received in total revenue ($17,159 billion/$19,166 billion), with only the first year having a surplus.
(3) But during the three Obama years from 2009-2011, our spending has increased to 63 percent more than we received in total revenue ($6,794 billion/$11,073 billion).
Solution: We don't have enough fifth graders in Washington to understand, let alone the will to fix the problem.
"Oh, for the good old Clinton days, and maybe some of the Bush years," you might say.
Hint: The Republicans controlled Congress from 1995-2006, with a little thing called 9/11 thrown in the middle. The purpose of 9/11 was to try and destroy the U.S. economy from without. Now, we are doing it quite well from within!
JOE CLEM, Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
Computer could do Congress' job
Replace Congress with super computer.
Think about it. Simply enter the facts and figures, hit enter and sit back.
No bickering, no political partisanship, no out-of-control leaders trying to guard their turf, no back-biting, and no pork hidden in unrelated bills to fool the public.
The results should be a clear picture of where we are and where we should go. What could be better? Probably cheaper too!
JERRY K. STUBBS
It's your money GOP wants to steal
To those of you who adhere to the Republican/conservative doctrine against "entitlements," have you considered the following:
1. Are you willing to take your elderly or disabled relatives into your home and be totally responsible for all of their needs? Can you afford the total cost of nursing homes or will you euthanize them? These will be your options if entitlements are ended.
2. You grow older every day. Sooner than you realize you will be the victim. How will your children handle this situation? Everyone who works pays into the system for an average of 47 to 65 years. Are they not entitled to a return on their investment? After all, isn't it your money?
Are you aware there is a cap on how much the wealthy pay into the system?
Entitlements are services you have pre-paid for out of your own pocket. That money is not a part of the federal deficit nor is it socialism. The Republicans are lying to you in order to steal that money. It's your money. Don't let them get away with it.
Wealthy should help in sacrifice
During the past decade, while lower- and middle-income Americans were sending their loved ones to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight wars, the wealthiest Americans were prospering and enjoying huge tax cuts. Never before has the nation reduced taxes while fighting a war.
In 2007, the 400 highest earning Americans had average incomes of $345 million, more than double their 2001 incomes, and their tax rates had decreased to 16.6 percent from 29.4 percent in 1993.
Many servicemen and women were seriously injured or killed during that time. They and their families have borne the burdens of war alone. Their sacrifices should be honored and their needs must be met by a grateful nation.
And, in all fairness, shouldn't wealthy Americans step up to the plate and share in the sacrifice by paying higher taxes to cover the $1.3 trillion (some studies show total costs of over $4 trillion) cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? For someone making $345 million, a war tax to cover the lower figure of $1.3 trillion would amount to an average of less than 10 percent per year over a 10-year period.
MARY ANN CROWE, Crossville, Tenn.