published Saturday, July 21st, 2012

'Support for hiring Muslim is welcome' and other letters to the editor

Support for hiring Muslim is welcome

I was astonished to read the editorial in the paper (July 18) supporting Gov. Bill Haslam's hiring of Samar Ali (who is a Muslim) for the position of Economic and Community Development international director. I had to double-check on which side of the paper the column was positioned. Not only did the editorial support this hire, it condemned efforts by Republican lawmakers and ultra-conservative groups to "pander to racists, homophobes, and bigots to garner votes and win elections in the Volunteer State."

This is the first time since I moved here in 1998 that I have agreed with an editorial on the Free Press side of the paper (and I am a registered Republican). It's not April 1, so I have to believe that there are actually some changes behind the scenes or at least some opening of minds at the newspaper. Please keep it up.


DeGaetano upholds ideal of fairness

Several months ago, my wife was injured in an accident, and once it was clear that responsible party's insurance company was not going to provide any coverage, we decided to retain an attorney.

After interviewing several attorneys, we selected Joe DeGaetano because he was very knowledgeable and he did not pander or over-promise.

Joe worked quickly and proficiently to move our case forward. We are convinced that part of the reason the insurance company chose to settle when they did was his appropriate use of strategic legal pressure to leverage them into doing the right thing, rather than simply to deny the claim.

It is very telling that Joe agreed to represent us for significantly less than the going rate, and much less than other attorneys quoted to us. It was clear to us that Joe was not out to enrich himself. He was there first to look for the interests of his clients, while upholding the principles of fairness.

We encourage a vote for Joe DeGaetano as Sessions Court judge.


'Pray away gay' suffers setback

One embarrassing chapter in the history of psychology and psychiatry has been exposed by the very one who gave it legitimacy in a "flawed" study in 2001 in "The Archives of Sexual Behavior": Dr. Robert Spitzer, a respected psychiatrist.

He gave the "Pray away the gay" movement among some Christians legitimacy and justification, aka reparative therapy, even though the therapy was always on very shaky ground.

Spitzer wants to retract his 2001 study, asserting that change in one's sexual orientation was possible, because of flaws in the design of the study. This admission and apology severely undermines the validity of "ex-gay" programs -- and psychological and psychiatric organizations have repudiated reparative therapy as "faulty science and bias."

How would I describe reparative therapy? It's nothing more than quackery fueled by bias that was/is being practiced by some Christians for money.

What to do? Listen to Dolly Parton's song "Family" and realize that God doesn't make mistakes.

B.J. PASCHAL, Sevierville, Tenn.

Send Vital, the very best, to Nashville

In recent years, our community has been fortunate to have candidates for state Senate of the highest caliber: Public servants who have offered themselves because they are compelled to make a positive difference, not because they need a job or want notoriety. Only by sending the very best and brightest to Nashville can we expect Nashville to appropriately serve our interests here at home.

We have an opportunity to continue that tradition of excellence by electing Greg Vital as our next state senator.

Greg possesses an unmatched record of community involvement, volunteerism, compassion toward others, determined work ethic and natural business and ethical instincts and judgment.

Greg has spent his entire career improving communities and creating hundreds of jobs and economic opportunity for our citizens. The very essence of Greg's professional background, which is centered upon providing compassionate, quality and dignified care for the elderly, demonstrates Greg's unique ability to be a successful businessman while contributing and giving back to his neighbors.

By sending Greg Vital to Nashville as our next state senator, we are assured that we will have the finest and highest quality representation. Please vote early, and please vote for Greg Vital in the Republican primary.


Little is diligent toward his cases

I have worked with Mike Little for more than 15 years. Mr. Little is a very dependable, honest and thoughtful man who works on each case as if it were his only case. He spends many hours in court each week. He is very devoted to his family and his community of Soddy-Daisy and takes every opportunity to support them. I believe that he has the integrity, temperament and experience to be a great judge for the city of Soddy-Daisy.


Keep religious views within boundaries

Religion is first and foremost a private matter. While religion is essential to American society, especially in the Bible Belt, it shouldn't be used as a political tool or a moralizing bludgeon against minorities, like the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. In any overlap between the public and private aspects of religion, the latter should be emphasized.

You can obviously disagree with certain political decisions or morally object to those who practice what is mistakenly called a "lifestyle." But that conflict shouldn't escalate to theocratic squabbles or persecution, ostracism and scapegoating of those who differ from the norm as if they're the problem instead of promiscuity or irresponsibility from either side.

Prayer is something done initially in silence, not because of shame, but because one's connection to the divine is something personal and not to be flaunted to others. Like many topics, such as morality and politics, one's religious beliefs can influence your positions, but they shouldn't be the end-all standard. We all share a faculty of reason and should utilize it for the betterment of all, not merely those who are the largest demographic. Bottom line: keep your religious convictions to yourself if putting them into practice involves overstepping the liberties of others.

JARED COWAN, Sewanee, Tenn.

Hoss will be fair, equitable

I encourage the Soddy-Daisy voters to consider Bryan Hoss for judge in the August election.

As a former chief of the Chattanooga Police Department, I am aware of several occasions where Bryan represented organizations or personnel related to the police department. I was always impressed with his legal knowledge and the level of case preparedness he brought to every litigation. He simply would not be outworked.

He always had the unique ability to balance the vigorous representation of his client while still maintaining ethical and professional relationships with his legal adversaries. His sense of fairness and professional decorum are virtues that will make him an excellent judge.

The fair and equitable application of the law is essential to a community, and I am confident that Bryan would provide that legal environment for Soddy-Daisy.

I encourage the citizens of Soddy-Daisy to vote for Bryan Hoss for judge.


Vote smart, choose Wamp

I support Weston Wamp for Congress in District 3. I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity of being involved in the electoral process at the federal, state and local level. I have been fortunate to attend the debates held thus far.

Weston Wamp has really impressed me at each and every debate and by his hard work and efforts to reach out to each and every voter. He is different and is willing to work across party lines and not play the blame game. The state of country needs new blood in leadership and as voters, we need to stop sending the same people to Washington because we will keep getting the same results.

I am impressed that Weston knows the problems facing our country and has solutions.

He may not have all the answers but he is willing to work across party lines and help get the answers that will get this country back on track.

In conclusion, as we come close to the beginning of early voting, I urge all voters to get involved by educating yourself about each candidate and go out and vote. Vote early, vote smart, vote Weston Wamp.


Fasting sacrifice has a purpose

During Ramadan, Muslims fast for one month from dawn to dusk. But that’s old news. To most people, this is just another absurd practice of the Muslims, whose faith has become synonymous with terrorism. Most people cannot fathom why someone would want to put themselves through that sort of sacrifice. What’s wrong with lunch, right? I will attempt to clarify.

Let me let you in on a greater truth: It’s not all about the physical sacrifice. But that hunger and thirst that I will feel on those days will not be without purpose. Ramadan is about gaining nearness to God, not just by fasting, but by praying, alms giving and staying away from the daily evils of the world.

As Muslims plan their breakfast foods for the oncoming month, I would like to submit a challenge to all of you, not just Muslims. What can you do to make yourself a better person, and in turn make your community a better place? Imagine a world in which all Muslims, all citizens, began each day — not just the days of Ramadan — with this question in mind. Maybe, just maybe, the world would be a little bit better of a place.


Starnes will serve with dignity, honor

We are writing this endorsement to encourage people in voting for Gary Starnes for Sessions Court judge.

We have known Gary and his family for a number of years and know the dedication he has for this community and his commitment to the welfare of the people of Chattanooga.

Gary feels strongly about family and family values and the law and the people of Chattanooga his home.

Gary wants Chattanooga to continue to be one of the greatest places to live but also to be one of the safest place to live and work and raise our families.

We have no doubt Gary will give his all to be the best Sessions Court judge he can when he is elected. Honesty, integrity and great knowledge of the law are essential to perform this job well.

We believe Gary Starnes possess these necessary attributes and will serve the Chattanooga judicial system with dignity and honor. We encourage you to vote for Gary Starnes, General Sessions judge.


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anniebelle said...

Najai Humayun, from what I see waddling out of the churches around me, the Christians have their own ritual, stuffing their faces from dawn to dust.

July 21, 2012 at 5:46 a.m.
riverman said...

You must have a great life Anniebelle if all you have to do is watch people leaving church on Sunday. You want to see fat and ugly, watch the Democrats "waddling" in and out of their convention in August.

July 21, 2012 at 8:41 a.m.
LibDem said...

As reported in the New York Times, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus Int'l which claims to "cure" gays, has announced that he's still a little bit gay. Gays interested in these conversion scams should do a little research.

July 21, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
anniebelle said...

FYI, drivelboy, I would have to have blinders on as I drive into the city on any given Sunday as I pass no less than 20 churches. They look like the fattening hogs headed to slaughter. I certainly don’t waste my time turning on my teevee to watch obese Americans. If I chose to do so, I’d certainly tune into the RNC since their keynote speaker is going to be Chris Christie and I'm sure Haley Barbour will be waddling around up there with him. You must have some life.

July 21, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.
riverman said...

Anniebelle, the typical Dem women is fat, ugly and stupid. I bet you look like Barbara Mikulski.

July 21, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.
wallyworld said...

Riverslime You are so articulate and sensitive. BTW, does yo mama ever let you out of that pig sty basement to feed that idiotic brain cell you claim to have?

July 21, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
anniebelle said...


July 21, 2012 at 1:51 p.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

JonRoss, where was I even involving the president in my discussion? I'm voting for him myself, even though I don't agree with some of his policies, particularly on gun control and foreign policy (I'm fairly non interventionist myself), but I think it's preferable to right wing Republicans or right wing libertarians who give too much power to the states.

You'll see I've posted here if you look around enough, albeit this and the last one I posted were the first this year. I did more in 2011.

July 21, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.
anniebelle said...

I'm with you ToHoldNothing. Unfortunately, there are only two parties in this country and the GOP has proved to be disasterous. My vision of an Obama presidency is much more progressive than he has proven to be, but considering the alternative is unthinkable. We have to do something about these constant wars and gun violence in this country and it's just not happening. The rightwingers block everything this president has tried to do to lead this country into the future. They have stated that to be their goal and it's the only thing this do-nothing congress has accomplished.

July 21, 2012 at 2:25 p.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

If I thought the Libertarian Party could be a competitive party in the election, I might consider its candidate, even though I believe he's fairly anti abortion or just wants to leave it to the states. Not much different than Ron Paul, except this guy I think supports marriage equality unlike Paul

July 21, 2012 at 2:34 p.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

I do not condemn Obama's general call for prayer, but you seem to think I'm absolutely against religion in public. America is demographically a religious and spiritual country, even in its history, so it's not going to become a secular country in the sense of France, where religion and state are more fundamentally separate. But secularism in America does mean that certain aspects of religion should be given special treatment by the government. Simply praying in general and suggesting that as the President does not constitute an establishment of religion or a violation of the wall of separation between religion and state

A state can be run by the people and the government of the unified states as well. You seem to view it as a no compromise situation, which is absurd. I'm not opposed to the idea of self determination and self governance as political principles, but they, like any good thing, can be taken to excess, and that is my concern with many Republicans and even libertarians. There are some things that shouldn't be left to the states, which was the case with racial civil rights in the 1960s and 70s. Or do you think we should have just let the states decide whether blacks and whites should have separate drinking fountains and establish all that separate but equal nonsense? The same applies to other decisions by the Supreme Court that did not absolutely take away state rights, but abrogated them according to the Constitution. This includes the nullification of any religious tests for state office that were in the state constitutions, Torcaso v. Watkins, as well as any state laws that made flag burning a crime, for instance, Texas v. Johnson, and then there's Brown v Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia which said state segregation was unconstitutional. You want to challenge me on the Constitution, go ahead, I've read it and am not unwilling to discuss and even debate things on it. Heck, the Supreme Court is not exactly all knowing about this, I doubt you or I are any better about exactly what the Constitution means in every case

July 21, 2012 at 3:56 p.m.
riverman said...

Hate to confuse you with facts Annie Pooh but this is straight from Owebama's Dept of HHS website not from someone driving by black churches on Sunday . Black women who are 98% Democrat are the fattest people in the country. Maybe if they would go to work and get off food stamps they wouldn't be so fat.

Obesity and African Americans

African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.
In 2010, African Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as Non- Hispanic Whites.
In 2010, African American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women.
In 2007-2010, African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls.
July 21, 2012 at 4:43 p.m.
Easy123 said...


"Catholics and others are now required to violate their beliefs when it comes to Obamacare diktats."


"Obama has declared that religious institutions are subserviant to his government so he must totally separate himself from religious activities or comments about such."


July 21, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

I don't think it is too much of an interference of religion to force religiously run institutions to provide birth control. Churches would be another thing entirely, the former is a public accommodation, the latter is a private institution not held to the same standards as the public ones, but nonetheless are expected to follow basic laws placed upon them by the government, such as political restrictions.

You're taking this to the extent that I said american secularism is not and should not go to. The mere involvement of the government in terms of religious expression is not what I'm against, it's favoring of any particular religion by the government, which I don't believe the mere request of the president to pray or going to a church constitutes.

He only declared that religion is subservient to the government when it comes to government matters, not to arranging their own matters or the like. The distinction is like with the IRS and churches being prevented from political campaigning.

July 21, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Your point wasn't proven.

And his name is Willard Mitt Romney. But he will not be the next POTUS.

July 21, 2012 at 6:19 p.m.
Easy123 said...


No, it wasn't. You said it was, then you had to make an addendum to your original claim by saying:

"Whenever the Progressives decide something is "government matters" they pass a law. So what was purely in the realm of religious freedom is now made illegal by the Progressives. So there is no boundry between the state and religious freedom. The state, Barack Hussien Obama, decides all."

This was your claim:

"Obama has declared that religious institutions are subserviant to his government so he must totally separate himself from religious activities or comments about such."

And ToHoldNothing did not say anything to prove that claim.

July 21, 2012 at 6:37 p.m.
ToHoldNothing said...

Fundamentally, freedom of religion, like any freedom in our constitution, is more strictly a liberty, which is a step up from a privilege. It also isn't carte blanche to do anything.

The Supreme Court has already put in precedent of limitations to the first amendment's freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise clause. You can't say just anything and you don't get to do whatever you want because of religious reasons. Just because you have some limitations on you doesn't mean you are being oppressed.

Ironically, I can understand better the idea and theology of God's sovereignty through Flannery O'connor when she said something to that effect about dogma and religion. Just because you have restrictions doesn't mean you are unable to do anything. You're just limited in certain ways.

Just because you can't make a religious exception to everything doesn't mean you aren't free within fairly wide limits to practice your religion as you will.

July 21, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.

The Catholic Church has long demanded preferential treatment. Immunity from law suits, criminal trials, and taxes all have historically been privileges they enjoyed.

And abused.

You can let the Pope dictate terms to the government if you like, I decline. The Catholic Church chided its nuns for caring more about actual charity than adhering to their political demands. It's easy to see where their priorities lie. With controlling us.

July 22, 2012 at 1:44 a.m.
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