Snakes in church aren't a bright idea
A few thoughts on Rev. Coots and his serpents — related to the article "Pastor wants snakes confiscated in Tennessee."
1. Snakes are simply some of God's creatures trying to make their way in the world like all the others. They have enough problems without being dragged into church services. Leave 'em alone, or if you feel you must handle snakes, do something useful. Take the congregation on a retreat to the Everglades with its abundant, invasive Burmese pythons and handle them into crates.
2. Are there no rattlers and copperheads in Kentucky? Or parishioners with the courage and faith to catch them?
3. Examining the passage in Mark, it seems snake-handling is merely one step in proving a believer's faith. It appears the next important step for the true believer is drinking cyanide-laced lye or such. Rev. Jim Jones and his congregation courageously took this step, but apparently their faith wasn't strong.
4. The oldest copies of Mark doesn't contain the last 10 or so verses that include the snake passage, and modern scholarship has determined they were added later to the original gospel.
5. Finally, why would anyone pay $800 for a few snakes?
THOMAS RODGERS, Dayton, Tenn.
America has become nation of corruption
So, it has come to this:
Your second amendment right trumps all others. You can kill anyone you suspect of threatening you. The true criminals, according to some, are women who -- even if raped -- must never have an abortion. That's murder.
Marijuana is illegal even though there are no known cases of death by marijuana. Being human doesn't matter. If you want health care, you must pay for it. If you can't pay for it, you're likely to die. Or if you can pay some, but not all, you'll be bankrupted. So, you might as well die. You do not deserve free health care.
Social Security is an entitlement. You were not smart enough to save or invest. Corporations are far smarter. They know how to make money. It's easy. Reward CEOs with multimillion-dollar contracts to cut corners, wages and pensions.
Oh, and don't forget, you do not need to vote. Corporations buy candidates, craft law and the Supreme Court upholds it.
Could it be that we live in the States of United Corruption?
KAREN LEE, Dunlap, Tenn.
Volkswagen is model of energy efficiency
Like all Tennesseans, Sen. Bob Corker wants the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant to succeed and expand. So, he no doubt applauds the success the plant has had in cutting its energy costs.
Earlier this year, VW switched on the largest solar park in Tennessee -- enough to power 750 homes a year. That means saving money which will translate into more VW jobs in the region.
Other industries must do the same, as more nuclear plants are mothballed and energy costs rise. Congress has the opportunity and responsibility to set the tone, by expanding tax credits for businesses that find ways to use energy more efficiently.
The return on that investment would be great. Industrial energy efficiency could spur more than $200 billion in new private investment in the United States and create up to 1 million jobs, according to a 2012 Pew report that quoted officials at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
We see the benefits of energy efficiency every time we see a Chattanooga-made Volkswagen. VW has set the standard for energy efficiency in the United States. Senators Corker and Alexander should help other Tennessee businesses follow suit.
JOSHUA B. HILL
When gun control hurts instead of helps
While I was stationed in Germany back in 1949, I had an occasion to ask one of our interpreters why -- knowing what was going on in the concentration camps -- the German people didn't do something about it.
Bill, he said, all our guns had been confiscated.
WILLIAM J. BURTON, Cleveland, Tenn.
Racism will remain unless U.S. changes
I guess racism is no longer a secret when it appears on the front page of my newspaper: Journalism I respect as it is not afraid to cover both sides of a controversy. I am a 90-year-old doctor who has lived and practiced in the South all my life, but I have never seen racism so blatterenly flaunted as today. I have seen a great deal of life, but electing a black president has brought out our worst in nearly every conversation I hear these days.
I am delighted that we have a smart, black president who is trying to lead us into a new era that might look like the Sermon on the Mount. Do we remember his Cairo speech some years ago when he wanted to bring together the world in mutual respect of our individual cultures? This means changing, and that is the most difficult hurdle we face. It affects us all but particularly in the age group in which I find myself. Our policy today seems to be kill everyone who doesn't believe as we do. Is the policy of turning the other cheek no longer relevant?
I have great respect for our Founding Fathers, but I don't think they ever visualized this problem of intolerance we see today. I have two ancestors who signed the Declaration of Independence who thought we had unalienable rights to be equal. I am proud to be named for one signer, Francis Lightfoot Lee. I think they realized that times change, and so should our laws to respect these rights. I am sure they never envisioned the fiascos that is the Second Amendment has precipitated
We keep saying we are a Christian nation, but when do we start?
FRANCIS A. GREEN
Columnist got facts wrong on Gig Tank
While opinions may differ on whether EPB's fiber optic network was a good investment, reasonable discussion about the topic should include accurate facts. The recent guest column on the Gig Tank was riddled with errors of fact that must be corrected.
The Gig Tank prize money did not come from EPB. It was 100 percent private money provided by a top-tier technology company, Alcatel Lucent.
The Gig Tank winner of the $100,000 prize, Banyan, is from Tampa. The fiber optic network capability of up to a gigabit-per-second speed was one of several attractive characteristics of our city that influenced Banyan to recently relocate to Chattanooga.
The writer evidently confused the actual Gig Tank winner, Banyan, with the recipient of one of the smaller prizes. While this other startup was reported to have a gripe with EPB, their prize also was provided by a private corporation, Warner Brothers.
The fiber optic network was built to make our electrical system more efficient and reliable. That entrepreneurs are encouraged to seek other uses of this unique capability is not at all an "admitted failure" but is instead consistent with the history of technological innovation.
The far-sighted and generous companies that support Gig Tank are to be applauded. Facts are an important part of journalism, even on the editorial page.
MIKE BRADSHAW, Hixson
Gay scoutmasters not out to prey on boys
A homophobic letter to the editor on Feb. 28 stated that homosexuals do not belong in the Boy Scouts, as Scouts or scoutmasters. The letter's author implies that homosexual scoutmasters will abuse the young boys much like Catholic priests have done. He also implies that all homosexuals prey on young boys.
When I was a young boy, I was a Boy Scout. My scoutmaster, (now deceased), was a gay man. He also was my sixth-grade teacher. I never knew he was gay until many years later. His conduct was always exemplary.
Just like not all Catholic priests prey on young boys, neither do gay scoutmasters, gay employees or gay neighbors. Gay people do not want to make us gay, they just want equal rights, as they should have.