You can't inflict religion on others
Wednesday's headline (March 28) claims that Rep. Andy Holt's bill "... would expand students' religious rights."
The last paragraph of the story says that "Only students in the highest two grade levels of the school and who also are a student council officer, football team captain, top class officer or other position of honor..." may exercise these expanded rights.
In a school with a Christian majority, all of those positions will be occupied by Christians. Therefore only Christians would have those expanded rights. The Christians will see to that, in spite of the bill's requirement for "neutral criteria."
Too many Christians believe that the free exercise of their religion includes inflicting it on others. Rep. Holt's bill would give them a tool to do that in public schools.
JAMES WALLACE THOMTE, Ringgold, Ga.
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Take religion out of science class
The last heavyweight brawl between intelligent design and the scientific community resulted in the ID'ers (again) getting pummeled in a court of law.
Specifically, the 2005 case "Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District" pitted the school board in Dover, Pa., against the teachers and parents of the community. A Republican judge appointed by ID'er George W. Bush ruled that ID was not science and could not be taught in science class.
But here comes our own Sen. Bo Watson from Hixson to the rescue. Seems he can find no better use of his legislative time than to attempt to allow (force?) teachers to teach the controversy in evolution. What controversy? This farce of a law adds grist to the mill that Southerners are ignorant: if they're not dithering about bringing guns to bars, they're teaching creationism in science class.
Watson's bill will not teach students thinking skills. Rather, it will present a theory with zero scientific evidence, effectively bringing religion into the science class.
Science doesn't pretend to know it all. It asks and tests. The theory that best fits testable facts wins -- no sacred cows. Unlike religion, science will gladly replace bad theories with better ones.
HUNTLEY DAVIS JR.
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Evolution should stand on its own
Reading the articles, letters and editorial lately regarding the proposed law protecting evolution (I use evolution as in macro evolution) from investigation -- troubles me.
Shouldn't evolution, if truly scientific, be allowed to stand on its own merits?
What are scientists afraid of that a law must be enacted to prevent any reasonable critique?
It reminds me of an article in this newspaper (Outdoor Section, Oct. 2, 2003) of the brass fishing reel embedded in rock found in the Tellico River. After examining it, several geologists from UTC couldn't explain it.
They showed it to the head of the department, who also couldn't explain it.
He then remarked, "I am chairman of the department, and I say this does not exist. It's a figment of our imagination."
He was probably being facetious, but it illustrates the attitude and world view of evolution scientists who minimize, deny and try to prevent any criticism of evolution.
To show the mathematical improbability of evolution, to say that things get better and improve on their own, which is counter to observation and the scientific law of entropy, these evolution scientists are trying to prevent by law.
Showing how illogical evolution is will be called hate speech?
NELSON THORESEN, Cleveland, Tenn.
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Know the facts before shooting
I listened to the president say about the shooting of Trayvon Martin that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon.
The shooting of this young man is somewhat tragic. Yet we have many young white and black men killed every day in this country. We stereotype everyone, with wearing a hoodie, of being up to no good.
If anyone has seen the latest TV commercial on identity theft, where the white guy goes into the bank, wearing a hoodie, giving the thought he is up to stealing someone's identity.
I have been a police officer for 30 years now. I have seen many photos of suspects from store robbery, burglar, and thefts that the suspect has tried to conceal his face by wearing a hoodie.
I hope people never face the decision to shoot someone whom they fear is going to harm them. Be informed, be slow in reacting until you know all the facts.
DEWAYNE STEELE, Ringgold, Ga.
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Term 'vigilante' works both ways
Two tragedies occurred in Sanford, Fla., last month.
A death and a national outrage along the lines of a lynch mob.
An investigation, much greater than one you see during a gang related drive- by shooting, is being conducted.
The usual activists who demand justice have decided that they have solved this case. All of this reminds me that people are bored and willing to protest and chant to relieve their own frustrations.
Much like the occupy groups, few really know the facts. Seems like the term "vigilante" works both ways.
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Check transcripts before submitting
Now is the time that high school seniors begin to send applications for college admissions and for scholarships.
I strongly advise the students to go to the school office along with a parent to verify that their grade records are correct before submitting your transcripts to the college admissions office.
I trusted that the records at Red Bank High would be correct, and was I wrong. My grade point average was 3.29 but the transcript sent to Vanderbilt and to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville reflected a 2.0.
Vanderbilt rejected me with the explanation that my grades were too low. Then the UT letter arrived putting me on academic probation and disallowing my pre-law choice of curriculum.
My father hired an attorney to get my records corrected. Even after the records were corrected, the UT admissions office would not lift the probation and limitation of the classes that I could take.
Had I gone to the office prior to submitting applications, this travesty would have been avoided. Being young and somewhat naive, I made the mistake of trusting others.
I hope that this type of robbery will never happen to anyone else, but you should beware. Your future could depend on those records.
EDMOND DOWLEN JR., East Point, Ga.
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Process precedes organ donations
April is National Organ Donation Awareness month.
I'm alive because of a thoughtful organ donor family. After 27 months, I still don't know much about my donor. But I do know she and her family were generous beyond measure.
Today there are over 113,600 people waiting for an organ transplant. Some will go off the list because they received their transplant; some will go off the list because they didn't.
With all the negative publicity surrounding organ donation because of former Vice President Dick Cheney's heart transplant, clarification is needed.
No organ is just plopped into the first body needing a transplant. Numerous tests are performed to determine if a patient is even eligible to go on the waiting list.
After eligibility is established, the patient goes on the national waiting list.
With rare exception, the donor and recipient must match blood type and other indicators.
So, patients don't just "jump the line."
The need is so great, I want to ask everyone to register to be an organ donor, and to emphasize the extreme need for them.
We recycle many things -- paper, plastic, glass, etc. Recycle something really important -- our organs.
To register, go to www.donatelifetn.org