Song's lyrics make a difference
Recently I was cutting my grass. I enjoy being outside as it seems that God is usually wanting to share some of His goodness with me. As is common in this setting, a song came to mind, and I began singing "America the Beautiful," a song I remember from my grammar school days at Normal Park Elementary School. I do not remember if it was in the class of Ms. Cushman, Turner or Stewart, but I do remember the sincerity with which all us kids sang the song.
There are many things that I do not remember, but the words to this song rang loudly and clearly in my mind. I must have sung and made recollections for 25 minutes until it became so meaningful that I stopped the mower and came in and shared the words with my wife.
Regretfully, I do not hear the song much today. If you remember singing the song, join me. If you do not, I encourage you to say the words several times until it rests in your mind and makes a difference - a difference in how we assemble and live together as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
FLETCHER SIMS, Signal Mountain
No exemptions for U.S. workers
I believe a prime reason our government is in gridlock and so little progress is made by Washington lawmakers is politicians' ability to exempt themselves, federal agencies and federal governing bodies from legislation which federal lawmakers introduce and pass, such as the new health-care law. If a law is good and beneficial for individual citizens, states or specific groups, is it not also good and beneficial for those who impose such laws?
Will they sponsor a bill, which requires all federal agencies and officials, elected or appointed, and all government workers to be bound by all laws, legislation or legal rulings, which are enacted or imposed by federal lawmakers or judicial rulings? No grandfather clauses allowing exemption from past legislation or judicial rulings. If it is on the books and applicable, then they are bound to follow the letter of the law or ruling.
RICHARD MOORE, McDonald, Tenn.
Where does it all stop?
First Boston, now Philadelphia and Chicago, have told Chick-fil-A that it is not welcome in their cities because of their CEO's opposition to gay marriage. Maybe the next step will be to make that a general policy - anyone wanting to start a business in those cities will have to agree with gay marriage. A no-tolerance policy for "intolerance."
But why stop there? Why not make gay marriage a litmus test for anyone wanting to reside there? And why stop at gay marriage? Why not a questionnaire testing assent to the emerging secular orthodoxy on any number of questions?
The logic of it all is stunningly Orwellian: you can believe anything you want, say anything you want, so long as you agree with me. This is where absolute freedom, absolute tolerance and absolute relativism (oh my goodness, did I put those two words together?) have led us.
I'm confused. All of this is too complicated for me. But one thing I do know. The next time I go out to eat, I'm going to Chick-fil-A.
HERBERT K. LEA, Chickamauga, Ga.
Defense reductions bad for country
The economic impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (or Sequestration) for the Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD agencies, effective Jan. 2, 2013, is estimated to reduce the nation's GDP by $215 billion, decrease work force earnings by $109 billion and cost the economy 2.14 million jobs, according to a study released by Stephen S. Fuller, director, Center for Regional Analysis, George Mason University. Additional impact consequences created by decreased state revenues aren't included. Afghanistan activities savings won't apply to sequestration.
DOD procurement reduction of $49.6 billion and payroll decrease of $7.1 billion total $56.7 billion in FY2013 budget cuts. Non-DOD budget cuts total $56.7 billion. Budget cuts will continue through FY2022.
Sequestration will force the smallest Army since 1900, the smallest Navy since 1916 and the smallest Air Force in history.
B-52 bombers and KC-135 tankers average over 50 years old.
The current USAF aircraft replacement rate for its fleet is at 100 years.
Budget cuts will cause long-term damage to the defense industry. Lockheed has 9,000 defense programs in its portfolio. Procurement programs will be cut or eliminated. Reductions will lead to a "lost generation" of highly skilled workers. Small manufacturers will go out of business.
ARTHUR R. MacFADDEN, Lt. Col. (Ret.) USAF
Some areas don't give atheists an ear
Your writer David Cook urges Christians (July 27 column) to not use public prayer as a sledgehammer to intimidate or coerce non-Christians. Fair enough. He goes on to remind Christ-followers to defer and to serve; herein lies the path to "kingdom come." Also fair enough.
In the accompanying news story, both plaintiffs in the local prayer controversy identify themselves as atheists, and a woman who testified on their behalf is identified as a Muslim. Fair enough, but in the great gray area which is our First Amendment and its interpretation, let this be noted: In those countries which have officially embraced atheism, judicial proceedings to protect the rights of a minority, religious or otherwise, are non-existent; Coleman and Jones would never receive a hearing. In those countries which are Islamic, religious freedom in any meaningful sense is non-existent; a Christian woman's voice would never be heard in a Muslim court.
Public prayer is a constitutional conundrum. That our understanding of religious freedom has a biblical foundation is crystal-clear.
GARY LINDLEY, Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Business behavior needs a close look
Although I disagree with Chick-fil-A's position on gay marriages, that won't mean that I won't enjoy their chicken sandwich every once in a while. That being said, Chick-fil-A is not the only fast-food restaurant that supports right-wing causes. Just about all of them feel that a Republican administration would give them more free reign to poison people. That does not mean you won't catch me walking out of a Taco Bell.
I did, however, switch phone companies from AT&T to CREDO because they donate some of their profits to progressive causes. I switched cable service from Comcast to EPBFI because (and this is the most important reason of all) their customer service center is right here in Chattanooga, whereas Comcast outsources to Mexico and Asia.
So to me, this issue about where you will spend your money, according to the businesses' behavior, goes a lot further than just Chick-fil-A and gay rights.
Churches pray together publicly
David Cook's column (July 27) just doesn't get it. Atheists feel "Excluded ... Unwelcome ... out of place ...They don't want me." How do Christians feel when told "Shut up"?
Atheists are "seeking an equal place," yet "one side is going to lose"? He doesn't get it. Atheists are trying to impose their point of view, replacing a semi-Christian point of view. "Equal"?
Which view is right? Does he even know the question? My wife and her mother have experienced miracles, so atheism is wrong. Islam offers no miracles, no death and resurrection of Christ showing God's love and power, and no good governments: Saudi Arabia outlaws church buildings and meetings. That's wrong, too.
Jesus and public prayer? Cook doesn't get it. Obviously churches pray together publicly (Acts, chapters 2 and 4). King David's psalms are public. Rulers are God's deacons (Romans 13); of course they can acknowledge God and ask His help if they choose. It'd better not be mere show - those who pray in public had better be praying in private too - but it's OK.