Save county funds by being silent
The continued unconstitutional recitation of Christian prayers at the opening of County Commission meetings will inevitably force litigation on a matter of what is settled law.
Likely, the county will hire politically connected law firms to defend what is constitutionally indefensible. For example, in 1979 the firm of Robert Kirk Walker was paid $100,000 for its losing effort in defending school prayer. By contrast, the winning attorney, John Alley, received only $18,000 for his fee.
In 2004, Bill Hullander posted the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, all to be taken down after losing litigation that cost the county $80,000.
The county attorney and his staff should be capable of litigating basic First Amendment issues such as these. After all, we annually budget their offices to the tune of $2 million.
The matter need go no further if this body would ask for a moment of silence before its weekly deliberations.
RON LAVENDAR, Red Bank
Candidate Miller leads by example
On Aug. 2, voters will go to the polls to elect their choices for various local offices. There are many outstanding qualified candidates. However, there is one who stands head and shoulders above the rest. I say this because I know that he has the proper background, experience, enthusiasm and integrity for this position.
The position is school board member for District 7, and the person is Ralph Miller.
I've known him since his growing-up years and becoming an outstanding student in high school and college, after which he became a successful band director.
When the possibility of advancement arose, he was promoted first to an assistant principal and later to principal in the Hamilton County school system. In all these varied roles, he excelled at hard work, enthusiasm for his profession, love for his students and teachers and a strong belief in "leading by example." I think this speaks "millions" for his love of education and his ability to be a strong school board member
I wish I could vote for him, but I can't. However, the people of District 7 can, and I hope will, cast their vote for Ralph Miller as their school board representative. It's an opportunity of a lifetime.
JAY CRAVEN, Retired music supervisor
Nevels' accepted, loved their son
Re: "Tempest in my soul," (June 24):
I know both Fred Steelman and Matt Nevels well. I was a member of Red Bank Baptist Church during much of the time both were staff members, as pastor and minister of education. To the best of my knowledge, both are fine Christian men. They disagree on some things, but what two people don't?
Homosexuality is sinful; so are many other things. All Christians have sinned many times. No one (except God) is perfect and sinless; that's why Jesus came and died on the cross. Praise God, He bore the sins of all believers!
Should the Nevels family have abandoned Stephen? They couldn't change him; only Stephen himself, with God's help, could have done that. But they accepted and loved him.
Practicing homosexuality is sinful. So is rejecting a homosexual.
Homosexuals aren't monsters
I'm growing tired of the letters in this section by people who constantly bash gays or people who think differently than themselves. I'm gay and was raised in a strict Baptist home. I can describe it as no less than an agonizing form of psychological child abuse, growing up having emotions that you cannot control or change, all the while being told you must change or face eternity in a burning hell. What shameful nonsense to tell a child, and I can tell you, it does not work.
Religion has left me with a scarred relationship with almost my entire family because they expect me to "change" when that is not possible, aside from me lying to myself and everyone else.
Homosexuality occurs in 1,500-plus species in the wild. Seems pretty natural to me. Perhaps it's your outdated holy book that is unnatural. I hope your outlook will change when you at some point realize someone close to you is homosexual. We are not monsters or deviants; we are people with the same rights as you.
We don't need more from Obama
Obama, the president of more government debt, more taxes, more business failures, more bankruptcies, more folks on food stamps, more home foreclosures, more unemployment, more security leaks, more blaming Bush, more bailouts, more cover-ups, more golf outings, more White House parties and more fundraisers. Do you really want more?
Target shooting not likely to start fires
A prominent article in Friday's edition (June 22) of the Times Free Press says that "authorities" blame 19 wildfires on target shooting. I've fired perhaps more than 10,000 rounds of small-bore ammunition, worked at the impact end of high-power rifle ranges during live fire matches, and was a licensed gunsmith and ammunition reloader for some few years. Those experiences indicate that this is somewhere between highly unlikely and utterly fabulous.
With very, very rare exceptions, all small-arms ammunition used by civilians is made of lead and brass -- no ferrous metals. Seldom does a civilian have access to military ammunition containing "tracer" compound, or armor-piercing, hardened projectiles. In many years of shooting experience, I have never witnessed any of these military cartridges used by civilians.
It is impossible to generate sparks with lead and brass bullets. So how could target shooters start fires with their guns? It seems much more likely that their cigarettes would do so! So I have to wonder if those unnamed authorities or the Associated Press reporter (also unnamed) have an anti-gun bias causing them to blame guns for these fires.
Little wants to give back
Mike Little is a resident of Soddy-Daisy, and he has been my neighbor for 12 years. Our children grew up together. Mike is a loyal husband and father. If Mike is not at work he is with his family. He has been involved in his children's youth activities on the ballfield and in church.
Mike told me why he wanted to be the city judge. He wants to take the 21 years of courtroom experience that he has acquired and give back to his community. A resident of Soddy-Daisy has never been elected as the city judge, and he felt that was an important issue to the people of Soddy-Daisy. Most people are unaware of this, including myself. Please help me by electing Mike Little to be the next Soddy-Daisy judge.
BOB SNIPES, Soddy-Daisy
Schools turnover cause for concern
One public school system. Two stories Sunday (July 1) and two inquiring comments.
You report that the Hamilton County Schools incurred $70,000 in bad debt last year for unpaid school lunches. Surely it's not necessary for the locals to call in the feds (USDA) to prevent this in the future.
David Cook writes about the massive administrative shuffle over the summer: 25 new principals; two-thirds of the schools with new leadership. He wonders why, and well he should. Having taught and administered for now 40 years, I have a pretty good idea what makes for effective schools, and that's strong faculties (including administrators). Enlightened, supportive school leadership, coupled with a keen sense of collegiality among those who see themselves as co-workers, make for strong faculties and effective schools. Certainly there are other factors, including dedication and competence in the classrooms and committed parents at home, but the bottom line is that there is nothing more disruptive to school progress than massive turnover in personnel. Surely half of last year's principals were not misplaced. David Cook has every right to ask "Why?"
GARY LINDLEY, Lookout Mountain, Ga.