Without a doubt the article (Sunday, front page) about Mr. Nevels, his wife and family is the most soul-searching article written about alternative lifestyles I have ever read. In addition, it struck a chord because my church turned its back on a young man struggling with this same issue. I did not and still do not approve of that action but unfortunately I was in the minority.
The Bible is a guide for us to live by. It has been translated many times over the years.
I believe in a God of love. I believe in "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." I believe God loves everyone -- gay, straight, black, white and anything in between.
M. JEAN MERRITT
I was glad when a new produce store opened on Signal Mountain because it stayed open until 7 p.m. I work downtown until 5:30. Most times I don't leave until closer to 6. It was nice to stop there on my way home. It's great knowing I'm supporting local farmers and a Signal Mountain business. However, the store now closes at 6 p.m.
Now, I can't buy fresh local produce anymore on my way home. Actually, I can't buy anything on Signal Mountain on my way home from work unless it's at one of the big chain stores, gas stations or restaurants. None of the small businesses have evening hours. I can't buy a book, toy or shoes. How am I supposed to support local business and keep my money in my town when the businesses are closed when I get home from work?
Am I supposed to spend my entire Saturday running from shop to shop? If I wanted to waste my Saturday shopping, I'd go to a mall. Small-business owners complain that large corporations are driving them out of business. Well, large corporations stay open when it's convenient for consumers to shop. Small businesses should do the same.
The story about the Nevels family (Sunday, front page) is a high point in journalism for your paper in the last nine years that I have been reading.
THE REV. JEFF BRIERE
The voters in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District have been duped once on term limits. There aren't going to be any term limits. Congress is all about seniority. Why not return our current conservative and hard-working Congressman Chuck Fleischmann to Washington and let Chuck continue to build seniority. He has been there almost two years learning the ways of our federal government and listening to the citizens of the 3rd District as to their needs. Why replace a good man with another? Vote for Chuck on Aug. 2.
I thank you for Sunday's front-page story, "Tempest in my soul." It was a helpful reflection of where our community stands in relation to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It saddens me to think of the pain Matt and Frances Nevels suffered due to the division within the body of Christ over this issue.
I regret that my own denomination, United Methodist, has failed to be more inclusive. While the Methodist Book of Discipline claims that "Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth," we withhold the right of ordination from church members who are homosexual and disallow our clergy from performing same-sex marriages in states where it is legal.
When any church or denomination fails to grant homosexual persons the same rights, privileges and responsibilities which we grant heterosexual persons, we become part of a culture which leads to bullying and sometimes suicide.
I have no doubt that in time United Methodism will grant the same equality to homosexuals that it now affords heterosexuals. My fear is that history will record Methodism as the taillight rather the headlight on this issue, with tragic consequences for such people as Stephen Nevels and his parents.
THE REV. CHARLES NEAL
I believe that attorney Christian Lanier is the best choice to be the Soddy-Daisy judge. I have known Chris since 1980. We worked together on a Jaycee project. He has demonstrated hard work, know-how and leadership. He subsequently became the president of the organization. His honesty and integrity are of the highest order. He has many hours of courtroom experience and a great knowledge of law.
I have referred him to friends, and in every case they were extremely satisfied with his performance. I would have included a list of his vast amounts of accomplishments but there isn't enough room.
Now that fire ants have invaded the Tennessee Valley -- there's a big fire-ant mound in my front yard that came back again this year -- I'd like to pass on a tip I learned while fighting the little devils in San Antonio. Plain old cheap household ammonia, applied a drop at a time to the bite sites, will instantly give relief to the burning and itching of the bite. If the bite site starts to itch again a day or two later, another drop of ammonia will work again. It's cheap and effective, and it may work on other insect bites and stings.
After reading the article in the Times Free Press (June 23) about one of our local U.S. Congress representatives, I will endorse (if it matters) and vote for Weston Wamp (this does matter). I was disgusted to hear of the denials of guilt in past and present underhanded and what I would say were illegal campaigning ethics. I was reminded of a past U.S. president who was run out of office for such campaigning procedures.
Therefore, I urge everyone to evaluate how they are going to vote, and while doing so take a good look at the record both as an incumbent and their personal ethical values. Seems to me that those values are lost when one gets the taste of power and money. Shame on us for putting someone in office who wants only those things rather than what is best for their constituents, and shame on those who portray themselves as something they are not ... honest.
So, young Wamp, you have an old man's vote, and "It does matter to me" that you run the rooster out of the hen house.
We need to keep Jim Cobb in District 31. We do not need a part-time representative. His opponent has a full-time job and also a special interest. That's the last thing we need!
We need someone who will be in Nashville doing his job, not back home running his businesses. Do you want to pay full-time pay for part-time work? I do not.
Jim has done a very good job and helped many people. He has helped the fire departments, senior centers and many others.
After the storms in April, Jim was out there with his chainsaw helping people clear the damage, and with food and money.
Jim really cares about people.
If it isn't broke, don't fix it.
I had much rather have someone who I know will do what they say they will do than take a chance on someone who I do not know.
You and I both know that many of those running will tell you anything to get in office and then not follow through with it.
Just think before you vote. Vote the man, not the party.
Spring City, Tenn.