I am writing concerning a letter in the paper by Brother Ron Fender who was denouncing homophobia that is rampant in many churches in our area. I have known Brother Ron since he came to Chattanooga to work with the homeless so very effectively several years ago. I was honored to be a host in his first homeless shelter in Chattanooga, so I know first hand of his dedication to those who have nothing. He spoke of Pastor Brian Cosby's editorial which compared gays to alcoholics and demonstrated little understanding of problems they face for a lifestyle they were assigned by their maker. I have lived more than 90 years in the South and understand this "Bible thumping" that determines our region, but let's look at the basics that Jesus taught; demonstrate nonjudgment and love for all mankind: cloth the naked, feed the hungry, minister to the sick, and visit the imprisoned. Love trumps dogma.
FRANCIS A. GREEN, D.D.S., Chickamauga, Ga.
Andy Sher's article entitled "Ron Ramsey: No apologies for controversial 9/11 tweet" introduces an interesting new perspective on the Syria issue.
Most of the debate thus far has been focused on whether America should involve itself in the national affairs of foreign countries, but Ramsey claims that the rebels are not worth assisting in the first place - that the rebels are "our enemies who continue to hate our country from afar as they kill Christians in their own country."
But Ramsey's claim that America should be enemies with the Syrian rebels based on religious reasons would, if taken into practice, be a clear violation of past Supreme Court decisions that prevent America from favoring any religion.
Not only is Ramsey's position appalling from a humanistic standpoint, his reasoning is politically faulted.
MICHAEL TREVINO, Ooltewah
Have been meaning to write since "Odessa," the dog available at the McKamey Animal Center, was printed. That was such a touching and beautiful photo. Congratulations to Tim Barber and all the other staff photographers you have.
Another thing, could you please make the comics a little larger. We "old" people have trouble reading them and we need a laugh.
SHIRLEY GADD, Spring City, Tenn.
Your guest columnist, Roger Smith, appears to be a more palatable conservative, at least to the many local social conservatives. He, unofficially I suppose, seems to be writing a series of attacks on "lefties." I would like to take some credit for him not automatically calling every prominent spokesman of the Left a "commie" although he impugns as hard as he feels he can get away with. He needs to be careful. The founder of the John Birch Society called Dwight Eisenhower a communist and was laughed at. He cautions against being like his non-voting friend who desires to "work hard, enjoy life and (expire)." That doesn't sound so bad to me. I have a brother who, surrounded by siblings on the left and right, prefers not to vote as he disagrees with both views. I might mock him if he wasn't so intelligent. A question I have pondered for a long time is: Why are those on the "hard right" so miserable? Work hard and enjoy life!
BYRON CHAPIN, Hixson
Nothing defines the American political psyche more than the fact that we don't like to pay taxes. Our founding fathers' mantra was "no taxation without representation." They really meant "No taxation, period!" No campaign rhetoric gets more votes today than a promise to lower taxes.
Ironically, middle income Americans who pay substantial income and sales taxes will readily support cuts in income, capital gains and estate taxes for millionaires who need them the least. They approve theses reductions even though it might cause their own taxes to increase. They are also easily persuaded that we desperately need "tax relief" (George W.'s terminology), even though our tax rate is the third lowest in the developed world and the absolute lowest among the wealthiest nations. The American middle class has been taken in.
But we come by this anti-tax mystique honestly, it traces back to our roots. A nation founded on a tax revolt, Americans seem to have a natural "aversion" not only to taxes, but to government in general.
Possibly due to a psychological phenomenon called "last place aversion," throughout our history our tax policies have mostly favored entrenched wealth over the average American. We need to rethink some things.
GEORGE B. REED JR., Rossville
There seems to be a "we are not accepting Medicare patients" club among some of our private physicians at present. Even though I have a supplement insurance, I have been refused by at least four physician offices in one week.
So, I suppose medicare recipients who do not already have a physician will have to join the long line of patients at the health centers. If you have a physician - pray that they won't leave office, retire or pass away, because your Medicare coverage may not be accepted by some offices.
PAULINE P. HALL