Faith, when based on ignorance and misinterpretation of scripture, is not beautiful. Snake-handling is a circus side show used by Satan to deceive believers and to confirm nonbelievers' opinion of Christianity.
During the turbulent Vietnam war protests, I was an operator at Purdue University's accelerator, a machine used for research in physics. One day when I walked in the control room, the mood was somber, even mournful. Dr. Robert Fassnacht, a physics researcher at the University of Wisconsin, had been killed the night before by a bombing at the Wisconsin accelerator. Dr. Fassnacht had been a friend to two of our young professors when they were students at Wisconsin. He was killed by the bomb at about 3 a.m. Our management determined the most likely time for a bombing was at night, and the most likely person to be bombed was the nighttime operator -- me. Is bombing fellow citizens an effective way to persuade people? Bill Ayers, who organized the Weathermen Underground and planned many of the bombings, said recently he wished he had bombed more. I think bombing and other desperate actions actually damage public support for a cause. At this time, when our government is facing bankruptcy but wasting billions of dollars, extremists on both sides need to sober up and start working jointly to solve our problems. We need fewer radicals and more teamwork.
JOHN KUECK Spring City, Tenn.
Ron Parson is, without a doubt, the best candidate for Circuit Court clerk. Parson has been serving the citizens of Hamilton County for more than 40 years as a high-ranking law enforcement official. During his time working for the citizens of Hamilton County, he has gone above and beyond to assist those in need. Parson understands that being available to hear the voice of the people is of utmost importance and is well-known for making sure he makes time to address the needs of those living in this great county. Parson is renowned for his community service and charitable works. Parson has a long-standing reputation of being a force for the people in Hamilton County, helping the homeless population find shelter and safety during dangerously cold weather, and providing much needed relief in the wake of the 2011 and 2012 tornadoes. During this time, Parson spent countless hours searching for lost family members and distributing supplies to those whose lives were devastated. Parson is the only candidate who has demonstrated such a commitment to serving the real needs of Hamilton County citizens, and it is because of his ability to stand up for what is right and fair that Ron Parson is the only choice for Circuit Court clerk.
JANET FRITZ, Signal Mountain
In Ohio, a bill was introduced that would legislate homeschooling out of existence. It would demand that both parents and all children be tested by a social worker before they would be permitted to home-school. To legislate it out of existence is certainly not in the interests of a free nation. It would be a great step toward a mind-controlling dictatorship. The average home-schooled child scores in the 79th percentile in the SAT. The reason is homschooling is more accurately called home tutoring, with all its one-on-one advantages. For one example, all children have varying degrees of proficiency in different subjects. If Johnny scores in the 90th percentile in history, but only the 20th percentile in math, his parents can coast along on history while they concentrate on math. A school teacher with many students has to teach to the median. Johnny is bored to death in history, but utterly frustrated trying to get math concepts at the rate they are coming.
DR. TOM HERZOG
The voting public of District 7 will have an opportunity to elect an energetic young man for commissioner, namely Perry Perkins. Having worked with Perry on many fundraisers, for both the Shriners and the Eagles Fraternity, I know how meticulous his approach can be on the things he believes in. For many years, Perry was the driving force for the D.A.R.E. program in Hamilton County, and also in Dade County, Ga. Under his leadership the Eagle Fraternity raised over $15,000 for D.A.R.E. scholarships. I believe that with his known high standards, Perry will provide District 7 with the leadership and consistency necessary to be effective for the district. I would urge the voting public of District 7 to make Perry your next commissioner.
BILL WEBSTER, Cloudland, Ga.
Our dear snake-handling friends, as sincere as they might be, sadly confuse faith with presumption. God never intended us deliberately to expose ourselves to danger and then expect him to rescue us. That is a tragic misconception. When Paul was accidentally bitten by a snake, the Lord healed him, in accordance with the promise in Mark 16:17-18. (see Acts 28:3-5). And Jesus, when tempted by the devil to jump from the top of the temple by misquoting a similar Bible promise, said, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God'" (Matthew 4:5-7). There is a fine line between faith and presumption, but this one seems pretty obvious.
JAMES HOFFER, Ringgold, Ga.