Thank you, Chattanooga Times Free Press for producing a product that not only brings news to our community, but also inspires us by including stories with heart.
Today's examples: The commentary on author Mitch Albom enlightened readers about the philanthropic side of his fame. A news short reported on the volunteers in Novi, Mich., who packed more than 2 million meals to be shipped to hungry children in distant lands. David Cook contributed a sensitive column on loving those who are different from us. An article about the success of a local charter school described what having high expectations can accomplish.
We need to know these things! Awareness of how many good people are quietly working to relieve suffering and bring improvement where needed, balancing the assault of bad news so prevalent in the media.
Why have I subscribed to your newspaper (and its predecessors) continuously since moving to Chattanooga 24 years ago? Because, in addition to headline news, it informs and educates me about local, national and international citizens who inspire me and restore my faith in the overwhelming goodness of humankind.
Thank you for keeping your focus on what is good about Chattanooga and our world. Your readers are grateful!
GINNY MININGER, Soddy-Daisy
In response to a recent letter entitled "Homophobia: The Pandemic," the writer's attempt at stating that some people are born homosexual is entirely wrong. A newborn baby has no thoughts or perceptions of any sexual orientation; this is a learned behavior. In Malachi 3:6, God states that he does not change, homosexuality is an abomination to him. It was then, and it still is now. God is not going to allow an infant to be born with a sin instantly implanted with him or her. People need to think more about the words of Isaiah 5:20: "Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil." I don't believe God just haphazardly threw that comment out there, he really meant us to remember: "Woe unto us if we don't obey him."
JEAN RICKARD, Hixson
The Times Free Press is an unusual newspaper with its two editorial pages and the opportunity they provide to ponder different perspectives on important issues. Many times though, I shake my head at the content submitted through letters to the editor. Often the letters simply proselytize or lack any factual basis, thus, offer little substance for critical thinking. Not useful. However, the letter in the TFP's Feb. 21st edition that slams Islam and Muslims is shameful bigotry. Please editors, what is the point?
MARY LEE RICE
Anyone up for another set of recalls? Apparently we've got five county commissioners and one sheriff who need a reality check!! Thank you, Jim Hammond, for the inane and asinine idea you presented the commission regarding citing speeders without ever having to be pulled over. As for the commission, I'm curious why you "snuck" this by the residents of Hamilton County? As your agenda meeting was canceled recently due to snow, you doubled up and did not allow the citizenry of Hamilton County to provide feedback to their respective elected officials. I've never led a recall, but I'm anxious to help! I'll stand in snow, sleet, rain, etc., to help get rid of these allegedly "ineffective" representatives. The City Council stirred the hornet's nest, and look at the backlash they have received. I hope the same type of backlash happens to county commissioners, as well. Remember, election primaries are coming up! Get rid of all of the incumbents and let's start over.
RUSTY MUNGER, East Ridge
One of our former presidents once stated, "Facts are stubborn things." However, we know that if a fact appears incorrectly in print some people will believe it. If it appears enough times incorrectly many people will consider it to be accurate. With all due respect to Ron Hart in his op-ed piece on Friday, Feb. 21, titled "UAW's Southern exposure," Tennessee is not called the Volunteer State "because they know they cannot make you live there." Tennessee was first called the Volunteer State after Gov. Willie Blount called for men from Tennessee to defend the lowland in the War of 1812 against the British. Some 2,000 Tennesseans volunteered and fought under the command of Gen. Andrew Jackson defeating Gen. Pakenham and his "redcoats" during the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815.
KENNETH BARKER, Hixson
Having fought forced annexation across Tennessee for more than 15 years, I want to thank Sabrena Turner for all she has done for our cause.
I met Sabrena and other concerned property owners in 2009. I told them this fight would last for years; it would be in courts and at the ballot box. I told them to raise a lot of money. Their efforts and money-raising successes were overwhelming. Their actions stopped forced annexation.
Sabrena and Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation prevented thousands of residents and property owners from being forcefully taken into the city five years ago. Chattanooga would have already collected millions of dollars of taxes from its victims. But these citizens fought forced annexation.
I am delighted Sabrena is running for Hamilton County Commission, District 7. We desperately need people in local government challenging the powers that be without being intimidated. We need people with courage to stand up and lead the fight!
I have no doubt about Sabrena's courage, judgment, and integrity. I am thankful she's been in this struggle against forced annexation from the get-go. I wish her success as she seeks to represent the citizens of District 7.
JOHN AVERY EMISON, Ph.D., Alamo, Tenn.
While I appreciate the passion for education that an Oak Ridge reader displayed in his letter, published Thursday, Feb. 20, it contains several inaccuracies. As chancellor of WGU Tennessee, I want to set the record straight. Here are the facts:
WGU Tennessee pays for all of its own advertisements. Mr. John Ingram, not Tom Ingram, serves as chairman of our statewide advisory board. This is an unpaid, volunteer position. WGU Tennessee students are not eligible for the Hope Scholarship funded by the Tennessee Lottery.
WGU Tennessee is a nonprofit, accredited university launched with one goal in mind -- to help working Tennesseans pursue higher education. We continue to work hand in hand with schools across the state in support of Gov. Haslam's Drive to 55 effort to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by 2025. With nearly a million Tennesseans in need of a bachelor's degree and many more who hope to pursue a master's, it will take all of us to get the job done.
DR. KIMBERLY K. ESTEP, chancellor, WGU Tennessee
I'm writing in response to a Feb. 18 post from a person who says if Jesus were here today he would tell everyone to lay down their guns, and he probably would. However, he's not here yet, so we should go by the instructions he gave to his disciples when he was here. In Luke 22:36-38 Jesus tells his disciples: "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever does not have a sword to sell his coat and buy one."
To me it sounds like Jesus wants his disciples to protect themselves and their possessions and, if necessary, use force. The person mentioned above said they would do what Jesus would do and not own a gun. Maybe they should read the entire Bible to see what Jesus really said, and not pick and choose only passages that support their liberal, pacifist agenda. I could not stand by and watch thugs molest my wife or daughter and steal our possessions. I choose to follow what Jesus told his disciples to do.