Warning about dechurching U.S. and more letters to the editors

Warning about dechurching U.S.

Believers or unbelievers, if you care about the future of our country, please read the article on page E4 of the Sunday, Oct. 1, Times Free Press headlined "What's behind America's 'great dechurching'?"

Start with the last paragraph of the article.

Mary Alice Wyatt

U.S. paying bribes not unusual in history

In a criticism of the recent Iran-U.S. prisoner exchange, a recent Ranter referred to a phrase spoken by C.C. Pinckney, an American diplomat involved with the famous XYZ Affair: "Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute."

Americans often paid bribes to foreign states. After independence, the U.S. no longer had the protection of the British Navy against the Barbary pirates, who routinely seized American ships and held crews for ransom. In 1783, Congress paid $80,000 to free the captives. In 1793, pirates captured 11 ships and more than 100 sailors. A subsequent treaty cost us more than $1 million.

In the 1790s, France was at the peak of her naval powers and routinely violated American shipping rights worldwide. Three French agents (XYZ) demanded a bribe for $250,000. Initially, American diplomats were willing to pay a bribe if the negotiations would succeed. When no settlement was possible, they refused to pay the ransom. They played it for all it was worth.

Not until after the War of 1812 did the United States finally secure free passage of the Mediterranean.

Michael V. Woodward

How we can end our crime epidemic

In reaction to the senseless killing of Chris Wright by lifetime criminal Darryl Roberts, I heard Mayor Tim Kelly and Mayor Weston Wamp say they are tired of gun violence. Wrong term, mayors. It is people violence. And those in power, our political class, in our county, city, state and country, have failed to keep the population safe by not locking up people like Roberts and keeping them locked up. We have a spineless group of politicians, judges and prosecutors who are giving more rights to the criminals than they are to the victims.

Here is a list of things we need to do to rid the nation of this crime epidemic:

› No plea bargains

› No first-offense probation

› Prosecute on every count, not just the main charge

› Maximum sentences for repeat offenders

› No early parole, for any reason

› More jails or larger jails

Get behind our police force and stop reacting to the cry of "excessive force."

It is a tough job, mistakes will be made, but they need our support on every call.

Our political class should be apologizing to the Wright family for letting them down and costing this life. My condolences to the Wright family.

David D. Anderson Sr.

Legislative influence? Just follow the money

The Tennessee Lookout recently reviewed the enactment of the Tennessee Broadband Investment Maximization Act. It seems that toward the end of the 2022 legislative session, the legislature passed the act and granted a three-year sales tax exemption to broadband companies for the purchase of equipment to improve or expand high-speed internet networks. The annual tax savings were estimated to be $68 million per year.

An initial version of the Act included a provision to remove barriers for nonprofit electric cooperatives to build more high-speed networks in rural areas. But as Tennessee Lookout reported, AT&T successfully lobbied for the bill to change into only a tax cut, and as the largest private broadband company in Tennessee, AT&T is likely to receive the lion's share of the tax benefit.

One may wonder how AT&T gained such influence over the legislature. Well, follow the money. Since 2009, AT&T has spent $9.6 million to influence Tennessee's state politics, according to a database created by Tennessee Lookout. Which brings us to the recent special legislative session. Just weeks after the Nashville school shooting that killed six people, the legislature passed a law that protects gun and ammunition dealers, manufacturers and sellers against lawsuits. However, the legislature declined to consider other legislation that would provide a modicum of protection for the public from firearm violence.

Let's hope that before the next legislative session there is full disclosure of the money spent, directly and indirectly, by gun and ammunition dealers, manufacturers and sellers and the National Rifle Association to influence Tennessee's state politics. The public can judge whether the actions or inactions of the legislature are again consistent with the old saw, follow the money.

Richard Gossett

Moms for Liberty, how about these?

We should be grateful for the Moms For Liberty movement and its work in pointing out the dangers of "drag shows" and to our state legislators for appropriate action on this issue. Little did we realize this scourge has been in our midst for a long time, perpetuated by Hollywood movies such as "Some Like It Hot," "Tootsie," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and the "Madea" series. They all feature men in drag.

I have been asked by a friend if these films should be viewed by those under 18 years of age in light of the potential danger these movies represent. I hope the patriots who crafted these laws will provide some guidance on this issue.

Jackson Taubert

Signal Mountain

Vote Taliban-like GOP legislators out

Once again, we the people of Tennessee won against our supposed representatives, the supermajority GOP legislature. Because their harmful, almost complete ban on abortion caused (as they knew it would) the withdrawal of Title X funds, the state would be responsible for providing contraceptive products, pregnancy testing and counseling, infertility services, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, among other services.

Well, we all knew how that would go. Instead, the money has been shifted to Planned Parenthood and partners in the state to provide those much-needed services.

Will the Taliban-like Tennessee GOP not be satisfied until we women are fully covered, with only slits for our eyes and walking 10 paces behind our required male escorts? When will we stand up and say enough? Vote them out.

Sue Carol Elvin

GOP supporting Milley death call?

Is it really possible that a man who once served as the president of the United States has published a statement calling for the leading soldier of our country, the (now former) chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, to be "executed"?

Is it also possible that the party he represents, the Republican Party, formerly known for being vociferous in support of our nation's fighting men and women in uniform, has not seen one leading elected Republican official at any level rise up to strongly condemn such a crass and dangerous statement?

Franklin McCallie