Publication:Johnson City Press; Date:Feb 29, 2008; Section:Opinion; Page Number:6A

Research voting records before choosing a candidate

    I always look at a politician’s voting record before I believe what he or she says. The presidential candidates’ voting records related to looking for new ways to create energy and reduce greenhouse gases speak for themselves. The presidential candidates’ scores all suffered from running a campaign creating some absenteeism.

    Here are their 2007 scores with votes related to the energy and environment: Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., missed four votes each in 2007, although both made a point of being present for the key vote that would have allowed a version of the energy bill to move forward that included a provision to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil and put that money toward clean energy programs. Clinton’s score in 2007 was 73 percent (87 percent lifetime); Obama’s was 67 percent (86 percent lifetime).

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., scored 0 percent in 2007 (24 percent lifetime) due to missing all 15 votes scored, including the key vote on repealing tax giveaways to big oil — a measure that failed by only one vote: McCain’s.

    You, the voter, cannot claim ignorance anymore. You must be a responsible U.S. citizen and make an informed decision on who you can depend on to move our country forward in beating global warming, and finding new sources of energy besides oil and coal. Will you vote with polluters and special interests, or will you vote as a good steward of this planet that God entrusted us with?



Evolution and Christianity

    I am writing to express my support for Pastor John Shuck of Elizabethton and his Evolution Sunday. It takes great courage to have an event like this in an area where so many have been falsely led to believe that the Bible is a scientific text to be taken literally, and are downright vicious to anyone who believes otherwise.

    Pastor Shuck proves that you do not have to remain purposely ignorant of scientific fact in order to have Christian faith. And yes, evolution is a scientific fact, not just a theory. All reputable scientists agree that evolution happened and is still happening; the only debate is over its exact mechanisms. Funny how these Christian fundamentalists love science when it makes their cars run, lights their homes, or cures a loved one of a serious illness, but that same science is completely wrong when it comes to evolution.

    If you need every word in the Bible to be true in order to be a Christian, you’re in big trouble, considering that the Bible contradicts itself repeatedly — for instance, there are two different versions of creation in Genesis. Plus I don’t see any biblical literalists killing adulterers or mouthy sons, as the Bible also commands. If you must have every word in the Bible be true for you to believe, then you have no real faith.

    I could not be more thrilled that Elizabethton has someone like Pastor Shuck. Go John.



‘Protecting English’ bill

    Recently, Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, filed House Bill 3096, which is titled “Protecting English in the Tennessee Workplace Act.” The bill states “... it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require an employee to speak, or an applicant for employment to agree to speak, English while engaged in work.”

    Does this mean we can’t pick up the phone and order lunch from a Mexican restaurant anymore? What about saying “Los Angeles?” Or better yet “Vaya con Dios” (Go with God)? I say that phrase often and I am a legal resident of Tennessee.

    I would have to assume that if Hill has his way, then even Jesus could not work in Tennessee since he spoke in Aramaic.

    Also, foreign language teachers are under threat of dismissal under this xenophobic discriminatory bill. Since this bill allows employers to require employees to speak “English” only, writing in other languages such as Aramaic or Spanish will apparently be OK. Perhaps Hill can file a bill next year that would prohibit that activity too, but we can only hope that the voters in the 7th District will not send him back to Nashville.

    Until then, saying such words as “Los Angeles” while at work could be a reason to get you fired — that is, if Hill has his way. GARY WILLIAM MELVIN Bluff City

Guns are deadly weapons

    The debate on the freedoms of those who have carry permits seems to be more prevalent now than I can previously remember. Earlier the debate was whether students and teachers should carry guns in college, and now it is on carrying firearms in bars.

    I always hear people say that “police can’t be everywhere,” and the citizens who carry firearms can fill the space the police force cannot. This argument can only be called invalid. If citizens want to help the police they should join the force. A simple citizen who took a class and is allowed to carry a weapon is absolutely no substitute for an officer of the law who has had years of training.

    People seem to take lightly the fact that firearms are made to kill and injure. It is disgusting that people who are for carrying deadly weapons everywhere take the responsibility with a grain of salt. The act of drawing that weapon means taking responsibility for every single life around you.

    We seem to forget that there is more to this situation, and I personally will never feel safe as long as people insist that we surround ourselves with tools made to kill.


Johnson City