The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 12, 2013

Readers' Forum 1-12 | Gov’t, society favor warfare over welfare

Submitted by Readers

— It took only a few days in Congress for Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Allegheny, to exhibit what kind of congressman he intends to be.

Rothfus voted against emergency aid to the areas effected by Superstorm Sandy. He was one of 60 congressmen and women (all Republicans) to vote against the measure, and one of 17 newly sworn-in House members.

I have always found it incredulous that our government and society will gladly support warfare (war and defense spending) but disdain programs intended to help those in need, otherwise known as welfare.

Gone are the days when our congressman will place people ahead of ideology. At least Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, voted in favor of the bill, recognizing that, deficit or not, human needs must be addressed.

If our government were to reduce defense spending by 5 percent per year for 10 years, we would not have to have these types of discussions. However, the president and members of Congress accomplished a budget compromise rather than implementing mandatory cuts in defense spending.

I am outraged to think that our government wants to cut the funding for medical care for everyday Americans, yet wishes to increase funding for a military that was responsible for more than 100,000 deaths of innocent civilians during the recently concluded war in Iran.

Unfortunately, this is the type of government we will have if we continue to elect those whose values are out of line with what is moral and just.

Richard J. Holsinger


Removing prayer not linked to violence

On a TV cop show, officers grill the suspect. “Why did you kill him?” they ask.

“Well, it all started when they took prayer out of my school. ...”


The United States had money that didn’t contain any sayings. Then it said “E pluribus unum.” Eventually, someone decided it should say “In God We Trust” so nobody would mistake us for Commies. Funny, that didn’t stop the bank robbers, or drug lords, or greedy fat cats with stashes in the Caymans. They have more “In God We Trust” than most people will see in several lifetimes.

For good measure, someone inserted “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance. The United States is not, and never will be, a theocracy. The wannabe Christian Taliban has gone way too far if it thinks otherwise.

Don’t tell me school prayer solves everything. I taught in a religious school, where my students prayed at the start of school, before bathroom break, after bathroom break, at lunch, at lunch again (the Angelus), before recess, after recess and before they left school. Bus riders also said the Rosary coming and going. All that praying, and still there were fights, cheating, lying and stealing and lots of pedophile priests.

This area does indeed cling to its guns and religion. There’s no need to get all huffy, to “reload” and come looking for me.

The saddest bumper sticker around these parts reads “God and guns since 1776.”

Sadder yet, some people want that to be the philosophy in schools.

Nancy Coleman


Bible translators don’t appease any group

On Aug. 31, a letter in the Readers’ Forum (“Changing Bible to suit Muslims is wrong”) claimed the nonprofit organization Wycliffe Bible Translators was appeasing Muslims by compromising familial terms in the Bible (words translated into English as Son of God, Son and Father).

I have supported Wycliffe for many years through personal correspondence, finances and daily prayer. Compromising Bible terms is not what it is into.

Wycliffe’s response – a three-page letter – to my inquiry of it “appeasing Muslims” was peaceful, prompt and professional. It does not compromise on God’s word to please any group – not in the past, the present or the future.

My suggestion to the writer of the letter would be to first go privately to the accused. If they are not willing to listen, take a trusted brother with you. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then you may wish to take it before the church. This is Jesus’ approach (see Matthew 18:15-20).

John Rose


Shooting down modern myths

Debunking some of the myths that surface after tragedies.

“America’s violent gun culture is to blame. Take away the high-capacity magazines.”

* 2008: A Finnish student on antidepressants shoots and kills nine students before killing himself.

* 2009: In Germany, a person on antidepressants kills 16, including himself.

“If we ban all guns, mass killings will stop!”

* 2001: Mamoru Takuma of Osaka, Japan, stabbed eight students to death and wounded 15 others in a second-grade classroom. He had taken 10 times his normal dose of an antidepressant.

“Young males playing violent video games are responsible.”

* 1988: Thirty-one-year-old Laurie Dann, while on Anafranil and lithium, started shooting in a second-grade classroom, killing one and wounding six before killing herself.

“Maybe we should arm the teachers.”

* 1992: A Michigan teacher on Prozac kills his superintendent.

“It’s moral decay, put prayer back in our schools.”

* 1997: Fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal opens fire on a high school prayer meeting in Paducah, Ky. Three died and one was paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.

“Getting the mentally ill into treatment can prevent these attacks.”

* 2012: In a CBS “60 Minutes” report, a neighbor of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza claimed: “I know he was on medication.”

* 2012: headline read, “Aurora theater shooting: Cops took pill bottle from Holmes’ apartment.”

“You can trust doctors, they know what they’re doing.”

* 1995: Dr. Debora Green set her Prairie Village, Mo., home on fire, killing her children, ages 6 and 13. She had been on Prozac and three other medications.

Donald Zapola


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