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Letters to the Editor
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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 19

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 19

  • Christian values with words but not deeds
  • Inmates can be useful, as they showed with circu
  • Christian values with words but not deeds

    As part of its strategy, the Republican Party has promoted itself as “the party of family values” in an attempt to seek a moral advantage within the minds of the public. In this context, the Republican leadership generally identifies itself with “Christian values.”

    Although there are a number of Christian denominations, I would assume that all adherents would follow the life examples of Jesus and his teachings. With this view in mind, it is instructive to consider the behavior of four prominent Republican leaders who emphasize their religious values.

    Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and a Mormon, defended his use of off-shore tax shelters by saying that they were “legal.” Did the teachings of Jesus suggest that “legal” behavior was morally sufficient?

    Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate and a Catholic, has proposed a budget plan that would place the burden of reducing the deficit on the backs of low-income Americans while lowering taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Did Jesus advocate burdening the most needy to enrich the wealthy?

    Jon Kyl, Senate minority whip and a Presbyterian, has claimed in public that abortion was “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” After it was noted that actually only about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities involved abortion. Kyl’s office responded by saying that “his remark was not intended to be a factual statement.” Did the life examples of Jesus imply that fabrication and deception were acceptable traits?

    Finally, Rep. Michele Bachmann, a former presidential candidate and an evangelical Christian, has stated that homosexuality is “part of Satan.” I doubt that such a hateful view could be attributed to the teachings of Jesus. In summary, like many self-righteous individuals these Republican leaders talk the talk but do not walk the walk when it comes to “Christian values.”

    Don Steiner


    Inmates can be useful, as they showed with circus

    Re Aug. 11 article, “Inmates help circus show go on”: “Inmate” is not a bad word.

    A thanks and recognition needs to go out to the inmates who helped the county out with their labor efforts to save a bad situation with the circus tent in Schenectady.

    It’s unfortunate some of us act on poor judgment in life, which brings us on a different journey, such as incarceration. Inmates are still human and can be utilized and productive in many ways. We need to give them an opportunity to show they still can make a difference, as long as they are willing too, regardless.

    Remember, people always feel better when they are recognized. They should have been able to watch the show!

    Stella Puorto


    Private sector does it so much better than gov’t

    I have never read a Gazette Sunday Opinion piece that was so off-base as the “Taxes are price of good life, not such a burden,” by L.D. Davidson [Aug. 12].

    Davidson shows a complete misunderstanding of public money relationship to private money. He does not seem to understand that the public, the government, has no source of money except what it takes, by taxes, from the working folks.

    Of course, the government can print money, borrow, but it still must finally be repaid by the folks.

    Davidson supports taxes for “communal responsibilities” and thus justifies taxing the working class so the government can do their communal work.

    We all agree we need police and firemen and the government to build roads, but, remember, what is taxed away from us can’t be spent in the economy. One reason the current economic growth is so slow is the taxes, and the threat of still higher taxes, are reducing consumer spending, which used to be 70 percent of the economy.

    Davidson believes that the middle class has been fooled into believing the government has intruded too much into our lives. Not fooled — it is true. For example, the Obamacare law, which now controls over 17 percent of the entire U.S. economy, has given the government added control over our lives.

    In a fascinating comment regarding the New York government’s expected expenses to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge, Davidson’s view is the private construction companies that will build the bridge are taking public money for private use. Please!

    Our history has shown, over and over, that when private economic activities flourish, we all gain prosperity. When the government tries to do work in the private sector, they can’t (Solyndra, the failed solar plant, comes to mind).

    Don Cazer


    Bombing of cities during war cannot be justified morally

    Re Aug. 16 letter, “Use of the bomb to end WWII perfectly justified”: No matter how it is justified by a utilitarian argument of saving American lives, Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrate the level to which moral compunctions were abandoned during WWII and unfortunately since.

    People were horrified and said so in 1937 when Guernica was bombed in the Spanish Civil War, killing 500-1500 people. When the Germans bombed Rotterdam [Netherlands] in 1940, an estimated 1,000 people were killed and 85,000 made homeless, prompting President Roosevelt to condemn the “inhuman barbarism.”

    By 1942, British war planners deliberately targeted civilian populations, killing tens of thousands. In 1945, we removed armaments from our planes in the March attack on Tokyo so that we could carry more incendiary bombs, chosen because Japanese homes would burn easier. One hundred thousand civilians died and 10 square miles were obliterated. That raid was followed by similar ones in Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe, and finally in August by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where hundreds of thousands more died.

    It was the memory of those events and the prospect of worse to follow that led to the declaration of the Catholic Church at the Vatican II Council: “... any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.”

    All terror bombings should be condemned and the ones carried out by the United States should be times for reflection and atonement — not celebration.

    Jim Murphy


    Extend smoking ban to all parts of Sch’dy parks

    Swinging — the feeling of fresh air blowing through your hair and filling your lungs needs to be every child’s experience.

    Passing the law to ban smoking to all property in any city park will guarantee that this happens every time your child is in a park in Schenectady.

    In an Aug. 14 article, resident Nancy Towler describes the proposed ban as “worthless.” To the contrary, this piece of legislation is sending the message to our children that smoking is not acceptable.

    It is important to understand that smokers are walking advertisements for the tobacco industry, which already spends more than $1 million a day in New York state alone to target our youth through such things as tobacco displays in stores frequented by kids.

    Sallie Gilliland


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