Letters to the Editor - Fools for Jesus... February 12 2004

John Sugg: Kudos on your tears for Jesus (Fishwrapper, "Jesus wept ...," Feb. 5). You made your point crystal clear, detailing a maddeningly large list of recent examples of politicians trying to mix church and state. That is, Their church and Our state. It is despicable to see so many leaders, especially in the South, trying to hoist their pseudo-sanctimony on the rest of us. I swear, if they thought it would work as a re-election banner, these folks would gladly wrap themselves in a Shroud of Turin to proclaim their piety. O Lord, spare us from your followers ... and send us more articles by John Sugg.

-- Troy Halverson, Atlanta

br>?Open your ears
(In response to News & Views, "Ax falls on Chattahoochee National Forest," Feb. 5): Georgia's public lands belong to all of us. Managing them in a way that pleases us is a difficult balancing act, to be sure. Case in point: Developing the newly released Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan took more than seven years!

During that time, the public clarified its desires for these public lands: Protect wildlife and its habitat, provide intact natural places to visit and pass on to future generations, preserve rare species, ensure clean water, and emphasize wilderness and other qualities that private lands cannot supply. The public specifically asked for the plan to protect the sensitive land areas that drain into the Chattahoochee, Conasauga and Etowah rivers and other waterways that provide drinking water to Georgians, and to protect this habitat for a growing number of threatened and endangered species.

Yet, the plan fails to outline how this will be accomplished. The public was unequivocal about protecting our last remaining roadless areas. Though the U.S. Forest Service has said there will be no permanent road construction, the plan does not limit temporary road construction within these vulnerable areas. What's more, the plan leaves these areas open to timber harvesting and off-road vehicle traffic. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest belongs to the people. The Forest Service should heed our demands and manage the forest for the national treasure that it truly is.

-- Debbie Royston, Ellijay,

Georgia Forestwatch executive director

br>?Wow, he's funny!
Bob Barr wrote a very funny piece on the government's color-coded terror alert system (News & Views, "Color-code mania," Feb. 5). I am somewhat shocked, as I never woulda thunk old Bob had a sense of humor. Well, slap me nekkid and color me wrong!

-- Eric Pearson, Atlanta

br>?Great minds think alike
I absolutely love your columns, and today's was particularly well-appreciated (News & Views, Weekly Scalawag, Feb. 5). I love that you write exactly what I (and thousands of others) am actually thinking. Your column is worded much, much better, though! Thank you for what you do!

-- Patricia Allison Davis, Atlanta

br>?Much needed words
I want to take the time to write you and tell you how stopped in my tracks I was today with your article on Scott Rogers and Johnny Knox (Vibes, "Hard Knox or Scott free?" Jan. 29). I was a friend of Scott's from Nashville. Your article was so truthful and real. I thank you for quoting John and Cheri because they are truly astounding people whose lives have changed on a dime. Your writing is extremely clear and not bogged down with cliches or rose-colored imagery. It was a needed article.

At first, the vision of the car was hideous for me to see — in the middle of my workday, no less — but it is necessary to see the truth to move on. Thank you so very much for detailing the matter of the actual wreck. I still try to wrap my brain around it all and understand how the blow to his body would have been hard enough to kill him. I have really tried to understand. It's just not the kind of question I've been running around asking — and definitely not the family, although they are quite strong and frank about the matter. Very brave people. Wounded, but brave.

I have been very concerned for Johnny. Everyone really wants to see him go unpunished. It was an accident. I know that Scott didn't love people who weren't quality, and Johnny is a very good soul.

It was a marvelous piece with a ballsy title and really good content.

-- Carol Ann Turney, Nashville

br>?Become more aware
Your article about the Open Door Community was wonderful ("Down and out on Ponce," Jan. 29). I live about a block behind the facility on St. Charles Avenue in Virginia-Highland, and I have seen the two men whom you highlighted in your story (and have even donated money to them) in my neighborhood often. I can tell you from personal experience with the patrons of Open Door, with a few exceptions, they don't hurt anyone, are not dangerous and basically just want to get by as best they can.

The problems that the homeless community faces in Atlanta are heartbreaking to me. I don't believe there are any easy answers, but if people like you continue to use forums such as CL to highlight the problem, then maybe more people will become aware of it and do what they can to help.

One suggestion: You should list contact information for the Lorings or for the Open Door Community so that people can provide donations. I dropped off a bag of those little hotel-type toiletries that I always steal on business trips yesterday. It's not like I'm a saint or anything, giving them stuff that I stole from hotels, but I know it will do the homeless a lot more good than the business travelers. And I know they also take blankets, pillows and men's or unisex clothing.

-- Tammie Booth, Atlanta

Editor's note: Good idea, Tammie. Open Door Community is located at 910 Ponce de Leon Ave. Reach them by phone at 404-874-9652 or online at www.opendoorcommunity.org.

br>?Are we not deserving?
The left-wing zealots at CL just don't get it. One of the problems conservatives have with the left is their self-created feeling of superiority. Your article proves this point time and time again ("Dead in Dixie," Jan. 22). When the interviewed residents give their opinion, CL is baffled as to why they have the opinions they do and attacks them by citing the tired left-wing drivel about Halliburton, health care and Iraq.

You refuse to accept, and more importantly, respect the opinions by bringing up all the things supported by the left. What most people want is more freedom to do what they need to do with their own money to provide for their families. How do you define a working family? My wife and I collectively make more than $100,000 a year, have a nice home and two beautiful kids who attend good schools in a nice area in south Forsyth County. We also received an $800 tax refund from the federal government, aka the Bush administration. Are we not a "working family" deserving of a tax cut in an overtaxed country? Should we not have more of our own money (earned money, not the government's money) available to us, thereby allowing us to make our own decisions about what is best for us? Or should we send 40 percent of our income to the federal government so they can decide what is best for us?

-- Michael Merck, Suwanee

br>?Teach it
Evolution. Teach the kids it's not a dirty word. As a high school biology teacher in Georgia, I feel obligated to respond to Kathy Cox's comments that using the word would "derail teachers' efforts to teach the major concepts of biology." In actuality, the only derailing that could take place would be to limit the teaching of such a major concept. I truly believe that people cannot make informed choices about their beliefs in any subject without having all the relevant information.

In a science class, one should be allowed to freely teach the scientific explanation for both life and human origin. Science is a field based on evidence, and the theory of evolution is supported by an array of evidence. Does this mean a faith-based theory of origin such as creation is wrong? Of course not. But ask any believer in creation and they will say their belief is not based on evidence; it's based on faith. It would be unreasonable to give the evidence-based explanation that is demanded from a science class without explicitly teaching evolution, the origin of cells or natural selection. It is imperative that the curriculum and teachers are not limited so that our students and children do not suffer the effects of these limitations.

-- Ryan Balch, Atlanta

br>?No vote for you
As a devout, lifelong Republican, George Bush will not get my vote this year. It saddens me, as there is no one else to consider.

-- William Dotson, Smyrna Beach, Fla.