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Letters to the editor

June 01, 2007

Don't render life to Caesar



To the editor:

In a recent letter titled "U.S. is not under the Pope's thumb," the writer included this quote from Matthew: "Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." He then stated later in his article that it is for the government, not the church, to decide what is a human child.

Excuse me? The latter part of the Scripture quotation says to render to God the things that are God's. Genesis says God created man, and Jeremiah says, "Before I (God) formed you in the womb I knew you." When did God relinquish the ownership of his creation - mankind - to the government, so that government could decide who is a human child?

If we render ourselves as human beings to "Caesar," i.e. the government, we are in dangerous territory indeed. Governments that claim ownership of their citizenry perpetrate the kind of atrocities seen under Saddam Hussein's rule that resulted in mass graves. Then again, considering the number of unborn children aborted each day, what does that say about us?

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The writer of the article also implies (intentionally or not) that adherence to the "Pope's ideas" is what determines whether someone spends eternity in hell. That will be news to all the Bible-believing Protestants who base their salvation on faith in Jesus Christ!

The Pope has no aspiration to be the theocratic leader of the U.S., but he is responsible before God to shepherd his flock and declare the truth of Scripture. It is by the word of God that all will be judged.

The article's author also claims that there is a "sliding scale" which determines when one qualifies as a "child." I wonder if this writer can determine where in Scripture man's creator put forth the notion that there is a sliding scale that determines when one becomes a child?

Based on his sliding-scale notion, he claims that there are 90 days after conception in which "freedom reigns." Sorry, but freedom reigned prior to conception, not after.

For anyone to separate faith from his or her public life leaves a vacuum that can only be filled by ambiguity at best and by evil at worst. To be ignorant of one's status as God's creation, made in his own image, is a sorry state indeed. That's because it denies that person all the potential for good that comes from being made in God's image.

There is an adage, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - because they have confined their faith to their private lives.

I suggest all view the recent film "Amazing Grace" and decide whether the abolition of the slave trade in Britain would have taken place if William Wilberforce had left his faith out of his public service in Parliament.

Diane Eves
Hagerstown




The goofy world of food 'stamps'



To the editor:

A recurring subject among letter writers and Mail Call phone calls is food stamps.

As a 68-year-old retiree existing on Social Security pittance, I have qualified for food stamps for three years and it is a mess. Since I qualified April 2004, I have had seven different monthly rates with 10 changes! Ten changes in less than three years!

Three times I had a rate twice. And we are not talking about big variations, with exception of a single, $10 month, my rates have ranged between $30 and $46. Twice I had a rate only a single month; the longest run was nine months in '05. And I am constantly getting letters changing my counselor. The food stamp program must be wasting millions in salaries for all the bureaucrats to constantly change rates. Many changes are for as little as $3.

I should have mentioned earlier that despite the program name, we do not get stamps. We are issued credit/debit Independence plastic cards that have money credited each month and we can carry balances over to following months.

My account is credited the twelfth day of each month and it rarely lasts to the first (balances under $5 I carry over). It certainly is not the huge amount your writers claim, at least for this broken-down old geezer. And it is only for food and beverages, not all the items your correspondents claim, although exactly what is covered is often confusing.

Another problem is the cost of living - as prices go up we are losing rather than gaining. Any COLA increase in my Social Security pittance and food stamps go down! Food prices are of no concern to the food stamp people.

For the past 12 months, I was mostly in the mid-$40s but now am down to $37. Can anybody explain this insane, yo-yo system?

W. Bernard Randolph
Hagerstown

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