Minimum wage increase not a fix but a start
As the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, we need to take bold steps to lift Americans out of poverty and rebuild the middle class. Raising the minimum wage is a good place to start.
In Lexington alone, there are too many hardworking men and women and their families who are either falling out of the middle class or struggling in poverty due to insufficient wages. While raising the minimum wage is not a perfect solution and will not lift all Americans out of poverty, a minimum wage increase will help facilitate an economic surge in our neighborhoods and communities, and improve the standard of living for millions of American workers.
People who work deserve a living wage, and it's time to give American workers a raise.
I am a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227, which represents over 23,000 workers across Kentucky and Southern Indiana in a variety of industries.
Limit assault rifles
James Gash's article, "A farmer's view: I depend on my gun but the NRA doesn't speak for me," was thoughtful, elegantly written and did not resort to any name-calling. It is precisely the kind of discourse we need about guns in general and assault rifles in particular.
If only members of our police forces who own guns and belong to the NRA would also speak up and be heard. I'm willing to bet that many, if not most, of them would say that assault rifles should only be used by the military, police and (dare I say) state militias, and not private individuals, who realistically will be very hard to "regulate" as stated in our Constitution.
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Raw deal for Rice
I am a retired U.S. Army general officer, a wounded veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars and 100 percent service-connected disabled.
This unsolicited note is in no way politically motivated. Simply, I am compelled by fairness to pass on my personal opinion as to the integrity of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.
During the 1990s I worked voluntarily and pro bono to secure peace for the wonderful people of Liberia. My commitment led me to frequent coordination with the U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council. Rice was NSC chief for Africa.
I found Rice extremely bright, fair, candid and of impeccable integrity. She seemed to lead by what she believed right, not what might may have been more popular. I am convinced her stated position after the murder in Libya of our heroic ambassador and his colleagues was based on information provided her, information which certainly turned out to be ill-advised.
In my opinion, her now being the recipient of caustic review is akin to the unfair review of General Colin Powell, our greatest of contemporary leaders, as he attempted before the United Nations to justify President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq. Likewise, the information provided him was ill-advised.
I trust history will judge Rice's reaction to the African tragedy more fairly.
Our Congress doesn't work very well. During the past 60 years, a budget resolution and the requisite appropriations bills have been passed on time a total of four years. Our elected leaders spend more time criticizing each other than they do solving our problems.
This may change due to a group of citizens who are fed up with a Congress that doesn't work. The group is called No Labels. They are Republicans, Democrats and Independents, but most important, they are Americans. Approximately a year ago the group proposed legislation called No Budget, No Pay. Basically, the bill says that if Congress cannot pass a budget, the members will not get paid.
In the past few weeks, No Budget, No Pay has become law. Partisan bickering in Congress continues, but some elected leaders have joined the efforts to stop fighting and start fixing the many problems that we have in our great country.
The No Budget, No Pay bill is just the starting point. There is much work to be done. If you would like to be a part of the movement to get our elected leaders to talk to each other so problems can get solved, go to Nolabels.org and find out what you can do to be part of this movement.
We need people who think it's more important to be an American than to be a Republican or a Democrat. We need people who will demand that our elected leaders fix the problems rather than affixing blame.
Denny R. Vincent
Lately we have heard from writers who make Mark 16:18 the fulcrum on which the entirety of the Gospel message turns. They impose it upon all Christianity as a litmus test to demonstrate sincerity.
They say that if Mark 16:18 is not literally performed by all believers of Christianity and serpents are not picked up by their rattles or their heads underneath billboards and such, the Christian church itself is allegorical and has no literal authority on Earth. But to them it has to be shown how scripture really is.
In scripture, Jesus calls the Pharisees serpents, whose deadly doctrine, like Drano, kills if swallowed. Jesus gives his disciples all power to tread on serpents, a power against distortions of the Gospel spun by that chief serpent to be echoed by the small ones. To anticipate the cunning of their enemy, Jesus cautions his disciples to be wise like serpents.
The above cross-referencing of Scripture points to an allegorical use of the word serpent. Pharisees are not serpents; horses tread on serpents without the Gospel. Fish or serpent: life or death. The Greek root word translated into English as serpents underlies Mark 16:18, along with the remaining three Gospels.
To snake-handlers and detractors of the Gospel, Satan is the subject of Mark 16:18, not copperheads.
Scripture out of context
I'm happy to see God's holy word being discussed in the Herald-Leader. Unfortunately, some are making the all too common error of taking scripture out of context and misapplying it.
First, in Mark 16:18, Jesus is speaking to the apostles and is speaking about those who will be saved as a result of the apostles preaching, not about believers today. This is not interpreting, as some seem to suggest, but is simply reading comprehension.
Second, Jesus is not instructing believers to "drink any deadly thing" in order to prove "it shall not hurt them." This would be tempting God. Mark 16:18 is an assurance to those who believe as a result of the apostles preaching that God will protect them as they serve him.
Therefore, one writer's conclusion "that the proper way to prove that you really believe the uninterpreted, inerrant literal truth of every word of the Bible is to chug down a nice mug full of fresh Drano" is incorrect. The proper way would be to love your neighbor and tell them the truth of the word.
Now that is a principle that is beautiful and would truly make a positive impact if applied both in our lives and in our laws.