Bush visit offers contrast with Catholic teachings
On May 3, former President George W. Bush will visit St. Mark Catholic Church in Richmond. The members of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, a network concerned about social justice in the mountains, see the visit as a teachable moment about Catholic social principles.
Because this is a presidential election year, many people could interpret his visit as an endorsement of his party.
While Republicans encourage fiscal responsibility and certain freedoms, an element of the party wants to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, shield billionaires from paying their fair share and gut the Environmental Protection Agency that protects mountain people from the greed of corporate America.
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Catholic social teachings stand squarely opposed to these policies.
During his presidency, Bush enforced policies that violated tenets of the Catholic moral code. Initiating the Iraq war, which many historians consider a war of choice, directly disregarded the teaching of Pope John Paul II that the war was not just.
The authorizing of torture and waterboarding violated the Geneva Accords and contradicted Catholic moral theology. And, as governor of Texas, Bush allowed, against the strong opposition of the church, the execution of 152 prisoners — more than any governor in U.S. history.
A Catholic church is a place for forgiveness when a person acknowledges guilt and wrongdoing. It can never be a venue for promoting partisan politics or justifying policies against life.
If the president's visit occasions a deeper discussion of social ethics, fine. If not, his visit to a Catholic church appears inappropriate.
Father John S. Rausch
Director, Catholic Committee of Appalachia
Sacrifice for children
I often hear the comment that Ann Romney had resources that allowed her to be a stay-at-home mom, but that most women do not.
Almost every mom who is married has the option; it is a matter of choices.
My wife, Jill, and I raised five children, and when they were young we often were below the middle-class rung in terms of income.
But we chose to sacrifice other things to allow us to live on one small income, and Jill not only stayed home with the children but she even home-schooled them.
Jill and I would say from firsthand experience, almost every mom has the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, if they are willing to make sacrifices of other things as they make that choice. There is no greater investment than in putting all that we have into our children.
Beliefs not narrow
The headline of Tom Eblen's column in the April 1 edition of this newspaper read: "Narrow thinking now widely condemned."
The implication was that those who believe that homosexual behavior is wrong are narrow-minded. I would like to refute that assertion.
There are at least three major world religions that condemn homosexual activity.
Jews, Christians and Muslims disagree on many issues of faith, but passages in the Old Testament, New Testament and the Quran show they are united in their belief that homosexual behavior is not condoned by God.
This is a truth that is denied by some, but the truth will not change due to anyone's inability to comprehend or accept it.
One would think that those who agree with the billions of people who practice Judaism, Christianity and Islam would escape being called narrow-minded.
Sadly, that is not the case.
Tom Cox Jr.
Less than tolerant
I am appalled at the reaction by many persons of faith regarding the Hands On Originals controversy. Our esteemed governor proclaimed: "Kentucky is a tolerant, progressive and welcoming state for all people."
Yet, with anti-gay hate crimes charges popping up in our state, anti-bullying legislation dying in committee, an anti-gay marriage amendment hanging over our heads, and this latest event, I believe the governor misspoke.
Perhaps the phrase "for all people" actually meant "for all straight people."
Supporters of Hands On Originals point out that the owners are simply acting on their biblical beliefs. I wonder if a business owner refused to partake in the Roots & Heritage Festival because "we believe African-Americans are property and the Bible supports slavery" would so many rally to his side?
A century and a half ago, of course, this wouldn't have been so farfetched, and I suppose many would have supported him.
What a difference a little time makes.
The Rev. Chris Florence
Chipping at liberty
I am highly disturbed by those attempting to force a local T-shirt business owner to violate his religious conscience. These actions seem harbingers of a future in which individual liberty is abrogated in the name of naive utopia.
It has not even been a century since Russian religious freedom was sacrificed in the name of Bolshevik progress. The masses blindly marched under the yoke of slavery. Christianity (and religion in general) was fine so long as it was private and not expressed publicly.
At least in America we resort to petty ordinances and sneering rather than gulags. So far.
I am not endorsing any particular political party. This is an impassioned call to respect the conscience of the individual to worship his God in his work.
Our nation, while imperfect, is still a beacon for freedom of belief. If it turns its back on that most sacred right, then the only place it merits is upon the ash heap of history.
How can one listen to conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and not hear his racial slant regarding the Trayvon Martin case?
He is manipulating conversations every way he can to make this case appear as though there should not have been an arrest. He bombards his rhetoric with warnings of rushing to judgment on George Zimmerman, the assailant.
Martin is dead. He was not injured or humiliated; he was shot. Zimmerman should not have been following him in the first place. All he should have done is use his phone.
I do not know a father, including Hannity, who would not be outraged if his son was dead and the triggerman was wandering with just his own self-confusion and fear.
I actually heard Hannity try to pressure Attorney General Eric Holder for the arrest of a New Black Panther leader for apparently making threats. Indeed, I do not wish for this to get out of hand and turn into a bloody regret.
The puzzling thing here is that Hannity wants an arrest made for some threats, but when a young man is killed he just ponders on a nonsense idea of possibly, perhaps maybe, there was some self-defense. I call this a racist slant.