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Strong, united communities bring about peace
As newly arrived residents of Franklin, my wife and I were greatly impressed by the recent Community Interfaith Potluck held at the First Presbyterian Church last Friday, Aug. 17. Attended by around 99 local residents, representing at least five different faith communities, the well-planned event provided a unique opportunity for sharing and learning about the beliefs, traditions, and histories of our diverse faiths. Representatives from the Jewish, Christian, Unitarian Universalist, Baha’i, and Spiritual Light traditions briefly described the history and basic tenets of their faiths and also answered questions from the audience. Equally as meaningful were the lively conversations that took place over dinner, as we made new friends and became better acquainted with our neighbors in Macon County. At a time when religion is often seen as a source of disunity and conflict, it was heartening to learn how much we have in common, and to experience first-hand the warmth and unity that comes from getting to know individuals of differing backgrounds in an atmosphere of mutual respect, genuine curiosity and friendship. As members of the Baha’i Faith, my family and I firmly believe that building strong, united communities that embrace the richness of our diversity is ultimately the only way to bring about the peaceful world that we all hope and pray for, regardless of our background. We congratulate and commend the Macon County Interfaith Coalition for sponsoring and organizing this event and look forward to many more such opportunities to get to know individuals we would not otherwise encounter as we strive to build a more united world together.
Grant Wolf – Franklin, N.C.
Asylum-seekers escaping threat of death
The U.S. is a country of asylum seekers and their children. Every immigrant to the U.S. arrived at our borders looking to escape from either government tyranny, economic hardship, or criminal violence. U.S. law and international law requires that asylum seekers who present themselves to our immigration personnel be given the opportunity to prove their reasons for seeking asylum. A new policy recently implemented requires that asylum seekers be turned away at the border; Federal agents are actually standing at the borderline at established border crossings to physically prevent an asylum seekers from stepping foot on U.S. soil. A person must be actually standing on U.S. soil in order to request asylum; preventing these people from stepping across the painted borderline means there is no opportunity for them to plea their case to an immigration judge. These asylum seekers are not choosing to present themselves to U.S. immigration courts because they plan to live off U.S. government largess. These people are escaping from the government and gang-related torture and murder common in their country of origin. The deadly trek these asylum seekers take across thousands of mile of inhospitable landscape is a dangerous but necessary risk to take, a risk that keeps their children out of the hands of murdering gang members and corrupt government policies in their native countries. Most Americans learned something about the history of asylum seekers coming to America. In particular, we have all seen the images of thousands of Irish, German, Polish and other European refugees, escaping starvation from crop failures and political pogroms, standing in line waiting to have their asylum request processed on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. The people did not come to America simply to live off the largess of the American. They came to escape the certain death awaiting them and their families if they did not flee their native lands. The asylum seekers coming from South and Central America are facing the same kinds of threats of death and unlawful imprisonment as did the European asylum seekers who came to America in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The moral, ethical, and lawful imperative to offer these modern day asylum seekers refuge is no different than it was 100 years ago. The color of their skin and their native language may be different then that of their predecessors from Europe 100 years ago, but their plights are no less compelling. These people are no less a member of the family of man as were the asylum seeking people who came before them.
John Barry – Franklin, N.C.
Trump’s income taxes could reveal ties to Putin
Donald Trump can bellow out from the tallest building in New York that he is an innocent man who is being maliciously badgered by a spiteful media. He can tweet hourly that he has no business ties to Russia. But, he will only be making more noise than the noise is making. The noise is S.A.Y.I.T. which has been repeated thousands of times since his campaign and questionable election as president. S.A.Y.I.T. is, of course, an acronym for Show America Your Income Taxes. By revealing that information Trump might dispel the notion that he is being manipulated by Vladimir Putin. On the other hand it might simply prove that Trump is, indeed, beholden to Putin because of money. Have you ever wondered why Trump has refused to reveal that relevant tax information as his presidential predecessors have? Come clean, Mr. Trump. S.A.Y.I.T.!
Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.
Widow’s article well received by many
I was so surprised; no, I think the proper term is astounded, at the reaction received from the article done by The Macon County News, in the July 5th edition. I received numerous calls, letters from Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, thanking me for the information. The local readers took the time to get additional copies and share with their out-of-state friends. And, of course this does not include all my visitors to the bookstore from local and out-of-town taking time to comment on how much they appreciated the info and to thank me for sharing my experiences. The couple who really put a lump in my throat, was sitting here from a far away state. They made a special trip to come by and see me. They told me they wanted me to know, “You helped us, when we didn’t know we needed help.” They had already called and made an appointment with their legal counsel to do the proper changes and had already contacted their utility companies and other obligations which had only one name as the owner of the account. They will check with their state and county when they return home to learn their procedures for handling matters such as death. Not only does this apply to spouses but to other family members we are responsible for. I personally thank our number one local paper for caring enough to give time and effort to make sure its readers, and the local community is cared for.
Millie Griffin – Franklin, N.C.
Pastor of Baptist church works hard
We’re living in a day and age where some pastors don’t want to work. Work almost seems like a dirty word for them. That’s not true for our pastor though. Years ago we voted on him at Wells Grove Baptist Church. It’s a Southern Baptist Church, and we give him a vote of confidence every year. For years we didn’t do this, but we made bi-laws a few years back and once a year, we vote to keep or dismiss our pastor. The majority rules at our church. In my opinion, our pastor Terry preaches the whole Bible. Sin is still sin whenever he preaches. The love and grace of God is also well explained. Terry is a full time school bus driver and full time custodian at Macon Middle School. He works two jobs and pastors our church also. This afternoon as I write you this letter I realize you might not print it. You may think that I am only trying to pin roses on a Southern Baptist preacher. That’s not my goal here. A few weeks ago, I had a dream like none other in my whole life. It was about a certain chapter and a certain verse in the Bible. When I got up the next morning, I looked up that verse. It was about the end times. Personally, I believe Jesus could split the Eastern sky any day now. I know we’ve been in the last days for 2,018 years or so, but things are getting worser and worser. The modern technology makes things so much more unsettled these days. Some Christians have no use for God’s house. Church is the nearest place we’ll ever get to heaven. We’re around fellow believers there. We have the same things in common. Some have more money, than others, but we all have that know-so hope of heaven. It’s not a hope-so-hope, but a know-so hope of heaven. We’re sealed when we believe and accept Christ, and are sealed until the day of redemption, praise God. If you’re looking for a church where all the Bible is preached, and members welcome visitors you need to visit our church. Call me and I’ll give you directions. I don’t see how our pastor does what he does, and still pastor a church. Yes, I do too, it’s only by supernatural strength from God, and the grace of God. We need people that love Jesus. Last night only four showed at prayer meeting. We had prayer and went home. I don’t want anyone to leave the church they worship at. More than likely God led you there. You should attend that church and support that church. That is if your church believes that the shed blood of Jesus is the only way to heaven and there’s no way to kow God except through Jesus. I think Jesus said, “No one comes to the father except by me or through me. Jesus paid it all on the cross. Mr. Repent has attended our worship service a couple of times. He’s come to Sunday School a time or two also. Yes, we all need to repent and turn back to God. Our church also believes and practices James chapter 5. God heals. Sometimes soon, and sometimes later. If you know Jesus, you are healed in death. Even our pastor Terry requested special prayer last Sunday. He has developed high blood pressure.
Jerry Holden – Franklin, N.C.
Why capitalism outperforms socialism, round two
I presume John Barry’s comments were directed to me. First to repeat. It’s nature’s laws that matter. Human laws are subject to nature’s whims. History has shown that those societies that ignore nature die. Sometimes this takes over a century, but die they do. “Because capitalism more closely mirrors nature’s laws. Nature and capitalism have little tolerance of the unproductive. Socialism more closely resembles family values. Families have nurtured children because humans have a long childhood compared to other species. The nurturing has resulted in the survival of humans. Families with ill or deformed children in bygone centuries lacked the technology to care for such children. Hence, nature took care of them and the family was not required to take resources from the productive members. But, trying to support the unproductive forces nature to kill the entire family.” What is a positive or a negative influence? I suggest a positive influence is the survival of my progeny. That is the long-term (generations) survival of society. Mr. Barry leaves this undefined, but seems to suggest “positive” means survival and comfortable living of the unproductive over the next year and “negative” is not supporting the unproductive. He seems to equate “unproductive” to “cannot survive on their own” – untrue. Many of the people that cannot survive on their own can be productive in a society. What does a newborn baby mean in a society? Certainly it cannot survive on its own, but is a potential (generations view) productive member of society. Further, the advance of society is to be able to make more people productive and support a higher population composed of a high portion that could not survive on their own. He also says “condones,” when he should have said “allows.” Capitalism is positive oriented – reward the productive not punish. He suggests Social Security and Medicare are Socialist programs. Not true. I paid into these insurance programs, probably more that I’ll take out. As such they can contribute to the long-term success of our society. But the government has been taking from them to support the welfare state. The welfare state is Socialist. Agreed, let’s look at the data. But he didn’t look at the data; he stated his opinion and conclusion. Look at a plot of the data from his and other sources plotted in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_ metrics The reader should conclude. Note the “kink” (change in slope) occurred at 1970 for the lower percentiles and it was a slower growth rate of the lower percentiles immediately followed by the mid percentiles a bit later (the late ’70s and ’80s. Also note, the upper percentiles maintained their growth rate. The income inequality is worsening because the lower percentiles slowed their growth rate. He changes the thought by claiming capitalism condones the active throwing of the less fortunate away. Certainly, capitalism does not do that. Instead, each individual must do the best he can. Indeed, the focus of capitalism is to make more marginal people productive. John’s statement is misdirection and mis-interpretation. Published: Milton Friedman (Nobel prize in economics; “Free to Chose” book and YouTube video), Tainter “Collapse of Complex Societies” (see our society as the last gasp, also on YouTube), F. A. Hayek “The Fatal conceit” (also on YouTube), and there are many more. I think the ability to predict events is a key to understanding. Those models that fail to predict lack understanding. With this in mind, add Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” as predicting the situation today from over 50 years ago. Also note that with the election of Obama and the government bailouts, the sales of “Atlas Shrugged” rose dramatically. We also see the idea of “going Galt” becoming increasing popular. Compare Friedman to Keynes. The government likes Keynes because he argues for big government and close to Socialism. Friedman argues for freedom for individual to choose and small government. Friedman suggested in his ’50s work that a society could not long endure both high unemployment and high inflation. Keynes argues that inflation could lower unemployment. Then came stagflation Keynes failed, Friedman succeeded. Two weeks before the Berlin wall fell and two years before the collapse of communism, Keynes published a work extolling communism saying it was the wave of the future. Friedman saw the collapse. Note that today the ’50s-’60s version of inflation is the low interest rate stimulus – Keynes wrong again. And so it goes on Keynesian thought keeps changing as their policies fail. His “moral code” seems to condemn humanity to death by nature and is extremely short-sighted as the examples of Tainter show. How can that be moral?
John Hodge – Franklin, N.C.
So much hatred building up in our country
Been reading letters in the Macon County News for some time. I am 89 years old, I have never heard a president of our country spread the hatred that Donald Trump seems to be doing. Reading Bob Wilson’s letters is a fine example. His letters are getting scarey. Seems to be so much hatred building up in our country. If you’ll notice, Putin gets rid of every one on his staff that don’t agree with him. Trump is a very domineering and overbearing person. He assumes absolute control in government no free consent of the people, that all adds up to a dictator. If he’s not guilty and has nothing to hide, why is he getting rid of every one who is doing the investigation. If you’ve not done any wrong, there’s nothing to worry about. Trump is getting more like Putin and is great cause for alarm. As far as cutting taxes for the wealthy, some one has to pay to run a country. The poor people can’t do it alone. There will be a lot of cutbacks as there will be no money to take care of payroll for the police, firemen, teachers, and roads and bridges that we all want to feel safe, as for Kim Jong Un, should never be trusted. Never let your guard down He will shake your hand with one and all the time stabbing you in the back with the other.
Kathy Whitley – Franklin, N.C.