Letters to the Editor for April 25, 2019

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The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of  opinions. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected on the basis of the opinions expressed. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Letters are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff of The Macon County News. Email letters to maconcountynews@ gmail.com.

Deed issue could be settled with a compromise

As Mayor of Franklin, my duty and loyalty is to the Town.  With that being said, I will be blunt.  Turning the Town’s Nikwasi deed over to the Nikwasi Initiative – in my opinion after 17 years’ service to Franklin’s Town Council – is not in the best interest of the town at this time. 

A better solution is for the Town to become a partner in whatever it is the Initiative wants to do in East Franklin.  Then, after a reasonable length of time, when the Initiative establishes a track record and the public sees actual progress, the issue of the deed could be raised again.  It may be a year or two for this to take place.  But there should be no rush to turn the deed over to the Initiative, which is a relatively new organization when compared to the Town which has been around since 1855 and has preserved and protected the Mound since 1946.

This would be an acceptable compromise to those wanting the Town to hold off on handing over the deed.    This nation was founded on compromise and there is no reason this deed deal cannot be settled with a compromise.  I have repeatedly called for such an agreement.  

The issue over the deed is dividing the community and that should not be the case.  I warned Vice Mayor Barbara McRae and Stacy Guffey, both members of the Initiative, that bringing up the deed transfer would split the community.  And it has.  Unfortunately, some friends of mine in the groups wanting the deed to be transferred have given me side glances and stated their anger at me for taking the stand I have.

These groups are the Women’s History Trail, Mainspring, Cowee School Arts and Heritage Center, and to some unknown degree, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

What has yet to be explained to the public, is why turning over the deed is key to revitalization of the area these groups are promoting? What do they want to do?  Mainspring has bought some property near the Mound and the EBCI has bought a building adjacent to the Mound but so far nothing has been done with either of these properties.  It is time to see some action and concrete plans before the Town turns over the deed.

I know there has been an extraordinary letter writing campaign to the news media and members of the Town Council.  I have been copied on these and I have noted the vast majority of these letters, supporting transfer of the deed, are from people affiliated with one or more of the above groups.  The divisiveness is increasing daily with those against turning over the deed being told to look beyond the “misinformation,” and “grandstanding taking place around this issue…” only because they are opposed to the Town giving up the deed.  The issue has gotten ugly and emotional. 

Another point that is being alluded to by those groups wanting the deed,  is that somehow giving up the deed to the Initiative will right some wrong done to the EBCI over 200 years ago.  What I have yet to see, is any thanks to the residents of Franklin and Macon County for saving the Mound. Rationality and practicality should be the issue.  Not emotionality. 

I have reached out to the last three principal chiefs and offered, by a 2014 Town Council resolution, for the EBCI to work with the Town in maintenance and other matters involving the Mound.  To date, I have had no luck and just for information, I have approached Chief Richard Sneed on three occasions to ask if I might meet with him.  He has not committed to meet with me.

The Nikwasi Initiative started out as something called Mountain Partners. Since then several charter members have resigned. Then an outfit called Catalpa Partners entered the picture.  Now Mainspring seems to be pulling most of the weight in this.  All of these groups are intertwined and interconnected.  What is the real reason behind the deed transfer? Why is their reason so secretive?  

In my earlier life, as a journalist and law enforcement officer, we had an old saying we lived by.  “Follow the Money.”  Is there significance to this old saying in this deal? 

Before a vote is taken by the Town Council, there should be a disclosure of any connection any council member may have with any of these groups.  If there could be any conflict of interest by any council member it should be disclosed.  There should be an avoidance of even the appearance of a conflict of interest.  

It is past time for this to simmer down and give the Nikwasi Initiative the chance to come forward and put into action, on the ground, their ideas.  Then we can take another look at the deed deal.

Mayor Bob Scott

Bob Scott is in his third term as Mayor of Franklin.  He served 11 years on the Town Council.  He is a member of a number of environmental organizations and is Chair of the North Carolina Mayors Association. 

Socialism is the name for everything that helps people

It appears that we, right here in our quaint little mountain town of Franklin, N.C., have “the” experts who want to educate the readers of The Macon County News on the evils of Socialism. We must be very scared of the people on the left because they are the carriers of a dreaded disease called liberalism, and they want to change America for the worse. That is their agenda. Oh, they seem like decent people, but don’t be fooled by appearances. Democrats are to be feared.

Here is what one of those Democrats,  Harry S. Truman,  said in 1952: “Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.”

Socialism is not necessarily what a self-proclaimed Macon County expert says it is. Even the highly intelligent real experts will say Socialism is complicated and not easy to understand or explain, and fear has no place in this discussion.

 Carol Mayer – Franklin, N.C.

Is God’s love unconditional?

“There are few things more dangerous than preachers saying that God loves everybody unconditionally, because the message that is heard by the people who hear that is: there are no conditions; I can continue to live just as I am living: in full rebellion against God, and I have nothing to worry about: God loves me unconditionally: I don’t have to repent; I don’t have to come to Jesus; I don’t have to leave my life of sin.” (The late Dr. R. C. Sproul, pastor and author)

God has a good will towards everybody: He gives benefits to all, such as sunshine, rainfall, etc. (Matthew 5:45). He also has “phileo” love for the redeemed, which is first directed toward Christ, and then toward all who are in Christ—our elder brother: and this salvific love is not something that God has for everybody unconditionally. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” 

Sometimes we ignore what the Bible says is the posture that God has toward unrepentant sinners: God abhors the wicked. (Psalm 26:5) People say God hates the sin but loves the sinner: but He doesn’t send the sin to hell; He sends the sinner. God is angry every day against the wicked, and justly so. (Psalm 7:11) Every impenitent sinner is exposed to the fury of God, as Paul tells us in Romans 1:18ff. Our nature is so fallen that we don’t want God in our thinking.

The good news can only be understood in terms of the bad news. Christ came into the world which was already under universal indictment for rejecting God the Father. (John 3:19-21)

Some of us want so much to win people to Christ, that we do everything we can to hide from them the reality of the wrath of God. We don’t tell them that every moment that they reject God, they are “heaping up wrath against the Day of Wrath” (Romans 2:5). People aren’t afraid of the wrath of God, and it’s because we are telling them you don’t need to be afraid of Him, because God is so nice; it’s like Mr. Roger’s neighborhood. But Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Preaching that God loves you unconditionally is the wrong message. The sinner needs to be terrified about his condition. He doesn’t need to feel comfortable. What drives people to the gospel is that they realize that they are on their way to hell, and it scares the “hell” out of them. Dr. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church for over 50 years, says, “If we are ever going to call the nation to righteousness, the preaching has to dramatically change.” 

Listening to “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, Jonathon Edward’s famous sermon, delivered in Enfield, Conn., in 1741, reveals how much the message of the gospel has changed since that time. It is said that the people in the audience were gripping the pew ahead of them with white knuckles, trembling in fear, as the message was delivered. Edwards described sinners as dangling over the pit of hell, as a spider hanging by a single highly flammable web-like thread, with the flames of hell leaping up around him, ready to singe that thread in a moment, and send him plunging through the paper-thin veneer into hell, with nothing preventing it but the mercy of God, Who is fiercely angry with him for his persistent rebellion against Him. Edwards pointed out that many people are already there in that place of torment, and that there is no reason for God to delay to cut that single thread, and allow the impenitent to fall to his just punishment.

 I remember vividly as a young child hearing a sermon like that, and being terrified. It was through that kind of preaching that I realized my need for Jesus, repented of my sin, and turned to Him for salvation.

Do we realize how precarious our life is, and how quickly it can end? What if Edwards was right, as thousands of early Americans came to believe? That sermon sparked a revival which resulted in the conversion of many of our then future founding fathers of our nation. Will today’s preachers return to faithful proclamation of the central message of the Bible?

  

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

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1 COMMENT

  1. All those plans for developing the private property surrounding the Nikwasi Mound have no bearing whatsoever on ownership of the publicly owned .78 acre mound parcel itself. Neither privatizing the mound nor private ownership of the mound is necessary for anything the developers want to do outside the perimeter of the mound parcel, and neither the Town Council nor the private group trying to gain ownership of the mound have ever given a valid reason for why they want to privatize the mound. Nor has the Franklin Town Council given any reason for breaching the trust of the Citizens of Macon County who purchased the mound in 1946 with the expectation and promise that the Town Council would hold the deed and protect and honor it on their behalf forevermore.

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