Letters: October 6, 2006

Reader thinks letter-writer doesn’t get it

Last week’s letter from Thomas M. Keeley III serves to prove what many of the minority religious population of this area have known for a while: Some people just don’t get it.

Keeley seems mystified as to why anyone would take offense at a blessing from a member of another faith. What he fails to mention or process is that the “blessing” in question was the invited prayer of a “Christian” minister that all children at a public school graduation should be directed by God “into the truth, and eventually the truth that comes by knowing Jesus.”

I don’t think Rev. Jerry Fike meant “knowing Jesus” as in a handshake or conversation at the grocery store. I think it was, and is, pretty clear to everyone that he was praying that those offered this “blessing” would become converted to Christianity as the only true faith.

I’m sure Fike, believing that he knows best for all, feels this is a charitable thing to wish on people, for the benefit of their own souls. On that count, one could argue he felt it was a blessing.

But I’m also equally sure that were an invited speaker at a school event to wish Christian children to “come to the righteousness that is the way of Allah” or “to come to the wisdom that there is no God,” that the district would have been in an uproar to exceed even that raised by the Dobrich/Doe lawsuit over Fike’s prayer and other issues.

I would not make that prayer. I would not voice that wish, even if I were to believe it best for those to whom I spoke (which I do not). Because, as much as we all believe in the beauty and righteousness of our own faiths, it is the height of disrespect for others’ beliefs to tell them they follow falsehood or evil, and that our way is the only right way for them or anyone. That is far from how most would define a blessing.

It is moreover an abuse of authority for school officials, employees or invited guests to take the podium at public events and voice such disrespectful statements, geared not in true generosity of spirit at the uplifting of our children’s lives but instead at the conversion of those who do not adhere to the apparent majority belief of those living in this area.

Such “blessings” do not purely serve to pray for the best a higher power can bring for a given person or group, but rather to belittle the current beliefs of those who do not already agree with the speaker’s faith.

Further, it is one thing for an adult to be confronted with that kind of disrespect and entirely another for our children to be tasked with it at one of the most important moments of their academic lives.

People of true, good faith do not seek to belittle, pressure and harass others into conversion. They do not offer disrespect in the guise of blessing. And they do not prey upon the vulnerabilities of children from a podium paid for by the tax dollars of people of all faiths and none, in a nation known for its respect for the practice of all faiths, and none.

Conversion at all costs, through all methods, is not a tenant I recall reading in the teachings of Jesus Christ. False charity of feeling is not something he would have prescribed for spreading his word. And I don’t believe most of us, in the others’ shoes, would consider what happened in June 2004 as a true “blessing.”

I think any of us would happily accept a blessing given in true generosity of spirit. Would that that were the only type of blessing being offered.

Liz Johnson
Ocean View

Remembering for those who cannot

To all my friends, family, brothers & sisters in law enforcement, the Sussex County Republican Women’s Club and especially Mr. Gerald Hocker, representative in my District 38:

Not only did Mr. Hocker complete the entire 5K race, he was the only politician to walk. Additional kudos to my teammates: Dave, Fay, Linda Blake, Ruth Ann Marvel, Keile, Kyle and Nancy and Casey Kitchens, who was the youngest walker to complete the walk. I love you all and will see to it that the money stays in our area and is put to good use.

Thank you for your recent donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, Safe Return. Your generous contribution takes me one step closer to reaching my goal in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

To date, our team, Caps & Roses, has raised $2,892. You can still donate either by dropping off your donation to the Ocean View PD, or by mailing it to Nancy Colella, 43 Woodland Ave., Ocean View, DE 19970, checks payable to Alzheimer’s Association, DVC. God bless you.

The money raised and additional events will locally support individuals with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers. Your contribution has already made a difference in our community.

Thank you again for supporting the Law Enforcement component of Alzheimer’s disease (Safe Return).

Nancy L. Colella, Captain
OVPD/Cap 8 Caps & Roses

Another reader responds to letter-writer

After reading his letter to the editor on Sept. 29, I’m wondering what exactly is Thomas Keeley afraid of? That some people actually choose not to believe what he believes and therefore object to having his particular beliefs rammed down their throats at public gatherings?

He claims to be tolerant, and yet he calls those who think differently “enemies of our country and our way of life.” He offers not a shred of evidence to support the charge.

The country he describes and the way of life he heralds in no way resemble the place the Founding Fathers intended, as Mary K. Ryan so eloquently explained in her earlier letter. Mr. Keeley offers no argument to refute her, just calls the sensible intent to keep religious partisanship away from our shores “baloney.”

Mr. Keeley then proceeds to target the same old kneejerk bogeymen — secular humanists — that is, people who think for themselves instead of relying on ancient texts; and the ACLU, an organization that has long fought for our civil liberties against those who would make everyone conform to one faith.

I suspect it’s the word “liberties” that scares Mr. Keeley — the freedom to pray or not to pray, believe or not believe, without being badgered by people who insist that their way is the only true way.

Mr. Keeley is welcome to his certitude and his righteousness. After all, it’s a free country. If he wants to pray, he can pray. Nobody wants to stop him from doing that. However, he needs to extend the same courtesy to those who pray differently or not at all. We are all of us Americans.

Carolyn D. Lewis
Ocean View

Gay ‘conversion’ a return to anti-science

Most thinking Christians today are justifiably embarrassed by various anti-scientific notions held by the Church over the past two millennia.

As it happens, the earth is not flat. The sun does not revolve around the earth. Dark skin is caused by melanin and protects from the sun, rather than signifying God’s intention that people with it should be enslaved. Schizophrenia is not demon possession and can be treated medically to good effect.

But things have not really changed. Rejecting all reputable scientific findings on the subject, many Christians today insist on believing that gay people choose to be gay, and that they can and must be converted into heterosexuals.

The American Psychological Association in August criticized groups such as “Focus on the Family” for erroneously labeling homosexuality an illness and advocating so-called “conversion therapy”: “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by … Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

As a Christian and a gay man, I dare to hope for a better day when prejudice, not science, will be considered the enemy.

Douglas Marshall-Steele

Election time is a time to think of many issues

This coming election is a strange one. We are in a war, yet we are not united to win it. Political party politics puts its agenda ahead of our country’s best interests.

Yet, the ultimate effect will be upon us, not upon them. It is a time to think about who we vote for and what it will mean later if we elect the wrong candidates.

The days when you just voted blindly for the political party of your choice are over. No one party really represents us completely — we have to pick and choose the people within them.

Both parties have conservatives and liberals, and though the mix is not the same, both exist. The days of simple party choosing are over. Hard as it is, we have to think carefully what is best for us and for our country. It is not easy but it is necessary.

For the first time in our history since the revolution against England we have those within us who are siding with the enemy and they do it openly. They call it free speech.

We have politicians who use the current war against terrorism, as serious as it is, to further their aim to regain political power. Their attacks are not against the terrorists, they are against our government, our very survival. Their words are picked up by the terrorists and turned into added hatred toward our troops and our country. Their accusations against our troops are used to dishonor them and to uphold the enemy.

They know no bounds in their attempt to regain power, even if it is as the expense of making America look mean and smaller in the world’s eyes, and even accuse it of torture of innocent terrorists held by us in relatively luxurious captivity.

How do we tolerate these unpatriotic attacks from within upon our world safety? What good does it do them to try to elevate themselves at the expense of the nation’s reputation as model of moral authority? Our patriotic soldiers are fighting for us and willing to give up their lives for our country. Yet, we have a political party that is willing to give up our country for their political lives.

As hard as it is to admit, it is the Democratic Party.

On the other hand, the other alternative is a political party that poses as conservative but plays at liberalism behind the scenes. Only one thing comes to mind about liberalism and that is it shows itself to be the enemy of the Founding Fathers’ Constitution and Bill of Rights. They built into them a superb set of moral conditions that enabled us to rise to our present stance of top of the world morality, based upon their true rules of statesmanship.

We have to realize that our national moral strength is our one great feature that sets us apart — and we don’t value it as we should. We have organizations such as the ACLU that scheme carefully and endlessly to destroy the values of the Founding Fathers.

They use shyster-lawyer tactics to urge about- face opinions on basic moral issues, urging use of international laws to encourage disregard for the Constitution, influencing the Supreme Court to forget they are there only to interpret that document and to adopt perverse ideas.

That only encourages our Congress to serve their lobbyists instead of their constituents. We are in the middle of a political morass that not only deserves a time-out for thinking but absolutely demands it.

Let us start our thinking by realizing the basis of our problem. Exactly what is a conservative and what is a liberal? Actually, even though ridiculed, a conservative is merely one who stands up for those moral qualities that made us a great nation. It is someone who believes in God and the life God describes for us, who loves and respects his neighbor, does not steal nor bear false witness, is faithful to his wife and children, and who respects life.

Yet those qualities instilled in generations before us by the Ten Commandments are despised and ridiculed as fanatical “conservative.” And why is that? What is evil in those motives? Nothing is. But there is a reason behind hatred of the Ten Commandments.

The reason is that the Ten Commandments are a major pat of the basis of civil and moral law. Over the centuries, they have helped to shape the world that recognizes them into a relatively peaceful society. Without those principles, there would be total chaos.

Disregarded, there are no restrictions on hate, murder, stealing, lies, slander, abortion, disrespect, marital infidelity. Pornography, homosexuality — you name it, anything goes.

Liberals do not wish to be restricted from doing whatever it occurs to them to do. Without a restriction to truth, they can lie, deceive, scheme and kill with impunity. Unchecked, it can go to any lengths to achieve a purpose — and the result is anarchy in law.

The ACLU specializes in it. By their attacks on the Ten Commandments, they can propose any evil idea as an authorized and legal civil “right” — an exact opposite of what the Constitution and Bill of Rights intended. They are in collusion with their liberal pals in Congress and in federal courts and their corrupted Supreme Court liberals.

The simple reason for attack on religion is not that those who practice it are dangerous fanatics, it is that they do not agree to kick God out to let anything whatever in.

Liberalism, therefore, is just a way to circumvent the Founding Fathers who gave up their lives for their country. It wants to substitute the un-founding fathers of today who wish to give up their country for their political party’s life, and their own joy in deceiving the American people. These are harsh words indeed, but they are unfortunately true. The issue is not just a trading of ideas; it is the casting away of our national unity and strength which means national survival.

They are clever and they are good at spreading hate. They particularly hate Christianity, which preaches love, because they secretly follow the dictum of hate. Just disagree with them and they really pour it on. They are good at it. Christianity is bad in their eyes because it puts a damper on hate.

So, in this coming election, remember it is a time to clean house. Those in present political power in Delaware who are in conflict with the ideal of giving up their lives for America, and who are living a life of opposite values, screen them out by voting for a person who is more American.

Forget political party; vote for the person. If he or she does not fit the ideal American model of good character, truth and integrity, don’t give a vote. If both parties are less than ideal, vote for the one who is at least a better choice

But, above all, vote for the candidates that put America first. Remember that the best political candidate is not the best liar. You would have an impossible time trying to find that one — there are so many good at it. Find one that is not so good, one you think you can trust, one that acts out of a real love of country, one that realizes he is an elected public servant, not a freelance con artist.

We have to ask ourselves who, regardless of political party, possess the brains, the wisdom, the education the experience and the integrity to do the best job for our country. We need statesmen, not hack politicians who are in it for themselves and not for us. We need to carefully screen them and cast out the self-serving ones, even those already in office.

In the old days, a wise layman would accept an elected office in order to give it his wisdom and integrity at his own expense, not to gain from it personally. They sacrificed their lives for our nation, not to get fat on it. They had to neglect their personal lives to serve their county.

Contrast that to our present day politicians, most of whom do not even qualify as statesmen, and who hardly ever succeed in making a personal imprint on the history of the United States. Why? Because they just don’t have it in them.

Every position in our elected government offices should be filled with the best qualified, not the best actor. In the army, a new recruit is not made a general, nor in the navy is a kid off the farm made an admiral.

In Delaware today, we have a nice young man, Beau Biden, newly out of law school, without a rounded legal experience nor a wide record of legal knowledge, who wants to be the Attorney General. Wisdom comes with age and experience.

Why would anyone so obviously inexperienced or unqualified nominate himself as the top legal man in Delaware? Could it be because he considers it a political goal and not an opportunity to serve the people? We have others in Delaware who do just that. Like father, like son?

On the other hand, why do our members of the Senate, Biden and Carper, always vote the far left liberal agenda when the people of Delaware are basically conservative? Why does our member of the House of Representatives vote more with the opposite party than his own? Why does our Governor allow developers to invade our counties and profit from over-development that will result in lower quality of living but higher taxes for everyone in order to give a select few politicians and their developer pals big real estate profits?

Delaware is a rapidly developing state, with economic, legal and moral standards so long established being circumvented and turned upside down by both political parties who are serving themselves at the ultimate expense of the unaware taxpayers who vote by rote.

Those days of simple trust of your elected officials are over. Delaware has been invaded by the more sophisticated and corrupted ideals of surrounding states whose citizens are flocking here to escape what is entering with them. To preserve the innate good character of Delaware, we need to consider this next election as a first step to preserve what is left of the old-fashioned integrity this state had that made it what it was. It is worth fighting for.

So, consider very carefully who you vote for in the next election. Good men exist in both parties and they should be selected on their own merits and not on party political spin. Do some checking.

In both political parties there are candidates who put America first. Find them and vote out those who do not fit the mold. Think about it. The rest of your life you have to live by the result of that vote.

Charles N. Valenti
Rehoboth Beach

Maddex is the one to help all of us

In reacting to the entry of Bob Maddex into the race for 38th District representative, Gerald Hocker suggested that the three most important issues facing southeastern Sussex County are roads, workmen’s compensation, and health insurance.

As far as roads are concerned, there can be little disagreement. But Mr. Hocker has been in office for four years, and we can rightly ask: what has he done to help solve this pressing problem? Does he have any plans that will bring solutions before our transportation network gets even worse?

And the availability and cost of health insurance are indeed statewide concerns. Again, what has Mr. Hocker done to help bring health care to our uninsured citizens? What has he done to help lower health insurance rates?

I can tell you at least that when he was offered a bill to do just this, one passed overwhelmingly by the Delaware Senate, a committee on which he sits killed the legislation without even allowing it to come to a vote in the House.

Mr. Hocker, representing special business interests, bowed to the insurance industry. This stonewalling of reasonable solutions is not the way to help Delawareans obtain better and less expensive health care.

Workers’ compensation is certainly an invaluable benefit. Yet citing this as one of our area’s most pressing concerns shows Mr. Hocker’s obvious bias for those issues that affect him as a businessman — to the exclusion of the pressing concerns of most families and individuals in our district.

Affordable housing, smart growth, clean air not polluted by our local power plant, a year-round economy, rewarding jobs for young people and other workers, not to mention health care and transportation – where does Mr. Hocker stand on these significant issues that impact the daily lives of residents in lower Sussex County?

We need someone in Dover who will find 21st-century solutions to 21st-century problems. Bob Maddex knows that the 38th District is probably the most beautiful in all of Delaware. Let’s keep it that way by supporting him on Nov. 7.

Bobbie Carroll

Reader: South Bethany has issues to resolve

I was a member of the South Bethany traffic committee a few years ago and suggested to the committee to place a sidewalk on Canal Drive from Russell Road to Tamarack Drive. The cost will be about $15,000.

This never happened. The town was contemplating the idea of placing a sidewalk on York Road for the price of $10,000. This road is far less traveled and has less foot traffic than Canal Drive. A lot of people walk and ride bikes in South Bethany; many of them walk on the wrong side of the road, not facing traffic.

I told the police chief of South Bethany about the signs that are well displayed in Bethany, instructing people to walk facing traffic and to ride your bikes with the traffic. No signs have been displayed thus far but signs have been posted saying, “Please Do Not Feed the Water Fowl.” What is more important?

The town has taken down all of the metal sign poles and replaced them with wooden poles. They have never replaced the Neighborhood Watch signs. The SBPOA Neighborhood Watch is responsible for watching 700 homes. This has kept crime down in South Bethany for many years running.

I was told by John Fields (councilman) that all of Bethany’s wires are underground. And parts of South Bethany are not. As an ex-electrical lineman and a troubleshooter (troublemaker is what the mayor calls me) I got onto the committee about placing the wires underground — the wires are for the electrical, telephone and cable.

This would cost a great deal of money and John said that “we” would raise the taxes. An example of this is the wires in Cat Hill and other parts of town have their wires underground — at no cost to them. Now, with this proposal, the homeowners will have to pay to have the remaining wires placed underground. It makes no sense to me.

I do want to say something positive about the town. The town has two very good maintenance men in the town — Don and Jim. They are great assets to our community. Thanks for doing a great job.

Michael Matera
South Bethany

Fred Hudson Road is extremely dangerous

We have been residents of the Salt Pond for the past 3 1/2 years. We use this residence during the summer season, as well as the holidays.

One of the primary reasons we chose to purchase a home in Bethany Beach was the location to the ocean, as well as the significant amenities in this neighborhood.

One of the disturbing issues for us over the years has been the inability to walk or bike to the beach in a safe manner. Fred Hudson Road has proven to be an extremely dangerous route because of the heavy traffic pattern due to new development and the lack of safe/wide paths for walking and bicycling.

Alternative routes, like Central Avenue to Route 26 also have similar problems, lack of sidewalks and/or paths. Many accidents have resulted in deaths on both of these roadways to pedestrians.

As a result, we have limited to driving to the beach, with the constant struggle of finding adequate parking. The establishment of paths and additional bike racks located at the beaches could improve the parking situation, and provide individuals with the opportunity to get safely to the beach.

I am a mother of two children, with significant medical issues that only allows me to get exercise through non-weight bearing means (i.e. biking or swimming). As a result, I look to you to help support such changes.

Your strong consideration for change would be greatly appreciated.

J. Tighe
Salt Pond

Frankford library offers thanks for help

The Frankford Public Library Board of Trustees would like to thank Gordon Mariner and his staff at Ad-Art Sign Company in Georgetown for their superior work on our new sign.

Mr. Mariner conceptualized a beautiful and creative design that enhances the renovations made to our library building.

In addition to their skillful and speedy completion, Mr. Mariner’s staff donated considerable time and talent to the project. When a civic-minded company such as Ad-Art steps up to the plate, it benefits numerous Sussex County citizens.

Carrie Bennett, Marla Daisey, Eunice Holloway, Sandra Simpson, Penney Steen
Frankford Public Library
Board of Trustees

Hocker responds to CITGO allegations

I feel that I need to respond to recent published allegations about my association with CITGO.

Based in Houston, Texas, CITGO is a refiner and marketer of gasoline and diesel fuel. It is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of the national oil company of Venezuela.

This South American republic is currently led by President Hugo Chavez, a man with a leftist ideology who has lately made headlines by making comments critical of President Bush and his administration.

Let me be clear that I am appalled by Mr. Chavez’s anti-American rhetoric. I also need to point out that my association with CITGO is not one of my choosing. When I began selling gasoline many years ago, I signed a long-term contract with Gulf Oil Company. Gulf’s domestic retail operations were later purchased by CITGO.

So, while I never sought this relationship, circumstances have led to my having a contractual obligation to sell CITGO products.

What many people do not realize is that Venezuela has vast oil reserves and that many multi-national companies are supporting and developing that country’s oil resources. Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Conoco-Phillips and others have spent billions of dollars developing operations there and have paid the Venezuelan government handsomely for the privilege. Boycott CITGO because their revenue helps support Hugo Chavez’s regime and you’d likely be buying from another company that is funneling money to the Venezuelan government.

The unfortunate reality is that our country imports approximately 60 percent of its oil needs and many of the people we do business with to meet this demand are not our friends. If we truly want to undermine the power of governments that are hostile to America, we need to develop more of our own crude oil resources. The U.S. is the third-leading producer of crude oil in the world and we have the potential to produce more.

We need to remove some of the shackles we’ve placed on ourselves that prevent American companies from exploring and pumping oil from vast portions of our own territory.

We should also be far more aggressive in making the development of alternative sources of energy a national priority.

Only when we do these things will we be able to disarm loose cannons like Hugo Chavez.

Gerald W. Hocker
President, G&E/Hocker’s

Reader agrees with writer from last week

In response to Mr. Keeley’s letter to the editor on Sept. 29, I just want to say I agree with him totally and he has put forth my feelings better than I ever could. Thank you, Mr. Keeley.

I would also like to add that it seems the phrase “separation of church and state” was never in the Constitution.

As you can see, there was a phrase “wall of separation between church and state” that was coined in a letter from Jefferson to a Baptist leader and has been taken out of context and used as if it were part of the Constitution and as such distorts what the founders’ original thoughts were on the place of religion in government.

Actually, the Constitution says the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Both the free exercise clause and the establishment clause place restrictions on the government concerning laws they pass or interfering with religion. No restrictions are placed on religions except perhaps that a religious denomination cannot become the state religion.

Actually, if you go to the Web site given here (www.allabouthistory.org/separation-of-church-and-state.htm) you can read all this for yourselves.

Joan Springer
Ocean View