Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2012

Atheists are not cause of all this
Do not blame problems of our country or time on atheists. In general, most of them are as troubled by problems as anyone else. Atheists do not abandon morals; most of them live by moral systems as respectful of others as anyone who is religious. Those few who ask for no religious music where they are forced to go are within their right, but remember there are Christians such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a variety of non-Christian believers who also have either strict rules about Christmas music or don’t want it at all.
All Americans have the right to believe in God or not and to act on that belief in the way of our choosing. I’m sorry that some religious believers feel so strongly that their way is the one and only right way of living that they feel everyone else’s non-belief is the cause of the evils of the world. I, too, believe strongly that this is not the case, so I am as guilty as the others. I do believe that everyone has the right to believe as they will, and this leads me to a vicious circle of beliefs, even within myself!
However, I believe that society’s problems stem, whether religious or non-religious, from a lack of respect for our fellow humans. Do we not all believe certain basic human rights: the right to live in peace and goodwill (a very Christian belief, but you don’t have to be Christian to espouse it), the right to liberty (to believe as we individually really think about many issues), and the right to the pursuit of happiness (of course when that happiness does not infringe on others). All of these rights begin with respect for others. Pray for our problems to the god of your choice if that is your belief, but do not speak ill of others who do not but who work in other ways to help humanity. In this glorious Christmas season that somehow brings all Americans, whether Christian or not, more together, let us work toward a society based on respect for one another. Christ’s story provides a beautiful example of love of humanity and respect for others as its basis; whether we believe in the story or not, let us all live by its example. Whether we believe or not, is that not what Christ wanted?
— David Hagy
Misplaced priorities
Constructing a central administration office that’s much nicer than our schools is not the way to show how much we value education or teachers and students.
If you truly value education, visit schools to see what’s going on. School board members should tour schools before deciding on an option for a central office. Look at needed repairs and renovations. Start with the oldest schools. Take the list of previously requested renovations with you when you visit. (That list seems to have disappeared!)
Every person claiming we need to build this “showcase” office to demonstrate how much we care about education should channel that passion into working as a classroom volunteer in our schools or by mentoring students. Get personally involved.
You can make a difference in the lives of the people of this county, but you can’t do it by building an unnecessarily expensive downtown office for administrators or a monument to the previous School board.
In contrast, by not constructing this office downtown, and choosing a less expensive option instead, more money will be available to improve classrooms, art rooms and other physical structures at schools or provide areas within elementary schools where students who are disruptive can be taught separately. The extra $2 million needed to build a 62,000-square-foot structure downtown could go a long way to improving schools.
School board members and county commissioners: Make the best use of our resources. You have a responsibility not to over-commit school funds. How will you be able to finance school improvements if you tie up all incoming capital money with this? Reducing the amount spent will help keep your options open.
Taxpayers voted new School board members into office — except Mr. Overcash (who was appointed to fill a vacancy) — with the expectation that you will find a more economical solution than what is being proposed.
— Kathy Yost