Email letters, Feb. 23, 2012

Presidential edict violates separation of church and state

I find it extremely hypocritical of those (ACLU) who are so adamant about separation of church and state are totally silent when a presidential edict (Obamacare) states there will be no separation of church and state.

RALPH NASH
Grand Junction

School District hypocritical over religious songs

Is this the same School District 51 that banded the singing of Silent Night at concert just a couple of years ago? If so, who are the real hypocrites here? Could it be the district, the choir director or The Daily Sentinel?

AJ MORRIS
Grand Junction

Time has come to tax the churches

Billions of dollars in revenue are lost every year for cities, counties and states, as a result of religious organizations that enjoy tax-exempt status. However, this tax exemption contradicts the First Amendment, which requires government to respect the right to practice your own brand of religion, and also requires that government not establish or sponsor any particular religion or religious organization. It’s an either/or proposition, and you can’t have it both ways.

The simple reality is this: a tax exemption is a form of subsidy, and the Constitution bars government from subsidizing religion. In 1970, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote: “If believers are entitled to public financial support, so are nonbelievers. A believer and nonbeliever under the present law are treated differently because of the articles of their faith. I conclude that this tax exemption is unconstitutional.” Even conservative Justice Rehnquist declared in 1983 that: “Both tax exemptions and tax deductibility are a form of subsidy that is administered through the tax system. A tax exemption has much the same effect as a cash grant to the organization of the amount of tax it would have to pay on its income.”

In order to enjoy tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, a religious organization cannot be an action organization which attempts to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities, and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Unfortunately, we are overwhelmed with the daily newsfeed of churches meddling in campaigns and blatantly attempting to influence legislation on so-called social issues. If America were to enforce its existing laws, then these religious organizations should immediately be stripped of their tax-exempt status.

The time has arrived to tax the churches (and synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.).

JAMES ARMSTRONG
Grand Junction

Simpson wrong on immigration

At first glance, Sen. Alan Simpson seems to be a well-educated individual, who shares the concerns of a majority of Americans. In fact, it is easy to agree with him on a host of issues. He is not pleased with AARP. Neither are a majority of Americans who witnessed AARP go all in on the health care issue. But, due to pay-offs, kick-backs and arm-twisting by Sen. Harry Reid, and a complete capitulation by Congressman Bart Stupak, over federally funded abortions, the bill got passed, against the will of the people.

Simpson says he would like a “simpler tax system.” Most people would agree, except for the percentages he has quoted. Does he even realize that a given percentage of $40,000 is way less than the same given percentage of $500,000? Yes, we should all have some skin in the game. Much better that every person, business and every corporation, pay the same rate, percentage-wise, but separately. That is simple, doable, and uncluttered.

As for his stance on immigration — well, that needs work. He co-wrote the Simpson/Mazzoli bill, (SB1200) that Reagan signed in 1986. Simpson says: “That one didn’t work” — “But, it did bring 3 million people out of the dark.” How so, senator? Are those 3 million people full-fledged Americans in every way? Do they all speak English? Pay taxes? Have they all turned in their bogus identification for legal Social Security cards? Just how many more, above those 3 million, have sponsored family members to join them? Was it a “one-time amnesty” deal?

Has the Democratic leadership, at any time since 1986, enacted strict enforcement measures, as their part of the “one-time” amnesty deal with Reagan? I can answer that: No.  Reagan got stiffed by the Democrats, and it has been going downhill ever since. What about the 12 million illegals (the number the government will admit to) within our borders now? Why do you suppose that many snuck into America since 1986? Could it be they are awaiting another amnesty? I see no strict enforcement measures at our border, or anywhere else. The present administration is making it far easier for illegals to come here, stay here, and get taxpayer-funded perks.

DAVID F. ZULIAN
Grand Junction

Radical right wing want to move back to Dark Ages

Seems like those who want to take their country back want to return to the days when people of color and women knew their rightful place. After all, shouldn’t women be pregnant and barefoot and confined to the kitchen?

Regarding birth control, why hasn’t someone come up with a method to harvest the unfertilized eggs that every woman’s body sloughs off naturally so that no offspring will be lost? Makes as much sense as the notions being bandied about by the radical right wing of the Republican party. I know, let’s go back to the Dark Ages!

Fair warning: Don’t mess with women.

HOLLY VON HELMS
Montrose


My wife and I have raised four sons and have six grandchildren, all of which were celebrated as blessings and are or are growing into productive citizen.s In our mid 70s, we look back with joy at decisions that we and our offspring have made. My wife and I had reservations as to our ability to afford the responsibility. We committed on the premise that the child was ours. Neither of us had the power to decide, alone, on its fate.

RONALD BRAUKHOFF
Grand Junction

Garfield County commissioners should vote ‘No’ on zoning change

Aldo Leopold, a father of American land conservation, said “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” We are in danger of losing our breakfast, lunch and dinner if Garfield County commissioners approve a zoning change requested by Bedrock Asphalt to rezone rural land to industrial next to the region’s largest organic farm, Eagle Springs Organic Farm in Silt.

We ask our county commissioners to obey the existing Land Use Resolution which requires them to vote “No.” The Unified Land Use Resolution (2007) 7-103 requires that the “nature, scale and intensity of the proposed use be compatible with adjacent land uses and will not result in adverse impact to adjacent land.” Further, section 7-201 clarifies the protection of agricultural lands by stating that “Land use changes on land adjacent to or directly affecting agricultural operations shall not adversely affect, or otherwise limit the viability of existing agricultural operations.”

The existing asphalt plant Bedrock operates on rented land divulged that they emit 1.9 tons of Particulate Matter, 3.3 tons of Nitrogen Oxide, 0.93 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds, 5.81 tons of Carbon Monoxide and 1.69 tons of Sulphur Dioxide each year. The prevailing west winds would blow 13.63 tons of emissions towards Eagle Springs’ certified organic farm compromising soil, water and food quality for the farm and the people living along County Road 346.

Farmers who invest millions of dollars in their properties, as Eagle Springs’ owner has done with solar panels to power his greenhouses, need to know that their investment to provide the rest of us with food is secure. County commissioners, please vote for this region to remain rural and healthy.

ILLÈNE PEVEC
Carbondale

Opening Arctic refuge to oil drilling won’t lower prices

Here we go again. When oil prices get high there is a push to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for leasing with the resulting roads and drilling. Rep. Scott Tipton supports and voted for HB 3408.

Why can’t we leave some places in a pristine condition? Would we open Rocky Mountain National Park or the Flat Tops Wilderness to drilling if their were the possibility of oil under them?

Even if oil were available from the refuge, it would not lower the price of gas to us. Oil is in the global market and those who are willing to pay more will get it.

DAVID HOEFER
Grand Junction



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