Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Letters to The Editor-Standing Up for My Beliefs

For over ten years, I've had a letter to the editor publish virtually every month in our local Newspaper, The News Star. They present a pretty good history of both local and national events and my opinions on them, as well as my thoughts about a lot of different areas related to our nation's past and future.

What follows are a few of those letters, with some commentary about why I wrote them. I hope my readers will go back and read them at their leisure, while at the same time, keeping up with my daily blog from here on out.

Thanks for following me and reading my work. Pray for our nation; fight for its principles and its future.




INTRODUCTION

I love America. I spent twenty years in the military service of my country, and I loved every moment of that privilege. Even the times I had to be away from my family, I loved what I did, although I hated the separation. I felt like I was doing what I was called to do, and that is to defend this nation, to fly airplanes, to lead men and women, and to accomplish the missions tasked to me to get done. I felt like I was doing something honorable, worthwhile, and necessary, even though it meant a lot of personal sacrifices, and I do not regret any of those decisions and sacrifices.
I grew up in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Life was a whole lot less complicated then. My parents divorced when I was about three. Dad had a drinking problem that carried over from World War II, and my mother had a nervous breakdown. To give them time to get treated and get their lives back together, my sister, Georgianna, and I went to stay temporarily with our grandmothers; her with my Mom’s mother, and I with my Dad’s mother. That temporary stay turned into more permanent stays than anticipated. While we were living with the grandmothers, Mom and Dad both remarried, and when they wanted us to move back with them, we both wanted to stay with our grandmothers, so they let us. I always felt the love of both, though, so I never felt mistreated, or unloved in any fashion; I always looked at it like God gave me two good sets of parents, and I felt blessed.
During the summers at my grandmother’s house, I usually slept on her front screen porch in Rayville, Louisiana, under an old Hunter ceiling fan that blew to me what seemed like a hurricane force wind that kept me under the covers, even in the hottest part of the summer. The porch was screened in on two sides and wrapped around the front and side entrances to her house on Julia Street, where we lived surrounded by her five sisters, Aunt Myrtle, Aunt Birdie, Aunt Wibbie (Olivier), Aunt Elizabeth, and Aunt Annie, collectively known as the Scott sisters. By the time I moved in with my grandmother (at age three), they were all widowed or divorced, and they’d all settled in right there together.
Rayville was a wonderful place to grow up. It was typical of the sleepy, Southern towns stereotyped in the movies; friendly people, slow pace, simple values that seemed to me all centered around church activities and school activities. We said the Pledge of Allegiance in school, we prayed, we got out butts beat and spent time in the Principal’s office when we were bad. During t he school year, we played football, baseball, basketball (those who were tall enough and could jump; I was short and could not jump!), and were on the track team. We played in the band (I played Tenor Sax until the band director in Junior High made me choose band or football, and like an idiot, I chose football). And every Sunday, we went to both morning and even church, and on Wednesdays, to prayer meeting or MYF meetings.
We had sock hops, birthday parties where we actually played Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven (where we had to walk around the house with a girl in the dark and, hopefully, were rewarded with a kiss on the lips!)
My Daddy took me hunting and fishing, same as every other Daddy did their sons, and I both loved and hated every minute. I loved the hunting and fishing, but hated the heat, cold, snakes, and mosquitoes that went with those pastimes.
When Vietnam came along, I wanted to go and fight communism. I was taught in school that communism was evil; that it stole people’s freedoms, that the government owned everything and had spies everywhere in order to keep people from revolting against the oppressive form of government. We were all taught that it was an honorable thing to be in the military. Every male of physical ability went into the service for at least two years. I wanted to be a professional military pilot like my Uncle Bubba, who flew jets in the Marine Corps. That was my goal from the time I was about ten or eleven years old, and that is all I had ever dreamed of doing.
In my day, guys like girls, and girls liked guys. Who was going with whom, who had broken up with whom, who liked whom, and who hated whom were the topics at recess and between classes. In the fifties and sixties, homosexuality was a term I had never heard of, and really never even thought about. I just assumed the whole world was like Rayville; that men and women liked each other, they got married, had kids, worked hard to buy a home, and grew old together. That was the way it was and, I thought, would always be.
We could sleep with the doors unlocked, criminals were punished, and we felt safe with the law. The laws protected the innocent and punished the guilty according to the severity of their crimes.
What went wrong? Why is it that today, I am sickened when I sit down to watch TV and cannot go ten minutes without hearing a commercial on public airways stations for women’s hygiene products, women’s underwear, personal lubricants, pills to create erections, pills to stimulate abortions (the “morning after” pills), and “smiling Bill” who is the world’s happiest man because he uses a male enhancement product? Why do the soap operas show men and women in their underwear undressing each other and engaged in passionate love-making that leaves very little to the imagination?
I do not want to see that when I turn on the TV. I especially do not want my children and grandchildren to see that. But even if I restrict the viewing to the broadcast stations as opposed to the cable stations, it is impossible to avoid exposure to the above mentioned scenes and commercials.
I want the America back whose values I loved as a kid. I want my children to love this country the way I love it. I want them to have my values, and I want the option to choose whether or not they can pray at school, whether or not they have to be taught homosexuality is a sin or an “acceptable alternative lifestyle”. I want them to feel safe sleeping on a screened front porch with the door unlocked in their homes at night. I am sick of hearing a liberal congress describe condemnation of homosexuality as a hate-crime, and having a left-wing homosexual congressman condemn a preacher and ask that he be uninvited from delivering the inaugural prayer.
America has lost its way. I do not want to have to tolerate those misguided individuals in our society who think that God is their enemy because He imposes a set of values of right and wrong that do not conform to their desired lifestyle choices. I absolutely despise the reality that America now puts Christianity on the same legal level as it does Satanism, Voodoo, Islam, or even Judaism. That was never the intention of the founding fathers, and I cannot accept the errant judgment of a rogue Supreme Court that legislated that reality by decree as it established that by declaring the laws that prohibited those conditions as unconstitutional.
I do not like being told I am wrong when I adhere to the values that the world and this nation have held as a national standard for nearly two hundred years. I do not believe that God changes, that right and wrong change, and that God is either dead or never existed. I do not believe nor do I want to accept beliefs that the U.S. Supreme Court is the ultimate governing body in America. I believe, instead, that the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to be the least powerful branch of the U.S. Government, as did the framers of our Constitution and our nation. do not want to have to feed, cloth, shelter, and provide a defense for individuals that are convicted of heinous crimes against nature and society; I want them dead or in prison without the possibility of parole. I do not want an America that tolerates the killing of unborn babies due to some imagined implication in the U.S. Constitution of a woman’s right to privacy which gives her the right to destroy an unborn fetus at will.
I do not think I am alone in my desires. I think Americans are growing more tired each day of seeing criminals coddled and treated like spoiled brats rather than criminals. I think Americans are sick and tired of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary running roughshod over the voices of our elected officials who want to protect life, especially that of unborn children, who want to limit government’s ability to intrude into our personal lives, who do not tell us we cannot dislike or speak out against homosexuality or abortion without being branded a racist, bigot, or being branded as one committing a hate crime.
A few years back, I got sick and tired of what I call the stupidity of much of our society. I started writing letters to the editor and sending them to my local newspaper. I received a lot of feedback from friends and neighbors, and got lots of comments and reactions to my letters online. The newspaper has published one of my letters every month for at least the last four or five years, and I have twice been allowed to be a guest columnist.
With all the feedback, both positive and negative, I thought that some people from other than our local area might be interested in reading the letters and my explanations of what prompted me to write them. So, I have collected as many of them as I can get from the newspaper, plus some that I had saved myself on my computer and have picked out the ones that I think might be of interest and have included them in this book. I hope they stimulate thought and possible awaken the sleeping giant of conservatism that has been drugged, bullied, or lied to sleep within the souls of Americans nationwide.
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MILITARY PERSONNEL DESERVE RECOGNITION
Originally Published May 30, 2005

“As Memorial Day approached, I was struck by the awesome dedication of the soldiers that guard the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. In all weather - 7/24/365 - they quietly keep vigil over our unknown soldiers. For two years they keep this assignment, then are pledged to a life of honor and purity unheard of in today's society so that they do not disgrace the honor of their service. What a glorious example of what is good, right, honorable and courageous in our nation.
In fact, isn't it ironic that our military, in general, is full of good, honorable and courageous young men and women willing to lay their lives down for ours, but all we hear about, and is so infuriating to me, is that so much emphasis is placed on a few "bad eggs'' in the military. We never hear much at all about the noble, dedicated soldiers who do things the right way all the time in the face of terrible conditions, criticism, and a lack of support from those they are defending.
Another irony to me is that most of these brave soldiers work for something approaching the poverty level of their civilian workforce contemporaries. Most couldn't conceive of making what the senators and representatives in our nation's capital make.
It's too bad that all our elected officials and the liberal press can't be as honorable, courageous, selfless and righteous as those soldiers that serve to defend their rights and freedoms. Thank you to the soldiers. God bless them.”
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

I wrote this letter after I saw a documentary on the U.S. Army soldiers that are assigned the duty of standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Rarely have I ever felt so proud to have been called a soldier as I was after I saw that documentary. What awesome, beautiful, proud and yet humble young men. Shown below is the official creed of “The Sentinels”; those soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division whose responsibility it is to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery:
The Sentinel’s Creed
My dedication to this sacred duty
Is total and wholehearted-
In the responsibility bestowed on me
Never will I falter-
And with dignity and perseverance
My standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
And the discomfort of the elements
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
To the best of my ability.
It is he who commanded the respect I protect;
His bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
Alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
This soldier in honored Glory rest
Under my eternal vigilance.
The requirements to become a member of this time-honored group of soldiers are extremely stringent. Over eighty percent of the soldiers to try to become a Sentinel do not make it. Once chosen, the training is very intense. They must maintain a tremendous amount of knowledge about Arlington Cemetery, including the location and history of over 150 grave sites, the location of another 150 grave sites, special orders, and lots of general information about Arlington National Cemetery. All of this must be committed to memory and be able to be recited at any time.
I am in awe of the honor and reverence these soldiers show in the way they perform their duties at the tomb. The concept of showing such respect for unknown soldiers that died in the service of his country during combat should touches my heart, and it should touch the heart of every true American. That principal of honoring those who die during wartime in defense of our nation is what is so endearing to me as an American and a former soldier.
An interesting fact is that after each thirty minute tour of guarding the tomb, the ceremonial changing of the guard takes place…night or day; even when no-one is present to observe. The reason that the ceremony remains the same regardless of whether there is someone there to observe or not…the soldiers guarding the tomb want to demonstrate their belief that the soldier(s) resting in the tomb deserve their respect and that honor, and that honor never dies, never diminishes, never dims. I also believe, as I try to put myself in their place, that if God were looking down at me, or if possibly the spirits of those unknown soldiers are watching me from Heaven, then I would want God and they to know that I honor their sacrifice, even when no-one is looking. The Bible says it honors God when we do whatever our work is as though we were doing it for the Lord. I would like to think that someday, when I face God and have to answer for what I have done on this earth, my honoring this unknown fallen comrade in arms would give God pleasure, because I would have done that duty as though doing it to honor Him.
Today, nowhere in American society is honor held in such reverential esteem and value as it is in the military services of our country. Nowhere is it exhibited in such a beautiful, ceremonial practice as it is at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier guarded by the Sentinels. General of the Army (deceased) Douglas MacArthur voiced the creed by which soldiers did, do, and should exist when he was awarded the Thayer Award as he gave the valedictory speech at West Point on 12 May 1962. Three simple words…”Duty, Honor, Country”, summed up how Douglas MacArthur lived his life and became one of our nation’s most revered leaders. As he said in his speech,:
“…those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn…But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.
They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.”
When I went through Officer’s Training School in the U.S. Air Force in 1969, there was a code of conduct, and the enforcement of that code of conduct was expected to be both externally enforced by anyone seeing a violation, and internally enforced by the individual soldier that found himself or herself in violation of the code of conduct. The code was known as the honor code. That code is still very strictly enforced at all four United States military academies and at the Officer Candidate Schools.
I both loved and hated that code when I was in Officer's Candidate School at Lackland AFB, near San Antonio, Texas. I loved it because deep within me, I knew that code would level the playing field for me. I knew that every other candidate that adheared to that code was going through the exact challenges I was going through; challenges that said “no, I can't cut that corner; I can't cheat on that test, I can't hide a mistake that you have made, I can't cover up for another's mistakes, I can't lie and I can't steal. My honor code says that I must adhear to the standards, that I must follow the rules even when I think they are stupid, and even when no-one is looking.
I, and every other soldier is taught that honor is what keeps a soldier focused on his duty when distractions surround him; it is what enables him to endure when everything around him is saying to give in or give up; it is the bond that is always unspoken between soldiers that keeps them acting as a unit and as a soldier when everything around him is being torn apart or blown to pieces by his enemy. It is the glue that holds his spirit, his courage, and his determination to keep fighting in place when everything inside is telling him to run; it is the instinct that causes him to dive onto a live grenade and sacrifice himself to save his comrades in arms beside him.
Duty, Honor, Country; a code that drives soldiers like those to do exactly what they know they are responsible to do, even when no-one is there to observe. They know that God is observing them, and they know that the only thing worse than the act of failure in their duty will be the realization that they will have to live with the knowledge they have let down their brothers and sisters in arms, both living and dead, that have upheld that code for generation after generation, even if it meant sacrificing their own lives to do so.
I spent twenty years in the military; five on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1974, and another fourteen in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserves (1984 – 1998). Contrary to how they are portrayed in the media, the average soldier in the armed forces of the United States is an honorable, brave, and courageous individual.
I watched the soldiers under my command go about their day-to-day responsibilities during training, and in Operation Desert Storm, during wartime. They did their jobs. Most do their jobs in safe, secure environments, but in the back of their minds, they all know that there is likelihood, no matter how small, of their having to go into harms way as they do their jobs. Like me, most hate war. Even those who think they are Rambo, once the bullets start flying around them and they see their buddies fall from gunshot wounds, or get blown to pieces by grenades, artillery, or improvised explosive devices, soon realize that there is nothing glamorous or exciting about war.
The reasons why individuals choose to become soldiers are as varied as the individuals themselves. I did it because that was the only way I could fulfill my lifetime ambition, which was to fly fighter aircraft. Some choose to become a soldier because they see the benefits of a career in the military; a retirement after twenty years, lifetime medical benefits, travel to places that they might not otherwise be able to afford to go, etc. Some choose that profession because they are looking for adventure. Some choose it because they want to challenge themselves. Some choose it because that is what their parents want them to do. Some choose it because the see no other way to make a living for themselves or to escape the situation they are in. Some choose it because that is the only way they can hope to get a college degree. Some choose it because they want to serve their country.
No matter what reason they choose to enter the service, once they join and become a soldier, without a doubt, they are changed forever from they individual that they were. It is inevitable that they change. An individual cannot go through basic training schools or officer training schools in any branch of the military and remain unchanged from the way they were before they joined the military.
Military training focuses on teamwork. From the very first day, we start being indoctrinated into the concept of being part of a team. We are taught that our survival and the success of our mission require us to function as part of a team. We are taught that we must not focus on our own desires, fears, or ideas, but must focus on the completion of the team’s mission. We are not taught that we must give up our initiative or imagination or leadership, only that we must focus all of those abilities not on ourselves or our own desires, but on the accomplishment of our mission and the survival and success of the team that we are a part of.
We all know that there is a possibility, no matter how remote, that as a soldier, we may have to make the decision to lay down our lives for the mission. We all deal with that decision and realization in our own ways. I thought through that realization many times, and each time, the process was almost the same. Each time, I told myself that I had to face the reality that I might not survive the mission I was tasked to accomplish in combat. Once I acknowledged that the possibility existed, I asked myself if I thought I could still do the mission and make that decision to lay down my life if required. It was a decision I had to make ahead of time. I had to decide and commit to myself that, if required, I would make that decision and lay down my life. I weighed the consequences; what would my life be like if I made the decision to quit, say that I could not choose to sacrifice myself for a mission. I thought of hundreds of reasons why I should make that decision, but with each reason I thought of, the knowledge that I would be letting down my fellow soldiers going through the mission, knowing that I might cause someone’s death by my not doing my job or requiring someone be assigned to backfill me that was not as proficient at my job as I, would haunt me for the rest of my life. I thought of times in my past when I’d let myself down; times that still haunted me to that day, and now even to this day, and I decided that I would rather risk death than have to endure those type of thoughts all my life.
At that point, I just turned myself over to God and asked that if His plan was for my life to end, then I just prayed that he would be merciful and not let me suffer. Others I have talked to handled that decision differently; some through denial; some through indifference, some refusing to talk about it; some with bravado. Regardless, we all deal with it and then move on with getting our jobs done.
All of us soldiers are taught early on to deal with pain, fatigue, and mental stress. The basic training programs are going to put every soldier through that experience so that the instructors can see how trainees will function when under the duress they might experience in a combat situation. The military cannot afford to have unpredictable responses from soldiers when in combat or stressful situations. We must develop self-discipline and we must respond immediately to external discipline. We must perform as we were trained to perform, or they endanger not only themselves, but all their teammates and possibly hundreds or thousands of others. I discovered that the process of training that they put us through and how they pushed us as close to the breaking point at they could in stressful or dangerous situations does several things for the us. First, it teaches us what to do in those situations. Second, we can see that we are capable of functioning and functioning well in those situations, which enhances our confidence and strengthens our resolve. Third, it weaves into us feeling of accomplishment, survival, and determination because we see that they are capable of doing our jobs in dangerous and difficult environments. Fourth, it builds unity among our team members when we succeed as a team.
I never understood this until I was on a combat mission in North Vietnam in 1972. I was flying with my pilot, Captain J.P. Soden. We were flying in the number two position on the right wing of the wing commander as we headed towards our target, Phuc Yen Air Base which was north of Hanoi. As we approached the target, we started getting electronic warning in the cockpit of the North Vietnamese scanning us with Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) radars. At first it was a signal that showed they were scanning the sky for us. Almost without thinking, I told J.P. that we had SAM radar scanning us. Almost immediately, the signals changed from scanning to launch strobes at our two o'clock low (off the right front of the aircraft's nose, about fort-five degrees off the nose and coming up at us from below. I immediately started sweeping the quadrant of the sky where the signal was coming from, and I saw the tell-tale sign of the SAM coming up at us...a cloud of dust with an orange fireball below what looked like a flying flagpole coming off the ground.
In training the instructors told us that once we see the missile, we make a radio call and let everyone know that there is a SAM in the air, where it is, and if it is tracking our flight or not. I watched the SAM for about three seconds and I could tell it was not tracking my flight because it was not staying in the same spot on my canopy, but was moving from the front to the back of my canopy, indicating that it was tracking a flight or aircraft behind me.
Without thinking, as soon as I figured out what was going on, I called out on the radio “Trigger Flight...SAM, two o'clock low, no threat”. J.P. asked me “Scott, was that you?” I had to stop for a second and think because I did it instinctively because of the innumerable times I had been through a scenario like that while training in the F4 simulator back at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, our home base. I told J.P., “Yeah, that was me, but I did not even realize I had made the call until you said something”.
I tell that story to demonstrate the point I was making early. In the military, we are trained to fight by simulating combat conditions over and over so many times that our actions are almost automatic. That is the type of training that each and every soldier in the military gets, so that when the real combat situations arise, our reactions are automatic and instantaneous. We learn quickly in combat that life and death are only separated by fractions of seconds. The line in the movie TOP GUN where Tom Cruise says “...up there, you don't have time to think. You think too long, you die!” He nailed the truth in that statement.
As we are taught to fight, we are also taught that we must fight with the creed that General MacArthur spoke of in his speech at West Point...Duty, Honor, Country. You notice in those three words, there is nothing about self. Duty...to our fellow soldiers, to the honor of our struggle and our fellow soldiers and to our mission, and to our country. Duty, Honor, Country. Those words inspire humility, selflessness, respect, courage, devotion, determination, and honor for the proud tradition of those who have fought and died to bring us to where we are today. They also inspire a fierce sense of protection to preserve the nation that our founding fathers and all those that have fought and died from the first shots at Concord through those still fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Throughout all of these struggles, constantly being pounded into our psyche are the traits so eloquently spoken and lived by General MacArthur…Duty, Honor, Country. I would add one word, which, in my humble opinion, is even more important than the other three; God. In His word, in the 15th chapter, 13th verse of the Gospel of John, Jesus states that “Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man may lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus not only spoke these words, but lived them out by accepting his sentence of crucifixion on the cross of Calvary so that all of mankind, until His second coming, would have the opportunity to live in communion with God the Father by choosing to accept Christ as the Messiah.
War kills. Anytime soldiers go into combat, some will inevitably die. With that knowledge, still soldiers readily move forward and face that risk. For their heroism, for their courage, for their willingness to sacrifice, all of us are able to enjoy the privilege of living in the greatest nation that has ever existed. God, Duty, Honor, Country; upon these foundations, America was built, and must stand if it is to continue to be the beacon of hope, truth, justice, and prosperity for the rest of the world. And upon these foundations the Soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier make their appointed rounds seven days a week, twenty-four hours per day, three hundred sixty-five days a year, year after year, until they are officially relieved of their duty, or the second coming of Christ, whichever comes first.
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JUDICIARY MISSTEPS ARE A CONCERN
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 3, 2005

“Approximately 60 years ago, our Supreme Court judges stopped relying on the original intent of the laws as drafted by our founding fathers and instead started misapplying and misinterpreting the Constitution to make law supporting their political agendas.
Someone very wise, about 2000 years ago said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites..." There is something inherently wrong when we are so bluffed by the judiciary that we are more worried about obeying bad law than saving a woman's life being starved and dehydrated to death. Woe to the judges!
As Thomas Jefferson said, "…It has long, however, been my opinion, ...that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary;...working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped." He also stated in a letter to William Jarvis, "…You seem…to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy...The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal."
I think our elected officials have forgotten this and abdicated their powers to the judiciary. Woe to us if we allow this to go unchanged.”
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

Terri Schindler-Schiavo was being starved to death. Her husband had gotten himself into a position where he had the right to decide whether Terri should have her life-sustaining nutrition tube removed or whether it would remain, providing her the nutrition that kept her alive. He claimed that she was brain dead; that she was in a catatonic state and that she had no chance of recovery. Her parents tried to intervene by going to court and asking that they be allowed to take Terri home and take care of her, but the courts said no. They maintained her husband’s authority to terminate her life, which he eventually did. All this, even though the husband had now been living with another woman and was engaged to her at the time he pulled the plug on Terri.
The husband claimed that he knew that Terri would not want to live like this; that they had discussed this possibility before it happened. The courts allowed the husband to pull the plug, and the lady starved to death over the next thirteen days.
That our country would allow something like this to occur is beyond my comprehension. How our courts could allow such bad law as the one that was used to permit this husband to kill this innocent woman is beyond my comprehension. In my mind, it just was one more example of how the values of the founding fathers had just been thrown away and our judicial system being so broken that it is time for a complete re-birthing of the judicial system as envisioned by our founding fathers.
Our founding fathers knew that although the United States was to be a nation of laws; that the lawyers and particularly the judges of our nation were not to be the branch of government that ultimately would hold the final say as to whether something was right or wrong in the land.
In his book Original Intent-The Courts, the Constitution and Religion, David Barton explains that the founders of the nation expected and deliberately wrote into the Constitution language and constraints on the Judiciary such that they were to be the weakest of the three branches of government. Shown below is Mr. Barton’s explanation below as he described the part of the Constitution describing the structure and responsibilities of the three branches of government:
“In a simple overview, Article I of the Constitution sets forth the responsibilities
of the Legislative branch, dedicating 109 lines to describing its
powers; Article II addresses the duties of the Executive branch in 47 lines;
and Article III has a mere 17 lines in its description of the responsibilities
of the Judiciary. The fact that the Legislative branch is listed first, coupled
with the fact that nearly two-thirds of the lines describing the three branches
of government are dedicated to the Congress, implies that our Founders
believed it to be the most important and most powerful branch, with the
Judiciary the least important and least powerful.
This is further confirmed by the fact that the Constitution makes many of
the functions and operations of the Judiciary subject to the control of the
other two branches. For example, the Executive selects and the Legislature
confirms the members of the Judiciary; Congress sets the salaries for judges,
determines the size of the Judiciary, and establishes the scope of their jurisdiction
and the type of cases which might come before them; and Congress
is given the power to remove judges with whom it is dissatisfied. Quite clearly,
the Constitution places many functions of the Judiciary under the oversight
of the other branches—a power not granted reciprocally to the Judiciary.
Additional indication of the overall lack of weight given the Judiciary
is evident in the fact that the Founders, in their farsighted preparations
and planning for the nation’s capitol in Washington, D. C., provided distinct
buildings for the Executive and the Legislature but no building for
the Judiciary. In fact, the Supreme Court was housed in the basement
below the Senate chambers for almost fifty years and did not have its own
separate building until 1935.
In Mr. Barton’s book, numerous quotes by individuals like Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and several Supreme Court Justices who also were signers of the Constitution warned that the Judiciary must not be allowed to become stronger than the Legislative or Executive branches, nor must it be allowed to start legislating by decree by arbitrarily declaring laws unconstitutional with which they disagreed without testing them against the intent of the Constitution.
It is very clear that the framers of the Constitution were also, as a group, individuals that felt the Federal Government must be held in check and not have the authority to usurp the powers that were supposed to be held by the individual states. Yet, that, too has happened.
In the 1947 case Everson vs School Board, the Supreme Court came out with it’s Separation of Church and State decision. In making their decision, they coupled the part of the First Amendment’s establishment clause with the 14th Amendment. Again, as Mr. Barton explains in his book,
In fact, in 1970, Justice William Douglas openly acknowledged
that by coupling the Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, the
Court had not only removed State sovereignty over many areas, but it had
also created an American revolution which . . .
. . . involved the imposition of new and far-reaching constitutional
restraints on the States. Nationalization of many civil liberties has
been the consequence of the Fourteenth Amendment, reversing
the historic position that the foundations of those liberties rested
largely in State law. . . . And so the revolution occasioned by the
Fourteenth Amendment has progressed as Article after Article in
the Bill of Rights has been incorporated in it and made applicable
to the States. (emphasis added)
In my opinion, the results of this policy of the Supreme Court’s legislating by decree have been disastrous for the nation. Since the court started abandoning the ideals of the founding fathers and starting legislating, approximately fifty million babies have been aborted in our nation [roughly the populations of New York, California, and Florida combined],we have on average lower SAT and ACT scores than before, more teenage cases of sexually transmitted diseases, unwed pregnancies, and commissions of violent crimes than anytime in our country’s history. Pornography is as available to our children as bubble gum, and sexual predators and murders are protected more fiercely by national law than the victims of their crimes.
To see the evidence of this, just open the daily newspaper, or try to watch the Super Bowl. During the Super Bowl PETA had a commercial where women stripped off to their underware and pretended to have orgasms while caressing vegetables! Imagine, using half-naked women to stimulate people to eat vegetables rather than eat meat. Today in the newspaper, we have a story about a five-year old girl abducted from her Florida mobile home in the middle of the night. It just so happens that the girl lived in a neighborhood surrounded by over forty registered sex offenders that lived within five miles of her trailer home. The courts, in the name of free speech, have opened our homes up to sexual images, sex commercials for personal lubricants, condoms, birth control pills, and just about any other revolting subject or product one can think of. I hate to even try and watch network television stations. Their daytime soap operas are nothing but mini pornographic movies now. The shows about Hollywood celebrities tend to focus on the sexual exploits of young, beautiful startlets that run around exposing themselves getting in and out of cars while they wear no underwear and we see the images only blurred by digital technology. It makes me sick. There is no way for children not to be exposed to this trash, and there is nothing we can do about it; the courts have spoken.
I read so many cases from the early days of our nation where the courts over and over ruled that obscene materials should not be sold in this nation. But recent courts because of the big money challenges of companies like Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, and dozens of other girlie magazines, have said virtually anything is OK because of protections of “free speech”.
The legislative and executive branches of our government have been virtually neutered by the courts. They have abdicated their powers under the Constitution and have turned themselves into political power machines that can do nothing but banter back and forth about liberal versus conservative, right versus left, and religious versus occult.
In my opinion, the danger to our society is unprecedented in history. If history is any predictor of the future, unless America’s citizens turn away from this self-indulgent, corrupt, and sexually charged lifestyle that Hollywood and the press have brainwashed most of American into believing is how our country should be, then I believe America is soon to become another has-been world power. History teaches us that any nation that turns its back on God and morality ends up a nation destroyed, and unless the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its trends over the last sixty years, the only place God will even be acknowledged or spoken about will be inside the walls of churches forced underground by the courts in order to survive.
The writer of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, may have been the greatest prognosticator in history when he said that “… the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary;...”
While the judiciary is an important arm of the government, it is supposed to be, by design, the least important of the three. Instead, by judicial decree, they have become the strongest. They speak, and the Legislature and the President bow down at the alter of the Courts. Yet, it is universally acknowledged that the courts are acting outside their area of responsibility. They have become a rogue courts, and the two dominant political parties use Federal Judiciary appointments as their tool for implementing their social and legal agendas.
The founding fathers knew what they wanted in a Judiciary, and left plenty of instructions for future generations of justices and judges to guide them. For example, Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, when he was President, wrote a letter to then Supreme Court Justice William Johnson, “On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed”.
James Madison, our country’s fourth President put it this way: “I entirely concur in the propriety of restoring to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone is the legitimate Constitution. And if that be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful, exercise of its powers….What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense.”
Yet, in spite of this guidance from our founding fathers, the Supreme Court has consistently disregarded their guidance and ventured out on their own. Early Supreme Court cases consistently decreed that the Government was NOT separated from religion; in fact several Supreme Court cases stated directly that America was a Christian country. The discussions related to the passage of the 1st Amendment regarding religion, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”clearly reveals what the founding fathers were trying to achieve; e.g., prohibiting the Federal Government from declaring a state religion like happened in England when King Henry created the Church of England because the Catholic church would not grant him a divorce, and decreed that the Church of England was the only church allowed in England. The framers of the Constitution did not wish to allow Congress to declare Baptist, or Presbyterian, or Episcopalian to become the State-declared official religion of America. They certainly did NOT intend for the Supreme Court to go where they have gone today and banish religion of any type from the public arena. There are too many indications from the founding fathers that they thought exactly the opposite. For example, Supreme Court Justice John Jay said …” Probably, at the time of the adoption of The Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, If not the universal, sentiment in America was that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from The State…An attempt to level all religions and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter Indifference would have created universal disapprobation [disapproval] if not universal indignation [anger].” In other words, the State (i.e., the Federal Government), should encourage Christianity, and Christianity should receive a higher level of encouragement than any other religion.
Look at the beliefs of the founding fathers. Each of the first four Presidents stated very bluntly that religion and faith were the foundations upon which the country’s independence were gained, and were required if the country were to continue. George Washington said “…“Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. Purity of morals [is] the only sure foundation of public happiness in any country….Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society”.
John Adams, our second President said this about how the nation’s independence was gained and how it would continue: ““…The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were …the general principles of Christianity….Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God….I could therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to those general principles.” He also stated, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion….Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any others”
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, in the Declaration of Independence said “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”. He also stated that the Government had no power to interfere in religious activities at all; that the right to freedom of religious practices was a right from God; not from man. As David Barton, in his book Original Intent-The Courts, The Constitution, and Religion explained,
So clearly did Jefferson understand the Source of America’s inalienable rights that he even
doubted whether America could survive if we ever lost that knowledge. He queried:
And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have lost
the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that
these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated
but with His wrath?
Jefferson believed that God, not government, was the Author and Source
of our rights and that the government, therefore, was to be prevented from
interference with those rights. Very simply, the “fence” of the Webster letter
and the “wall” of the Danbury letter were not to limit religious activities
in public; rather they were to limit the power of the government to prohibit
or interfere with those expressions.
John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States said, “Three points of doctrine, the belief of which, forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of a God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments…. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these articles of faith and that man will have no conscience…the laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they can never make him wise, virtuous, or happy.”
Needless to say, our founding fathers knew and expressed over and over that our country was founded on the Christian faith, that the principles of that faith formed the foundation of our government, and that they seriously doubted our government would survive without those principles guiding us.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court, has, in numerous cases specifically stated that this is a Christian land. Take for example Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (1892). In that case, the court states:
[N]o purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, State or national, because this is a religious people. . . .[T]his is a Christian nation… From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. The commission to Christopher Columbus . . . [recited] that “it is hoped that by God’s assistance some of the continents and islands in the ocean will be discovered,” etc. The first colonial grant—that made to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584— . . . and the grant authorizing him to enact statutes for the government of the proposed colony provided that “they be not against the true Christian faith. . . . ” The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I in 1606 . . . commenced the grant in these words: “ . . . in propagating of Christian Religion to such People as yet live in Darkness . . . .”
Language of similar import may be found in . . . the various charters granted to the other colonies. In language more or less emphatic is the establishment of the Christian religion declared to be one of the purposes of the grant. The celebrated compact made by the Pilgrims in the Mayflower, 1620, recites: “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith . . . a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts . . . .”
The fundamental orders of Connecticut, under which a provisional government was instituted in 1638-1639, commence with this declaration: “ . . . And well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union . . . there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God . . . to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess . . . of the said Gospel [which] is now practiced amongst us.”
In the charter of privileges granted by William Penn to the province of Pennsylvania, in 1701, it is recited: “ . . . no people can be truly happy, though under the greatest enjoyment of civil liberties, if abridged of . . . their religious profession and worship. . . .”
THE JUDICIAL EVIDENCE
Coming nearer to the present time, the Declaration of Independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs in these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . ”; “ . . . appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions . . . ”; “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor… [W]e find that in Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, 11 S. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that, “Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law . . . not Christianity with an established church . . . but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.” And in The People v. Ruggles, 8 Johns. 290, 294, 295, Chancellor Kent, the great commentator on American law, speaking as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New York, said: “The people of this State, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity, as the rule of their faith and practice. . . . [W]e are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors [other religions].” And in the famous case of Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, How. 127, 198, this Court . . . observed: “It is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is a part of the common law...There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people.
. . . These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
As late as 1952, in Zorach v. Clauson (1952), United States Supreme Court, the Court stated:
“…The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. . . . Otherwise the State and religion would be aliens to each other— hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly. . . .We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. . . .”
With all of the legal precedents from earlier courts that demonstrate the clear facts that the Courts viewed America as a Christian nation, and that the government should actually encourage Christianity, not any one Christian religious sect, but the general principles of Christianity, then why would the courts stray so far away as to lead us where we are now? Even the Supreme Court has referred to itself as “a national theology board.”
To me, and to even the casual observer, the obvious answer is that they choose to do so to further their own social and political agendas. It is difficult for me to imagine any other explanation when the legal precedents from their own predecessors were so clearly stated. The words of the founding fathers were quite clear that they intended those governing us to be guided by Christian principles, and that the schools should teach Christian principles. The writings of the founding fathers are full of examples clearly expressing their desires that Christianity be promoted in the teaching of our youth. For example, Samual Adams wrote, “As piety, religion, and morality have a happy influence on the minds of men, in the public as well as private transactions... [it is of] great importance [to] encourage our [ ] town schools… that our children and youth while they are engaged in the pursuit of useful science, may have their minds impressed with a strong sense of the duties they owe to their God.”
Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, said “[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.
Thomas Jefferson, when Governor of the State of Virginia, authored a plan for education in the state, he wrote “[I]n my catalogue, considering ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man, I had placed them in that sequence.
Our founding fathers understood that since children are in school and being lectured more hours each day than they are with their parents in meaningful conversation, that the schools were responsible to teach them values that had guided the nation from its foundation through its struggles for independence. They understood that the principles of Christianity taught morality, humility, courage, and many other virtues, as well as the principles of piety and good behavior being necessary to good order.
Nowhere are those principles taught today, and as a result, we are now a country fighting pornography, child molestation, gambling, prostitution, drug abuse, and corruption on a scale unprecedented in our nation’s history. Our goals and ambitions have shifted from making an honest living and growing up to be a good person, to seeing who can score the most sexual conquests the earliest, who can sell the most drugs without being caught, who can get the most attention, good or bad, from the media, and who can shock society the most with their bad behavior. We are self-absorbed, self-gratifying, and self-mutilating on a scale never before seen in our country. Rebellion is encouraged, but not against bad government, against “society”. Body piercing and tattoos are out of control. The divorce rate in our country is skyrocketing, and more young people are living together outside marriage than ever before. Sexual perversion is rampant and can be seen by anyone with a computer. They actually have award shows in the porn industry. Nothing, absolutely nothing is left to the imagination. What is so sad is that all of this under the protection of the Constitution’s Free Speech Amendment.
Has anyone ever wondered what the purpose of the Free Speech amendment, as it is called, actually says and what the founders intended as they wrote it? If we look at the evidence, we will quickly see that our founding fathers would certainly not have envisioned that amend being interpreted to grant pornographers and movie makers the freedoms they now enjoy under its protection.
When the Constitution was originally adopted, only thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates signed the original document. The notes of the Constitutional Convention which produced the Constitution tell us that there was great fear by the founding fathers that the central (federal) government would eventually usurp the powers of the sovereign states. Those members of the Constitutional Convention, known as the Anti Federalists, pushed hard for amendments which would specifically protect the sovereignty of the states against intrusion and usurping of powers by the federal government. The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were the results of that fear of a strong central government, and clearly defined what only the federal government could not do with regard to usurping the powers held by sovereign states.
Samuel Adams said, “I mean . . . to let you know how deeply I am impressed with a sense of the importance of Amendments; that the good people may clearly see the distinction—for there is a distinction between the federal powers vested in Congress and the sovereign authority belonging to the several States, which is the Palladium [the protection] of the private and personal rights of the citizens.”
Yet, in 1947, in a landmark case called Everson –vs- School Board, the U.S. Supreme Court, quoting the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, outlawed prayer in school and established as a part of the Constitution the greatest abomination of justice this nation has ever been forced to endure when they stated, “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state .That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach“ The irony of how this term has been exploited by those groups seeking their own self-interests over the good of the masses is beyond my comprehension. The United States Supreme Court has used a part of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, which was supposed to prohibit the federal government from interfering with the sovereign rights guaranteed to the states, and uses it against a state board of education to prohibit prayer, which the founding fathers encouraged be taught and used in the public school, as we pointed out earlier. This just shows the world that, if evil people are elected to office and the masses do nothing to remove them, what evil consequences of our indifference to evil can make.
In that one decision, the U.S. Supreme Court totally ignored all precedent cases over the 150 years of our nation’s history prior to that, enshrined as a part of the Constitution a phrase which appears nowhere in the Constitution, and violates the very purpose of the first amendment by using it to take rights away from the sovereign states which it was written to protect.
As a result of that one decision, the nation has been assaulted by organizations like the ACLU, atheists, and civil libertarians, and today, the mention of God, a spoken prayer, a display of the ten commandments, and the presence of anything resembling a Christian cross is banned on federal and state properties.
Yet, throughout our nation’s history, over and over in the cases that came before the Supreme Court and in the committees of our government, the founding father’s determination that America be a Christian nation was reinforced time and again. For example, in the U.S. House of Representatives, the 1853-1854 House Judiciary Committee’s notes state “What is an establishment of religion? It must have a creed defining what a man must believe; it must have rites and ordinances which believers must observe; it must have ministers of defined qualifications to teach the doctrines and administer the rites; it must have tests for the submissive and penalties for the nonconformist. There never was an established religion without all these. . . . Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect
[denomination]. Any attempt to level and discard all religion would have been viewed with universal indignation. . . . It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests.
. . . In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity; that, in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions. That
was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendents.”
Does this statement sound anything like what our nation is today? NO! Our nation is so far from the vision stated in that 1853 committee report that one would think the report was describing a foreign nation other than America.
While it is debatable in the minds of many who understand how far down the toilet our nation has gone, in my mind, the responsibility for opening Pandora’s Box, so-to-speak, lies directly at the feet of our nation’s highest court. When they started legislating by decree, when they turned their backs on their constitutional duties as described and defined by the founding fathers and decided that they were the best judge of how American society should function, they unleashed the hounds of hell onto our nation and, without divine intervention, will be the most culpable body in the decline of the greatest nation that ever existed into an anarchy; a godless, ruthless, all-powerful central government being controlled by a bunch of bought-and-paid-for representatives, senators, and a president owned by multi-national corporations whose gods are the almighty dollar and power.
By legal decree, they have thwarted the intent of the founders of our nation to create a nation where people of varying Christian faiths could live together without one single Christian faith being decreed the national religion by the Federal government, and where people of other faiths could worship freely without fear of pursecution. They NEVER intended us to be a nation, as President Obama recently stated, of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and non-believers, where every other religion was given equal status in the Constitution as Christianity was. Yet, that is exactly what has happened.
When we ignore the lessons of the past, we condemn ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past. We are on the same path as every other nation in history that has turned its back on God. It shows in every aspect of our nation today. What used to be good in our nation is now evil. Christians are the enemy because they still condemn sins like homosexuality, abortion, drugs, sex outside of marriage, polygomy, and pornography. What used to be consider immoral is now the moral standard for the nation. Now prisoners are given more protections and privileges under the law than victims of crimes are. Multiple offender rapists and child molesters are being set free at alarming rates to recommit their crimes against more innocent children and adults. Individuals are being told that the government is going to tell us where we can pray, when we can pray, IF we can pray, where (and if) we can get medical treatment, what percentage of our income we can keep, and what percentage we must give to Uncle Sam. I'm sick of it.
As that once great philosopher POGO, the cartoon character said, “We have met the enemy, and they are us”.
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FIRST, WE MUST BRIDGE OUR GAPS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2, 2005

“Sue Edmunds is an excellent choice for the new president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. She is intelligent, experienced, knows the area and all the key players, and has the drive to make things happen.
She took the West Monroe Chamber from near-death and resurrected it into a viable organization, then reached out across the river and in working with Aimee' Kane helped establish a good working relationship between the Monroe and West Monroe chambers. She can be a tremendous uniting force if the powers-to-be will let her use her skills to create a cooperative relationship between them.
Edmunds, however, does not have the powers to do what really needs to be done to "fix" what is wrong in the Twin Cities. No human being does, as is readily evident in all the attempts and fancy words, and well-meaning efforts over the last 50 years.
Monroe and West Monroe and northern and southern Monroe are plagued by a deep-seated mistrust of one another that the devil loves and is fed by racial maneuvering for power, fierce competition for economic growth and decades of living in those conditions. Talk as we do about progress, and unity and growth, until we overcome the deep-seated issues that separate us as a community, we will not successfully reach the potential that lies within the people of Ouachita Parish.
That part about "…But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." He meant it!
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

I wrote this letter to encourage the local government leaders to dedicate themselves more to working together and with Ms. Edmunds in here new role as President of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. I wanted to let the community know that no matter who we put in that position (Chamber of Commerce President), unless the local government leaders stop refusing to work together, the inevitable results will be the same as they have been over the last few years; more lost jobs, fewer growth positions, and a negative public image that is known throughout the state and the nation.
Although the letter was intended to address the problems of my local communities, the principles involved are applicable to communities of all sorts in all the states of our great nation. The principles I refer to are the principles of racism, prejudice, pride, arrogance, and greed, all of which are exhibited by each of us; not just our politicians.
I returned to Ouachita Parish, my old hometown in Northeast Louisiana, in April of 2000. Having been gone nearly thirty one years, my expectations of coming back home were optimistic. I looked forward to being near family and friends from which, I felt, I had been separated for way too many years.
When I was a young boy growing up here I loved Monroe. I knew and cared little or nothing about grown-up feuds between the north and south parts of Monroe or between Monroe and West Monroe. My concerns were basically the same as all young men of the fifties and sixties…girls, fast cars, baseball, football, hunting, golf, fishing, and girls!
I moved to Monroe from Rayville (just sixteen miles to the East of Monroe). I had lived in Rayville since I was three, when I went to live with my fraternal grandmother, Mrs. Yorkie Scott O’Neal, while my Mom and Dad got over the problems that caused them to divorce. My sister, Georgianna, went to live with my maternal grandmother and step-grandad in Winnsboro.
I called my grandmother Loka. Dad said that because neither I, my sister, nor my first cousin Frank Lane could pronounce Yorkie, it somehow turned into Loka, and that stuck for all the grandkids.
Apparently, when Dad and Mom got straightened out, neither my sister nor I wanted to leave our grandmothers, so Mom and Dad decided to leave us there. I think that was a very wise, unselfish decision on their parts, and I will forever be grateful for that.
I lived with Loka from 1950 until 1963 when my mother moved back to Monroe with my stepfather, and suddenly both my parents were in the same town and wanted me to live with them. So, I move here and started my junior year at Neville High School. From the time I moved to Monroe, I stayed some of the time with Mom and Roy (my stepdad), and sometimes with Dad and Pat, my step-mom, and Tim, my brother (yes…I realize he is my half-brother, but he is as much a brother to me as if he were a full brother, and I refuse to allow any other thoughts to be acknowledged; he is my brother…always will be.)
At that time, there was a big rivalry between Neville and West Monroe, and between Neville and Ouachita High Schools. I participated in the typical rivalry activities, and as a teenager, allowed myself to join in all the anti-West Monroe and anti-Ouachita rivalry activities and emotions. I do not really remember any rivalry or animosity towards the black community at that time. There may have been some in the grown-up communities, but I was too busy being a typical teenager, the schools were still segregated, and so I just was oblivious to any of those problems, even though they may have existed.
I had a great childhood. My grandmother loved me like her own child, and when I moved over here, my mother and step-dad, and my dad and step-mom could not have been better to me. I never felt anything but love from all of them, and consider myself blessed because I never experienced any of the stereotypical step-parent treatment from either of my step-parents. I experienced exactly the opposite and consider myself very blessed for that reason.
All my parents except my step-mom, Pat O’Neal, are gone to be with Jesus. I smile when I write this, because that is a very comforting fact to me. All of them suffered towards the end of their lives with chronic illnesses that took away their quality of life, so I know they are better off with Jesus.
During the time I was with them in high school and college, my dad moved to West Monroe, and my brother Tim went all through school here. My step-mom still lives in the house Dad bought for them just a few years before he died, here in West Monroe. I lived for a time in both communities before I graduated from the University of Louisiana-Monroe (then known as Northeast Louisiana State College) in 1969, and moved off when I joined the Air Force, not returning until April 2000.
Now, we live in West Monroe, and love the entire community. I love West Monroe AND I love Monroe. Both have great people, great traditions, wonderfully talented people and leaders, and generally speaking, this is a great place to live and raise a family.
Sadly, however, the same rivalries, prejudices, mistrusts and injustices that plagued the area when I was in high school and college here in the ‘60s are still around. Now, however, in a world where businesses can pretty much locate wherever they wish thanks to the global economy, the negative business climate that these old mistrusts and unwillingness to work together create are really hurting our area. In the last three years, Monroe has lost nearly two thousand high paying jobs. The Guide Corporation employed over eight hundred people in some of the best paying and best benefit jobs in the entire South. They’ve been here since the ‘70’s before closing last year (2007). State Farm closed a regional center in Monroe that has been there since the sixties. They took over eleven hundred good paying, good benefits jobs and pulled out of the area.
Guide’s closure was anticipated for several years; they simply could not compete in the global automotive industry because , but State Farm’s closing was a real shocker. They blamed the local business community for their leaving, saying that there were no opportunities for the families of their workers to find enough good jobs outside State Farm.
When I was Interim President at the Ouachita Economic Development Corporation (2001 -2002), we got the results of a workforce study conducted by two distinguished business professors at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. That study showed that Northeast Louisiana has a great workforce. The workforce was very stable; it did not have the turnover, absenteeism, or low productivity that most of the other areas of the nation have endured over the last few years. Our workforce stayed here except for one group; college graduates. We lost between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred college graduates each year that were leaving the area to find better paying jobs out of state.
My experiences in the economic development profession as a consultant, manager, and economic development financing company manager have allowed me to see what is going on in other parts of the State and our region. I have seen growth in the Northwest part of the State, in and around Springhill and northern Webster Parish that defies logic. A very rural part of the State, only a two-lane highway passing through it, and a stagnant or shrinking population, yet it grows and adds jobs. Shreveport and Bossier are growing exponentially. If someone wants to build a house, the wait is sometimes as long as a year to get a contractor that has the time to build it.
Yet, we are losing jobs. When I asked the then Secretary of Economic Development, Mike Olivier, why he thought that was, she said that it was because our region did not cooperate and act as a region; that we had to many political squabbles among the local governing bodies to present a unified image to the businesses, and that despite the efforts on all the economic development agencies and the communities to hide those squabbles, the reputation of our region in Baton Rouge and around the nation was one of an area divided by race, community competition, and mistrust among community leaders.
I heard these same comments from independent economic development consultants and from other economic development agencies from around the State, and even from some consultants from outside the State.
Ms. Edmunds is an extremely capable economic development manager. My hope was, at the time of this editorial, and still is, that our local governing bodies can rise above the historical feud and mistrust between Monroe and West Monroe, and between the north and south sides of Monroe, and come together with one goal, the uniting of our communities so that our children and grandchildren can live together in peace, love, harmony, and economic prosperity. I pray for this all the time, and will support Ms. Edmunds and any other community leader that will support that goal.
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‘JUST SAY NO’ FITS MANY ISSUES
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: FEBRUARY 20, 2005

Several years ago there was an advertising campaign against drug usage that used the slogan "Just Say No.'' I think America would be a much more attractive, nicer, friendlier and healthier place to live if we "just say no'' to a lot of things besides drug abuse. For example:
_ Just say no to a child whey they want a hamburger instead of vegetables.
_ Just say no when tempted to have pre-marital sex.
_ Just say no when contemplating an abortion and consider adoption instead.
_ Just say no when tempted to use filthy language.
_ Just say no when tempted to be rude.
_ Just say no when tempted to consume alcohol while underage.
_ Just say no when tempted to consider homosexuality.
_ Just say no when tempted to read pornography instead of the Bible.
_ Just say no when tempted to speed.
_ Just say no when tempted to steal.
_ Just say no when lust for someone besides a spouse tries to rear its ugly head.
_ Just say no when tempted to abuse a child.
_ Just say no when tempted to take unfair advantage of someone for any reason.
Yeah, the more I think about "just say no'' the more I like that slogan. I need to exercise it a lot more in my own life.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

I grew up in the ‘50s and ’60s. When I lived with my Grandmother in Rayville, until I got into junior high school, I never knew we were not rich. I had a home where I was loved, I ate good food like roast and mashed potatoes with gravy, eggs and toast, fried chicken, home-made vegetable soup, and the best desserts any kid could ever ask for. Every summer from my childhood that I can remember, I had membership to the Rayville public swimming pool where most everybody else I knew swam and cooled off in the heat. I played summer baseball and somehow always had the cleats I needed.
It was not until I got into junior high that I began to notice that I did not have as much money to spend on candy and things as did my friends. I did not have as many clothes, and my grandmother could not buy a new car; we had to make do with the 1949 green Buick that had lots of pecan sap stains on it and torn seat covers. I remember having anywhere from five cents to fifteen cents a day in junior high and high school that I usually spent on the KITS candy.
Now that I am a parent, I have done my best to make sure my kids were never embarrassed like I was because I could not afford a Mo-Ped motorcycle like the other kids; because I had to catch the bus to Monroe on the days that I had a date so I could get Dad’s un-air conditioned car and drive it to Rayville. While I had their car, Dad and Pat either walked or rode public transportation. Two cars per family were almost unknown except for the very rich like doctors, some lawyers, and bankers.
Today, most parents make sure their kids have cars as soon as they get their driver’s licenses. That way, the kids can get to and from school and Mom and Dad can stay at work.
Kids of my day thought smoking was really cool, and drinking was wild. Most of us had seen Frank Sinatra in Man with the Golden Arm, so we knew that heroine was only for losers. Peer pressure in my day was to drink underage, to get to “first base” with a girl (if you were a guy), and to drive fast and win drag races. We knew what it was to have sex, but only the “loose” kids did it, and if a girl got pregnant, she was an really looked down upon by the rest of her fellow students. Most schools would make an unwed pregnant girl leave school until she had her baby.
Somewhere along the way, the morals of our forefathers were made passÈ by the courts. In a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case Roth v. United States (1957), Justice Brennen wrote
“However, sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest. The portrayal of sex, e. g., in art, literature and scientific works, is not itself sufficient reason to deny material the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and press. ...It is therefore vital that the standards for judging obscenity safeguard the protection of freedom of speech and press for material which does not treat sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest.
The early leading standard of obscenity allowed material to be judged merely by the effect of an isolated excerpt upon particularly susceptible persons. Some American courts adopted this standard but later decisions have rejected it and substituted this test: whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest. “
The result of this case was to throw the decision on whether or not a material is obscene back onto the community.
At first, magazines like Playboy and Penthouse won cases where what used to be called pornography became “art”, and protected under the first amendment. I can remember the first time I saw a Playboy magazine. A friend of mine when I was in the 4th grade had found one and had hidden it in a box in a hole on a vacant lot across from our apartment house and the YMCA. We snuck over there after school and he dug it up and showed it to me. Even at ten years old, we knew that was sexual materials. Our own bodies told us that. We did not sit there and think “WOW, what a beautiful piece of photographic art!” We thought things like “WOW, so that is what a woman’s breasts look like, and immediately started fantasizing about what they would feel like to the touch, and what having sex with that girl would be like. And we marveled at what we did NOT see at that time, which now is as common as the cartoons in the girlie magazines of today. From that day forth until way into my adult years, I still snuck around and looked at magazines marveled at the women’s bodies and read the filthy articles and imagined myself in the place of those telling those graphic stories, and I did NOT think of it as art, but as titillating, sexual fantasy.
Frankly, as I got older and wiser and started reading my Bible more and more, it became clear to me that the image that these magazines had established in my mind as to what type of woman I should be looking for as a wife, and how I should act and treat that wife began to change. But the world around me continued to sink into depravity into an accelerating fashion. It became more and more concerning when I realized that I could not watch even network television without my children seeing women nearly naked in skimpy underwear that leaves virtually nothing to the imagination, commercials for male enhancement medications,
Then it became illegal to pray in schools, then it became illegal to pray at public school sporting events, then it became legal to have an abortion. Soon afterwards, the sodomy laws of individual states were declared unconstitutional; homosexuality became a non-crime, then an “acceptable alternative lifestyle.” Somewhere along the way drugs like heroine and marijuana that were once looked upon as only for losers got to be the drugs of rebellion with the hippies of the ‘60s, then were bumped up to cool, along with cocaine, in the 70s and 80s up through today.
Physical education became deemed as not very important in the public schools, unless you were a member of an organized sports activity that brought in revenue to the school. Music and the arts lost their support in the system because kids were now becoming hooked on video games and television, and did not have time do dedicate to learning music or art.
People stopped cooking when both parents had to work to improve their standard of living to keep up with the neighbors, and suddenly if a teenager did not have their own car when they got their driver’s license, then it was almost where they could no longer show their face among their friends who DID have their own car.
America got prosperous, and America got busy. We all are hurried and stressed and pressured to over-achieve, and our prosperity has given us the means to do whatever we feel like, and the movie stars are telling us all that is how we should behave. All of us have heard the expression “…if it feels good, do it.” And we do. Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Brittney Spears, Tom Cruise, Jamie Lynn Spears, Madonna, Sean Penn, Tom Sizemore, and too many more to name, get swarmed by the paparazzi every time they forget to wear underwear, get arrested for drugs, have home movies of them having sex out on the internet, and get divorced for any number of reasons. Bad behavior is exploited in the scandal press and tabloid TV, and as a result, young people equate this bad behavior with fame, fortune, popularity, and recognition.
Parents need to start being parents again. Christians need to realize that America is in a battle for its soul. Satan’s best tool, the Federal Judiciary, has done everything it can over the last sixty years to completely reverse the original intent of the founding fathers when they stated that America was a Christian Nation. Our own U.S. Supreme Court restated it and affirmed that fact exactly when in the Holy Trinity Case of 1892, they stated “…This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. . . .[T]hese are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people. . . . These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”4
America’s parents need to realize that, if we let it happen, America will be destroyed from within by those elements of American Society that do not know God, do not know or believe that in discipline, obedience, structure, and family come the foundations that make any nation strong. If America is to survive, we need to learn how to say no to those behavior patterns that are eroding the very fiber of our nation, and return to the values of our founding fathers. We need to “just say no” to anyone or anything that would destroy our spiritual foundations, our family foundations, our educational foundations, our founding governmental principals, and to all political and judicial persons that would promote the agenda that has nearly brought us to ruin over the last sixty years.
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FEMA SHOULD GET $3.7B FROM PORK!
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 20, 2005

I am absolutely shocked and incensed that FEMA would send the state of Louisiana a bill for $3.7 billion for hurricane recovery work. And how do they expect a poor, Southern, rural state to pay such a bill? ... Win the lottery?
Our federal government gives billions away every year to foreign governments that spit in our face. They spend billions each year in pork-barrel projects. Louisiana is on the verge of economic disaster. Tell the feds to divert some of their pork and these foreign aid dollars to countries who don't appreciate one dime of it and help us out here at home first. Force some of those nations that have old debt to us to pay up or send some aid this way for a change. We need to get our priorities straight there in Washington; taxpayers first ... everyone else can stand in line when it comes to needing aid.
Scott O’Neal
West Monroe, LA
Louisiana experienced the worst natural disaster destruction in our nation’s history when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit our coasts on August 29, 2005. Estimates range from fifty to one hundred thousand homes were destroyed in the New Orleans metropolitian area by the winds and waters that came into the populated areas when the Lake Pontchartrain levee broke and poured water into the communities around New Orleans and into New Orleans proper. Thousands lost their lives. Insurance companies to this date are still behind in paying policy holders and government relief has been dismal. The State of Louisiana’s resources were overwhelmed almost immediately. Hundreds of thousands of residents were forced to move to temporary shelters in surrounding cities and states, many of whom have still not returned to New Orleans.
In November, barely three months after the disaster, the Federal Government told Louisiana that it would have to pay back FEMA $3.7 billion dollars for hurricane relief efforts that they expended. All I could think about were the billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars that were being poured down the toilets of political favors, payoffs, pork-barrel projects like the bridge to nowhere, hammers that cost thousands of dollars, aid to nations that spit in our faces, and forgive debts from countries like France, Great Britian, Germany, and Japan that never paid anything back from as far back as World War II. Dollars that amounted to trillions of dollars over the last sixty years. And yet, when one of our nation’s own states suffers a natural disaster of biblical proportions, our own national government is going to send us a bill to pay for it? With what are we supposed to pay that bill? Our State was already at the bottom of the economic ladder in the nation; how were we supposed to pay $3.7 billion to the Federal Government.?
It was my opinion that it was time to “just say no!” to paying that back. Let the Feds get the funds from the Iraqi oil to pay for the war we’re fighting over there to establish democracy there and rid the world of Saddam. Let them get the funds by cutting out pork barrel projects like the bridge to nowhere. Let them get the funds by cutting foreign aid to countries that spit in our faces.
There are very few instances where I think the Federal or State governments need to provide assistance to individuals. It was the intent of the founding fathers, and I agree with them, that the Federal government should provide international treaties, national defense, and should regulate interstate commerce, interstate crime, interstate transportation, and provide interstate highways. Otherwise, I think they should keep their noses out of affairs that the founding fathers thought should be relegated to the States. But when a natural disaster like a major hurricane hits a state and the damage is of the proportions like Katrina, the Federal Government is the ONLY resource that has the means to provide relief. The idea of them then turning around and billing the State for the relief they provided was beyond insulting, it was absolutely tyrannical.
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GAYS, ABORTIONISTS EITHER REPENT OR GO TO HELL
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 27, 2002

Katy McCarthy's letter entitled "Homosexuality does not equate to immorality" is just blatantly wrong. Katy unfortunately falls into that same worldly behavior of looking at those Christians who are sinners and instead of holding them responsible, condemning "Christian lifestyles" or Christianity as a whole.
The Bible is full of condemnations of homosexuality both in the New and the Old Testaments. In Leviticus, Romans, and I Corinthians, it's all condemned as a sin and an abomination to God.
But many homosexuals today just choose to change their religions rather than admit that they are wrong. Instead, they take to the streets and try to shove their immorality down the throats of those of us who don't want our children exposed to the sin they represent in a vain attempt to convince the rest of the world that their behavior is not abnormal.
They cannot be content with just practicing their sin, they have to try to justify their sin by shoving it down our throats. That's why most of us react negatively.
The same thing applies to the abortionists. They want the world to change and justify their killing of babies.
Likewise, Christians are called to lead others to Christ as their Savior. Part of that redemption process is the confession and rejection of sin and the begging of forgiveness of sin from the Father. If we don't recognize sin, then how can we condemn it?
I'd rather make somebody uncomfortable while they're alive and get them to accept Christ as their Savior than to let them continue sinning and condemn them to hell for eternity.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
OK…let me set a few misconceptions straight here:
3. First, I do NOT believe that all homosexuals and abortionists are going to hell. The News Star World newspaper set the title to the article, although the words of the article are mine. I believe the Bible is the word of God given to man through his prophets and is truthful in all it says, and is suitable for teaching others about the nature and will of God for mankind. The Bible is very straightforward and clear when it states that anyone that proclaims that Jesus Christ is God’s son and the Messiah, and asked Him for forgiveness for the sins they have committed, and to be their Savior will be saved (i.e., forgiven of their sins and go to Heaven when they die to be with Jesus/God for all eternity). Jesus says that very plainly when he says in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. “ This scripture tells me that ANYONE who repents of their sins can be forgiven and go to Heaven. The Bible says that we must ask God to forgive us, we must confess that Jesus came to earth as a man, was crucified and died for our sins, and was resurrected from the dead to live forever as God’s eternal sacrifice for all mankind. Once we confess that, through Jesus our sins can be forgiven and we can all go to Heaven forever, no matter what our sins were in the past. I believe this to be true because scripture says it, therefore any homosexual or abortionists that confesses Jesus Christ as their Savior, confesses they have sinned, asks God for forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice and repents of their sins WILL go to Heaven the same as any other Christian.
4. The Bible clearly teaches that ANY unrepented sin, however, puts a gap between us and God that only repentance and redemption through Jesus Christ can bridge that gap. Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9 –10. “9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. “
In this scripture, Paul lumps homosexual activity in with thieves, greedy people, drunks, slanderers, and swindlers. He is talking about anyone that is a sinner of any type that is unrepentant. In verse 11, he confirms that those who have repented have been saved; “11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
If a homosexual, or an abortionists, or a liar, a thief, a gossiper, a swindler, or any other person who commits a sin against God, does NOT confess their sin, does not ask God to forgive their sins, does NOT ask Jesus to be their Messiah/Savior, and/or does not truly repent of their sins and try/desire not to commit those sins again, then that person, according to scripture, is condemned to a life separated from God (hell).
Now, do NOT shoot the messenger here! This is NOT MY command or proclamation; it is in the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I may not like it, and I confess there are things I do not like about God’s word, but I believe all scripture to be true, therefore I have to accept it. To do otherwise would be to say that God is a liar, and I do not know about you, but I am NOT going to be guilty of calling the Creator of the Universe a liar!
I have friends that are homosexuals, and I have friends that have had abortions. I will confess to the world that I love them as people and as friends, and in many ways they are much better persons that I could ever hope to be. I want all homosexuals and individuals that have had abortions or have done abortions to know that I will never condemn them, never judge them, nor never turn my back on them. I may not like what they do in those two areas of their lives, but I am absolutely certain there are things that I do in my life that they would not like either. God tells us in scripture to not judge others, or we will face His judgment. Jesus set the standard when interceding on behalf of the woman caught in adultery he tells those trying to stone her “…let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” At that point, the Bible says that all the men dropped their stones and left, at which point Jesus asks the woman “…where are your accusers?...”, and then tells her “…go and sin no more.”
5. I do not know Katy McCarty, but I hope that if we ever meet, we can be friendly and maybe have a spirited discussion regarding our opinions on the issues of homosexuality and, if we disagree on the subject, on abortion. I also want to make it clear here and now that I do not dislike homosexuals or people that have had or who support abortions. However, I vehemently disagree with those that put out information that, according to the Bible, can cause people to spend an eternity away from God.
Katy thinks that all Christians are hypocrites and “holier than thou” individuals. Well, I’ll confess that we are all hypocrites, along with every other person on the planet. Every human alive or that has ever lived except Jesus Christ is guilty of having committed the sin of hypocrisy. Anyone who says they have not is a liar or an idiot, because we are all sinners. We’ve all talked about people behind their backs, yet smiled and hugged and flattered them when we come face to face with them, especially if it is someone we work with or for. We have all hated a teacher, but would butter them up in order to get a good grade. We have smiled, said “AMEN” in church, then snuck off and bought a beer, had a cigarette, or looked at someone of the other sex with lustful emotions in our minds and hearts. I’m guilty of it, as it everyone. We’ve all told little white lies not to hurt someone’s feelings, but told our other friends the “other” truth about which we lied to the first friend. If we say we are not sinners or hypocrites, then we deceive ourselves.
From the ages of three until I turned sixteen my junior year of high school, I was raised by a grandmother that was a God-fearing, sweet Christian lady in the town of Rayville, Louisiana. My grandmother was faithful in practicing the Christian principles of “spare the rod and spoil the child”. I regularly got whippings with a switch cut off the willow bushes right off Loka’s (my grandmother’s nickname) back porch. In fact, if I did not cut a switch that was sufficiently of size enough to get my attention (and induce sufficient pain to get her point across), then I was made to go back and cut another switch that would do the required attention getting!
Loka was also determined that I would be involved in the activities of the First United Methodist Church of Rayville, where I came to accept Christ as my Savior. I went to the morning Sunday school, morning worship service, and the evening MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) meetings where I frequently played with the other members in such games as “kick-the-can” and others whose names I cannot remember. These are times of bliss in my memory. These were the places I learned the values that stick with me today; the value of a promise; the value of honesty, kindness, unselfishness, service to others, and getting along with others.
In those days, words like homosexuality and abortion were not known. Homosexuals were known by a variety of other, less politically correct, and to my thinking, unkind descriptions. The word “gay” meant someone or something or someone that was exceedingly happy and bright. How such a beautiful, descriptive word came to be associated with the sin of homosexuality, I will never understand.
I was also taught the Bible at the First United Methodist Church, and later after becoming an adult, I studied the Bible more deeply on my own, and have read numerous books and gone through Bible studies in my Sunday school classes. Virtually every major religion rejects homosexuality as perversion (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, most divisions of Buddhism, most divisions of Hinduism) and I have had several preachers give sermons on the subjects of homosexuality and abortion. One of the lessons that I have learned from my studies, and which I have had confirmed through the independent studying of the Bible I have done is that, according to the Bible, homosexuality is definitely a sin. In fact, in both the Old and New Testaments, it is described as an “abomination” to God.
Up until the last sixty years, the views of the founding fathers were still the predominant view of homosexuality; that it was a perversion, detestable and disgusting, and was a crime. The Bible talks about specifically in the following verses:
Romans 1:24-40†(New International Version)
†24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
†26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
†28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Leviticus 18:22 (New Inernational Version)
22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.
When we look at the verse from Romans, we see that Paul went on to describe homosexuality as one of many detestable sins, including gossiping, slandering, God-hating, being insolent, arrogant and boastful, being an inventor of ways of doing evil, etc. Paul teaches a lesson here that is important for all to remember; sin is sin. Any sin separates us from our relationship with God, and to restore the relationship with God, sinners must confess their sins to God, ask His forgiveness, and turn away from their sin. The Bible uses the word “repent”, which in literal terms means to do a one-hundred eighty degree turn (an about-face), where we recognize sin is sin and reject it and try to not repeat it.
Where the real conflict between homosexuals and Christian heterosexuals occurs is in the homosexual’s militant behavior to convince people that their lifestyle is not sin at all, but a “normal”, alternative lifestyle. There are literally trying to do everything possible to find some medical evidence that proves homosexuality is genetic, rather than it being a behavior that is chosen. They also want everyone to believe that it is NOT a sin so that their behavior can be justified. The homosexual community has an agenda. They are using every legal tactic they can, and are pouring millions upon millions of dollars into lawsuits and advertising with the media to overturn thousands of years of entrenched laws that are world-wide where homosexuality is against the law and is taught as a sin.
Frequently, homosexuals try to justify their act by saying “…God created me this way…”, somehow trying to say that if they are homosexual, and if God created them, then God made them homosexual. This argument falls short of the mark immediately when we think that God created a sinless couple, Adam and Eve, at the beginning of the world, and that sin entered the world through them when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, after being beguiled by Satan. God’s creation was perfect. Adam and Eve, after being swayed by Satan, committed sin and brought the condemnation of sin on all of the rest of mankind since that date.
Contrary to what the secular world preaches, children are not born innocent. They are born with a sinful nature. If we think about it, the nature of virtually all infants is to be greedy, selfish, aggressive, and jealous whenever they first encounter other infants. They are demanding when they get hungry, get angry when they are told no, throw a fit whenever they have something taken away from them when they are not through playing with it, and will try to take toys away from others, will be very jealous if their parents show attention to another infant when they want the attention, and will try to hoard toys unless made to share. Children, by nature, are sinful, and must be taught how to behave and conform to civilized behavioral standards. Otherwise, they become the prisoner of tomorrow. I see this pattern every day.
Children must be taught how to behave properly in accordance with accepted social standards by their parents. It is easy to tell a child that is reared in a Christian home and is taught Christian behavior, especially when compared to a child that had had a street upbringing where no Christian parenting example was present. While there are always exceptions, to virtually every rule, there is one rule that we cannot break if we plan to spend eternity with Christ: We must confess and repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us, confess and proclaim Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, who voluntarily came from Heaven to become the final sacrifice for all of future mankind’s sins, so that we could be washed clean of our sins and spend eternity in Heaven with Him. If we do this, then we will go to Heaven…that is God’s promise.
America has finally realized that what goes on behind closed doors at home between two consenting adults is none of the government’s business. I agree with that, even if it is between two consenting homosexual adults. But when homosexuals start marching up and down the streets of our cities, flaunting their abnormal behavior for everyone to see and encouraging others to behave like them, then that is when we need to just say no!
Do we need reminding of the Biblical history surrounding blatant disobedience to God’s commands and laws regarding homosexuality? Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because of their sexual perversions. Homosexuality goes against every law of nature, and now they seek to destroy the foundation of our society, the traditional family structure.
But the most damning condemnation of all is when they seek to convince other, innocent people that their perverted way of life is NOT perverted; that normal is how the individual defines it. If someone wants to deny God’s written law rather than admit that they are wrong, then that is their choice. But the punishment in hell will be much worse on those individuals that cause others to be sent there by lying to them and by distorting God’s truths, as is spelled out in the Bible in Luke 17, versus 1 and 2, where Jesus says “1He said to His disciples, "(1)It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! †2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Jesus warns us that punishment for those who cause other, innocent children (or really anyone) to sin is worse than those who commit the sins from being led astray.
Many sinners actually choose to turn their backs on the teachings of the Bible, rather than admit that they are sinning. They just choose to either deny God exists, or they go looking for a religion that can justify or condone their behavior. That is so foolish! When their moms and dads scolded them for misbehaving when they were little, did they deny their moms and dads had the authority to discipline them? NO! They took their punishment, and if mom and dad insisted, they admitted they were wrong and asked mom and dad to forgive them.
I guess as adults, they figure that since they are no longer under mom and dad’s controls, no-one else is going to control them or tell them what is right or wrong anymore? How deluded can someone become? Everyone is going to have someone in authority over them. Some they will volunteer to allow to control them, others, they will have to submit to involuntarily in order to stay out of jail, to keep a job, to work in a safe environment, or to participate in some activity that they wish to participate in (like school, a concert, a lecture, a meeting, etc.)
Why would someone choose to deny the existence of God or God’s authority over them? It boils down to pride. When all other excuses are analyzed or thrown out, it is simply that one cannot admit that they are wrong.
I am convinced that pride is one of the worst sins a man can commit, and it is probably one of the most common sins of man. God hates the proud and says so in Proverbs 16, verse five where he says “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”
As a result of their aggressive posturing to convince themselves that their lifestyle is not wrong, the attacks on Christianity by the homosexual community have grown more and more vicious and vocal over the last twenty to thirty years. I have a big problem when people try to make me go against God’s teachings, and especially when they say things that could lead other innocent, less informed individuals to accept their perverted way of thinking.
Do I think homosexuals should be discriminated against? In some cases, yes. I do not think homosexuals should be allowed in the classroom to spread their perversions to innocent children. I do not think they should be allowed to promote their sinful lifestyle in public where innocent children can be exposed to their indecent behavior. Do I believe they should be given equal protection in the workplace other than schools…yes. Do I believe they should be allowed to be leaders of Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops…no. Do I believe they should be allowed to work anywhere they want other than schools…yes. Do I believe they should get equal pay for equal work…yes. Do I believe they should be allowed to be openly homosexual in the military…no. Do I believe they should be allowed to marry their same-sex partners…no. Do I believe they should be given equal status under the law as spouses are with regard to eligibility for insurance and benefits…no.
America is destroying itself with political correctness. Frankly, there are some things that are wrong, have always been wrong, and will always be wrong, and homosexuality is one of them. As a Christian, I will always love my homosexual friends, but I will never condone their immoral and perverted behavior. I will never accept their lifestyle as an “acceptable alternative lifestyle” in our society, no matter what the law of the land is, because God’s law always outranks man’s law. I will never allow that behavior in my house, and I will go to my grave grieving for those friends of mine who refused to accept the laws of God, confess and repent from their sins, and therefore will spend eternity separated from God. And frankly, I think those that choose to risk eternal separation from God for what every society on earth recognizes as wrong behavior, well…they are sad, sad individuals and I pity them.
People who favor allowing abortion, those individuals that perform abortions, and those who get abortions are an entirely different subject, but the matter here is a lot more serious. A person guilty of being a homosexual can repent, turn away from their sin, and be forgiven. A person who has an abortion can repent, turn away from their sin, and be forgiven. A person who gives abortions can repent, turn away from their sin, and be forgiven. The unborn child that is killed is dead for eternity. There are no “do-overs” here. It is a terminal decision for the child that is involved; live or die. No middle ground.
The act of aborting a fetus goes back as far in history as history is recorded. The Christian church, however, has condemned abortion almost from the time of the church’s establishment, setting definite time lines as to when the act was considered homicide as opposed to being a lesser sin. But always, it was sin. The Bible even says that two men fighting who cause an accidental miscarriage are guilty of a crime and must pay the woman’s husband whatever he demands. It was and is a crime to kill an unborn child, no matter what the legal system in a country decrees. It is a crime against God.
In more recent times, the division of opinions between the church and the laws of nations has become extreme. For years, the churches had abortion outlawed universally and many governments went along with church guidelines. It was only in recent times with the Roe-versus-Wade decision of 1973 that the practice of abortion has come out into the open and been sanctioned by governments around the world. Ironically, however, many of the suffragettes of the early twentieth century were anti-abortion, saying that the real blame for abortion lay with men, rather than with the women involved.
There are too many arguments surrounding the issue of abortion to discuss here, but the central one in the courts seems to be the question of when does life start; when does a fetus become a human being as opposed to just a “blob of cells”? The arguments become extremely legal and scientific, but the one argument that seems to be overlooked is the spiritual law; the law of God with regard to children; with regard to when the fetus becomes a human.
In my mind, the hypocrisy of our courts today confuses and distracts people away from God’s truths, which he so clearly states in the Bible. Is the baby alive when it draws its first breath? Is the baby a baby when the heart starts beating? Is it a baby when it starts to perceptibly move when inside the mother’s womb? Is it a baby at the moment of conception? All are simply irrelevant questions thrown out by abortion supporters to give them an excuse to allow women to abort children.
The Bible says this in Psalms 139:
13 For you created my inmost being;
†††††† you knit me together in my mother's womb.
†14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
†††††† your works are wonderful,
†††††† I know that full well.
†15 My frame was not hidden from you
†††††† when I was made in the secret place.
†††††† When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
†16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
†††††† All the days ordained for me
†††††† were written in your book
†††††† before one of them came to be.
Clearly this text says that the creation of the child is an act of God. “…you…” refers to God in each of these verses. Verse 13 says that God created my inmost being. God knit me together in my mother’s womb. Verse 15 says that my frame was not hidden from God when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Verse 16 says that God’s eyes saw my unformed body and that all the days ordained for me were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. God knew me as a spirit before I was placed into the embryo by Him. God is my creator, not man, and as such, is the only entity with the right to end my life before I am born.
The Christian faith was the foundation of the American Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution. The founding fathers stated as much earlier when in the Mayflower Compact, they stated “…Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith . . . [we] combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for . . . furtherance of the ends aforesaid….”5
One of the first U.S. Supreme Court Justices, John Jay, said this: “Probably, at the time of the adoption of The Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, If not the universal, sentiment in America was that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from The State…An attempt to level all religions and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter Indifference would have created universal disapprobation [disapproval] if not universal indignation [anger].” 6
Even the House Judiciary Committee of 1853 and 1854 restated their conviction that America was a Christian nation: “What is an establishment of religion…It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests….In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity; that, in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”7
Why is what the founders intended important to the discussion of abortion in America today? The entire question regarding the legality of abortion was based on the constitutionality of the issue; e.g., the woman’s rights to privacy as interpreted in the 9th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. The Supreme Court in 1973 decision used the following argument to justify giving women the right to terminate a pregnancy:
“Blackmun then considered an argument that the state had a responsibility to protect the fetus. He agreed this was so, but stated that this responsibility had to be balanced against the concerns of the pregnant woman. Among those concerns was the woman’s right of privacy.
Blackmun noted that 'the Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy,' but he also wrote that since at least 1891 the Supreme Court had 'recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution.' He then mentioned many cases in which the Court had upheld the right of personal privacy in marriage, family relationships, contraception, childbirth, child rearing, and education. He also noted the constitutional protections guaranteeing that the government not intrude into the privacy of the home without a legal cause and a warrant.”8
Virtually the entirety of the traditional Christian faith acknowledges that the Bible verses quoted in the Psalms above (Psalm 139:13 – 16) validate the beliefs that God infuses human spirit into the unborn child at the moment of conception. Certainly our founding fathers whose conservative nature led them to stop and pray before voting on virtually every major part of the Constitution would all cringe and cry at the same time at what the activist Supreme Courts have done to our nation with regard to allowing defenseless, unborn children to be routinely killed both before and even as they are coming into existence from the mother’s womb.
I guess if one presupposes that there is no God, that unborn babies have no rights, that mothers-to-be have the right to decide life or death in the matter of their children’s existence, then at some point maybe, just maybe, an argument could be made for abortion. However, if we presuppose that there IS a God, that He is the creator of man, that the verses of the Bible are correct, then abortion is murder. It kills a person who, without external and/or intentional intervention, would become an infant child after a nine month gestation period.
Many laws on the books today put limits on abortions for reasons such as a danger to the mother’s health, rape, incest, a birth defect discovered while still in the womb, etc. Still, all of those are just reasons. Any woman can get a doctor to say that having the child could endanger her health. Women die in childbirth everyday around the world. Rape and Incest are heinous, unspeakable crimes, but if a child is conceived from an unspeakable crime, does that mean the child, who had nothing to do with the crime, must forfeit its right to life? What about the paragraph in the Declaration of Independence that says this: “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...”? What Supreme Court has the right to override the Declaration of Independence? How does a defenseless child defend his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
The U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to be the ultimate arbitrator of justice for all citizens. Yet they have retreated under the threat of public opinion and have laid at the sacrificial alter of the god of privacy the lives of fifty million unborn children. Where is the justice for those children? If they could speak, is there anyone that would say the child would choose to die before living? I dare say not. If I were the justices that voted to allow abortions, I would not look forward to facing God when I close my eyes in death.
There is an overwhelming sense that a just, mighty God that created us all and who loves children will not continue to let a country that destroys its young continue to prosper and benefit from His blessings and hands of protection. I have felt in my spirit for years that God’s wrath against lands that sacrifice their young is looming, and that the only thing that has kept his wrath at bay was the fervent, desperate prayers of His children interceding for this nation, asking forgiveness for our land, and asking Him to heal our land.
However it seems that instead of turning towards God, America seems to be more and more turning against Him. Comedians mock God and God-fearing people. Comedians like Kathy Griffin make obscene gestures and use profane language directed straight to God on national TV awards shows. I am reminded of the numerous times in the Old Testament when the Jews turned away from God and worshiped false Gods. God pulled away and then loosed heathen nations to enslave and destroy Israel. Each time, the Jews repented and turned back to God and after his wrath was cooled, he restored the Jewish nation.
America is heading towards the time when God will pull His hands of protection away from America. Unless America returns to being what it was founded to be, a nation of Christians, whose laws were based on Christian principals, then it is only a matter of time. God forgive us for our blindness, God forgive us for our unrighteousness. God forgive us for allowing our unborn children to be murdered by their mothers.
__________________________________________
5Holy Trinity at 466; see also Hazard’s Historical Collections, Vol. I, p. 119.

6Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1854), p. 259-261, ß441, 444; see also Story, Commentaries, Vol. III, p. 726, ß1868.

7Reports of Committee of the House of Representatives, p. 8.

8 Internet Website http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761595572_2/Roe_v_Wade.html, , section C, entitled “Right to Privacy”
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NIGHMARE DEAD AHEAD?
FIRST PUBLISHED JANUARY 25, 2007

My worst nightmare would be Hillary Clinton as President, Barack Obama or Ted Kennedy as Vice-President, and new, liberal judges on the Supreme Court appointed by a far-left liberal President. Unless America wakes up, this could very easily come to pass in the 2008 nationwide elections.
Simply put, this could set back the cause of protecting the unborn at least another eight million lives and create an America where a straight, English-speaking, married, working, college-educated person will become the minority in America. God help us. Anyone interested in seceding from the nation?
Thomas Jefferson, when he penned the Declaration of Independence wrote the following:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Since I wrote this letter, Barack Obama has been nominated for the Presidency by the Democratic Party. This was not unexpected, but it is certainly disappointing. However, speaking as a pro-life, pro-business, pro-religion, and anti-socialist, anti-big government, white, protestant, male, either Barack or Hillary will be a disaster if they ever become President of the United States. In fact, right now, any liberal in the White Office would be a moral, fiscal, and economic disaster for this nation.
Again, realistically speaking, I do not think that there are many among the citizenry, excluding those that are a part of the Federal Government bureaucracy, which would not state that our Federal Government is corrupt from top to bottom. Taxes are already out of hand, and if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is elected, they will go up even further as he/she doubles the capital gains taxes, doubles the tax rates for businesses, and does away with the tax cuts that President Bush implemented early in his Presidency, and bankrupts the nation by implementing a totally unmanageable national healthcare system.
The Tax Foundation calculates that Americans will not start earning money for themselves until April 23rd of this year (2008), or one-hundred fourteen out of 366 days this year, we are working to pay our taxes (nearly 32% of our income!)
Frankly, I think that is obscene! We have heard for the last forty years how the next President, how our Federal Senators and Representative think Washington has gotten out of hand, that Washington needs fixing, that taxes are too high, that politicians are corrupt, etc. We elect individuals that feed us the same old line every time, and we continue to fall for their lies.
There is a great line from the movie The Hunt for Red October. The actor that plays the White House Chief of Staff tells Harrison Ford’s character that “…I am a politician. That means that I am a liar, a cheat, and when I’m not kissing babies…I’m stealing their lollipops!” What an appropriate statement for today’s national politicians. But, what is even scarier to me than the elected politicians, are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States; men that are appointed by the President to a life-term, assuming they are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
We’ve all been witness to the battles that have happened in the Senate when conservative judges have been nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court. The assassination of Judge Clarence Tomas during his confirmation hearings was vicious. The delays experienced by President Bush’s appointees have been going on for years. How he has gotten the two he appointed confirmed must be classified as a minor miracle.
The U.S. Supreme Court over the last sixty years has rendered judgments that have absolutely destroyed the moral fiber of our nation. Decisions they have made on pornography, religion and government’s relationship, rights of prisoners, rights of illegal immigrants, civil rights, and religion in school, and prayer in public venues have created an America where it is illegal to mistreat animals, spank your kids, say a prayer at a football game, and display the Ten Commandments in any public venue, but it is perfectly legal to kill an unborn child, commit sodomy, live openly as a homosexual, get married if you are a homosexual couple (in some states), teach an unproven theory like evolution, but not teach creationism.
America has become a country that can be sold a bill of good by anyone promising something for nothing to anyone that will vote for them. Government, to many Americans today, is that body that provides them their Welfare Check, their Temporary Aid to Needy Family check, their child support check, their food stamps, and their free medical care. We have a body of senators and representatives in Washington that do not have the gumption to tell freeloaders that their free ride is finished; that they can either go to work, or they can go hungry. Every since former President Lyndon Baines Johnson tried to create utopia on the earth by creating the “Great Society”, our Federal government has continued to implement plans and programs which have created a huge section of our society that has no work ethic whatsoever.
Many will call that harsh; that there are those that are not able to work that we need to help. agree, and there should be provisions made for those that are truly handicapped to where they cannot work. In ancient days and in the early days of our nation, faith-based organizations were able to adequately provide for the needs of most of those individuals. Today there are excellent problems available through the Federal government that we pay for through our taxes, and I do believe that we should maintain those programs. However America is so obsessed with being political correct that we have become afraid to say “NO” to anything or anyone that sticks their hand out for a handout.
The Everson-vs.-School Board decision of 1947, for all practical purposes, created the foundation upon which the Federal Government, through this decision’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, has usurped the States’ rights to govern themselves, and has made the States’ rights subservient to the Federal Government’s dictates. As Justice William Douglas said of the Everson decision, as recorded in David Barton’s book Original Intent-The Courts, The Constitution, and America,
“In fact, in 1970, Justice William Douglas openly acknowledged that by coupling the Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, the Court had not only removed State sovereignty over many areas, but it had also created an American revolution which . . . involved the imposition of new and far-reaching constitutional restraints on the States. Nationalization of many civil liberties has been the consequence of the Fourteenth Amendment, reversing the historic position that the foundations of those liberties rested largely in State law. . . . And so the revolution occasioned by the Fourteenth Amendment has progressed as Article after Article in the Bill of Rights has been incorporated in it and made applicable to the States.”
Americas already have had too many of their liberties usurped by the Federal Government, as have the sovereign state governments. Rights to self government as originally intended by the founding fathers which were to rest outside the jurisdiction of the Federal government and within the powers of the individual states have been steadily usurped by the Federal Government using the mis-interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.
The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868 immediately following the Civil War. It was an amendment that was needed to protect recently freed slaves from the effort by some of the southern states where they resided to keep them from being citizens of those states and from being able to vote. It had one intended purpose by its framers; to provide citizenship rights to those recently freed slaves.
The wording of the amendment itself, however, invited the courts of the land to arrive eventually at its position of usurping States governing rights and subordinating them to any Federal statute with which they might conflict. Although the courts restrained themselves from reinterpreting the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment from 1868 to 1940, in 1940 in the case Cantwell v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court chose to “reinterpret” the Fourteenth Amendment using the language of the Amendment to justify extending the application of the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment to supercede a provision of a state law with regard to religion. That was the beginning of the total reversing of the intent of the Fourteenth and First Amendments with regard to their application to religion and government, and to States’ Rights.
I do not want the Federal Government increasing my taxes, I do not want the Federal Government telling me I have to take their healthcare package (I worked hard, earned retirement from the military and from Lucent Technologies, both which provide me lifetime health insurance coverage as part of my retirement benefits). I do not want the Federal Government telling me anything unless it was expressly granted to them to do so by the U.S. Constitution as originally intended to be interpreted by the founding fathers. I do not want the Federal Government condoning abortion and paying for it with taxpayer dollars. I do not want the Federal Government telling me I cannot spank my child or grandchild if they deserve it. I do not want the Federal Government interfering with where I or my children choose to send our children to school, for medical care, or to work. Frankly, I think the Federal Government has WAY outgrown its usefulness and manageability. It is corrupt down to the lowest levels, and all the way to the highest levels. I certainly do not want them making decision about my well-being and that of my loved ones when I feel we are far better qualified to make those decision than anyone up there.
The last line in the article asked if anyone was interested in succeeding from the nation. I really think America as the founding fathers intended it to be is a sweet memory. Today we live in a country more interested in idol worship of the Hollywood type than the vision of a Christian nation that tolerated other religions, but which governed itself on laws based on Christian principles. Today, our federal courts are leading the charge to make our country an agnostic nation where anarchy and oligarchy are the ruling philosophies. Maybe Jefferson was right…maybe it is time to throw off the mantles of a repressive government and start over. Sadly, however, at least half the nation now believes what the Federal Government has fed them over the last sixty years, and that pornography should fall under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause. They believe that abortion is an individual female’s choice, and that an unborn baby has no rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness unless the mother says so. And they believe that the separation of church and state as the U.S. Supreme Court has directed is a good thing.
We live in a republic. We elect representatives from our citizenry to go to Washington that supposedly represent our points of view. Yet, today, no matter what those elected officials may pass into law, the U.S. Supreme court has the ultimate say-so as to whether the law will stand, or will be tossed out as “…unconstitutional…”. Nine unelected justices can overrule over 460 elected representatives and 100 elected senators, and there are enough fools out there who still believe that the system is not broken. God help us.
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LET IRAQ PAY FOR ITS REBUILDING
FEBRUARY 3, 2007
Fighting a war in Iraq so we don't end up fighting one in the streets of the USA is one thing. Using U.S. funds to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure when they have enough oil money available to do that same thing many times over ... well, that seems just plain stupid to me. Especially if they're gonna continue to blow themselves up in what the Democratic Party is calling a civil war.
Personally, I think we need to either put enough forces on the ground to win decisively (like Colin Powell said in the first place!), or get out and leave them to kill each other off until all that stops. Then, let them rebuild themselves. We've paid enough over there. Let them pick up the tab. We just need to make sure Iran doesn't stick its nose into the equation and make Iraq a hotbed for international terrorism. We really would be stupid if we allowed that.
I hope Queen (excuse me ... Speaker) Nancy Pelosi gets over her giveaway mentality there. I don't know how long American can afford Democratic control over the purse strings!
Scott O'Neal, West Monroe
For once in our nation’s history, I think the old expression “To the victor belongs the spoils” should be taken literally. We defeated a terrorist regime and deposed and executed a cruel tyrant guilty of mass-murder of his own citizenry.
We did not want to have to fight this war, but every bit of intelligence we had at the time pointed to the inevitable conclusion that we needed to get rid of Sadaam Hussein and stop the terrorists that he harbored from being able to use what we thought was there, a stash of weapons of mass destruction, against us.
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KEEP SAME COOKS, GET THE SAME SOUP
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MARCH 30, 2007


Secretary of Economic Development Mike Olivier said the same thing less than a year ago.

Tom Nicholson, former president of OEDC, said the same thing over the last seven years.
I've said so numerous times (every time one of our elected officials show their true colors) in letters to the editor. David Kane, former LED Transportation Cluster manager, said the same thing over four years ago.
Now we paid $80,000 to hear what most everybody in the entire region already knew. We need to work together as a region, with one agency leading that effort. Where have I heard that before? Folks, there's an old saying: Only an idiot does the same thing over and over and expects a different result.
I agree with many of the other commentaries — as long as the same old people are running the show, only an idiot would expect anything different to occur. I wish that they would pull together, but frankly, there are too many bad apples in the barrel already; I don't know that anything new could be expected without totally throwing the barrel out and starting over.
I hope I'm wrong, but experience tells me I'm not.
Scott O'Neal, Jr.
West Monroe
In 2001, Mr. Tom Nicholson, then President of the Ouachita Economic Development Corporation (OEDC), hired me to be the Business Development Director for that organization. My job was to go bring new businesses into Ouachita Parish, to help grow the existing businesses and to help retain existing businesses. I was excited about this job, because I thought it would give me an opportunity to help the community I grew up in. I loved the Monroe, West Monroe area. However, shortly after starting that job, the Mayor of West Monroe withdrew his funding support for the organization. His official reason was he had never seen OEDC do anything for West Monroe and that he was hiring his own Economic Development officer. That was just an excuse, because the Mayor of West Monroe had long been at-odds with the manager and board of directors of OEDC, and had decided to make it his mission to see that organization dissolved. Rumor had it that he was mad at the OEDC President for trying to recruit the then-President of the West Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce to come to OEDC, which was totally untrue. But the Mayor of West Monroe is not known for his political tactfulness. He is known for running roughshod over his City Board of Aldermen and being an arrogant, bullying type of leader.
Please do not misunderstand me. The Mayor of West Monroe is a brilliant man and had accomplished a great deal for the City of West Monroe. However, much of what he takes credit for has happened because of circumstances that he had absolutely nothing to do with. He has been the recipient of a majority of the “white flight” from the City of Monroe because of the integration of the schools in the Monroe City School System and the Ouachita Parish School Systems. Much of the growth on the west side of the Ouachita River has been white families trying to move their children out of the Monroe City School System and the Ouachita Parish School System on the east side of the Ouachita River to the west side of the River and into the school system over there.
Like any politician, the Mayor is going to take the credit for anything positive that happens on his watch, and he has been very aggressive in recruiting new business into West Monroe; particularly any business that generates sales taxes. However, he has done virtually nothing to bring into the West Monroe City limits many of the residential areas that sprung up because of this white flight. In fact, he will openly say that he only wants the sales tax revenue from their purchases in West Monroe, but does not want to have to expend the dollars to provide city services such as police, fire, trash, or utilities to these communities outside the now current city limits. He has certainly annexed enough of the surrounding retail areas, but ignores the residential areas.
The Mayor of West Monroe has also made it very clear over the last five to seven years that he wants absolutely nothing to do with cooperating with the Monroe City Government. The Mayor has been quoted as saying that he will not be a part of any alliance with the City of Monroe and has stated that if he never had to cross the bridge separating the two cities that would be OK with him.
The City of Monroe, on the other hand, has done more than its share of reaching out to the City of West Monroe, repeatedly getting its hand slapped away by the Mayor of West Monroe. I actually witnessed that when I was the interim President of the Ouachita Economic Development Corporation.
I was the committee chairman of an inter-agency organization formed to complete an application through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to have parts of Monroe and West Monroe declared an Urban Renewal Community. That designation meant literally millions of dollars that would have gone out of the communities as federal tax dollars instead stayed in the community in the form of Federal Tax Credits. Some estimates have gone has high as thirty million dollars annually stayed in the community as a result of getting that designation. I wrote a portion of the application, compilied the entire application, and submitted it to HUD in Washington, where it was approved.
As the head of the agency designated to prepare the application and submit it to HUD, I was responsible for identifying and including contiguous census tracts in the communities to be included. I had to go to every governing body of every community included (Town of Richwood, City of Monroe, City of West Monroe, and the Ouachita Parish Police Jury) and present the plan and the anticipated benefits that it would bring to the area. I received some pressure not to include any of the census tracts on the West Side of the River because the Mayor of West Monroe had pulled his funding for the organization, and had made it clear that he thought the best thing for the area was the dissolution of OEDC. They felt if he did not want to support the agency charged with doing the application, that he should not receive any benefits should it be approved. However, I did not feel that was the right thing to do, so I included the only two census tracts that were contiguous to some of the tracts in on the east side of the river that met the criteria.
Each community had to write a certain portion of the application, and the representative from the City of West Monroe, Kathy Wyatt wrote a brilliant application. When I did not get timely replies from two of the other governing bodies, I asked Kathy’s permission to let them copy hers, only modifying it to reflect their communities’ data, which she gladly allowed, and gave her all the credit for doing so.
When I went to the City of Monroe, The Town of Richwood, and the Ouachita Parish Policy Jury, I was met with positive comments and encouragement. When I went to the City of West Monroe, after my presentation, the Mayor says something to the effect of “…well, it is about time that the OEDC did something for this side of the River…” His tone was arrogant and condescending and I told him at that point “…well, Mayor, I live on this side of the river, and I will do what is right for this side as well as the entire parish.” At that point, I felt like telling him how hard I had to fight some of the prevailing leaders in the other communities that had hinted strongly that I would get a response like that, if not worse from him, which I could not believe he would do to me, who lived on his side of the River. However this was not the right time nor place to stir the pot, so I just thanked him and the Board of Aldermen for approving the application, and went my way. I knew then what type of individual I was dealing with, and in the last seven years, he has shown his true colors numerous times.
Mayor Norris will be remembered as a brilliant economist and a great Mayor for what he has accomplished for the City. Many will also remember him as an arrogant, bullying, condescending leader who ruled roughshod by intimidation and domineering personality. Too bad he did not have the strength and skill to lead with dignity and quite, cooperative strength. There is no telling how much further along our whole area would have been economically if he had governed wisely, strongly, and compassionately. Mayor Norris is true example of what happens when people elect leaders based on how their pocketbook is doing instead of electing leaders that govern by doing with is the moral and right things to do for the entire community. That is symptomatic of the entire nation, however, and not a phenomenon isolated to this small Northeast Louisiana community.
There is a startling lack of ability in our local governing bodies to grasp the obvious. Before regional economic development was even a buzz word, me, Mike Neal, and Richard Patrick, who was then the President of the Morehouse Economic Development organization were meeting to try and establish a way to foster regional economic development. At a meeting at Bayou DeSiard Country club, we committed to working together to develop that strategy, and to try to bring in other Northeast Louisiana Economic Development organizations. Nearly a year later, the Louisiana State Department of Economic Development announced their new strategy, which was focused on regional economic development and marketing through industry specialized economic development specialists.
Even after leaving OEDC and starting my own consulting firm, I organized an effort to get the banks in the area to lead the drive in starting a regional economic development organization that was driven and overseen by businesses, rather than local governments.
Seven years later, after numerous failed attempts by local economic development organizations and local governments to develop that Northeast Regional Economic Development, it might come to fruition; not by the governmental bodies, but by a group of business leaders that got together, and through determined effort, hammered out a plan that most regional economic development coordinators have decided to support.
Why did it take seven years to do something that every other region in the State of Louisiana was able to do almost instantly? Frankly, in my opinion, it is because the local governments, especially the City of Monroe and the City of West Monroe have not been able to get over their childish mistrust of one another to make it happen. Decades of mistrust between Monroe and West Monroe, and between the majority black, south side of Monroe and the majority white, north side of Monroe, have created an atmosphere that will not let progress happen for fear from each side of town and local government that the one side is out to take advantage of the other.
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln said the same thing nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. Pride and arrogance in our local community leaders has, for decades, been an almost insurmountable blockade as the community strives to move into the twenty-first century. The hypocrisy is so thick one can almost cut it with a knife. It is almost nauseating to attend a public event and see all the local leaders smiling from ear to ear and yet, behind closed doors, complaining or ranting and raving about the attempts of the leaders of the other communities (black-vs-white and Monroe –vs- West Monroe) to steal a business or grab some power away from the other. It is truly disgusting.
The African-American community understands the power of unity. If they vote as projected in this 2008 Presidential election, giving the projected ninety percent of their vote to Barack Obama, then it is not inconceivable that their block vote could be the deciding factor that sends Mr. Obama to the White House. They have learned the importance of putting aside their differences in order to seize an opportunity to gain power and position in a democratic society.
I both applaud them for having the unity to stick together in causes that they believe in, and I lament that the rest of America seems to have lost that ability to get unified on anything.
The tactic of Divide and Conquer has been quoted for centuries, some say as far back as the Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire, but definitely to Louie XI of France in the 15th century. It is the oldest strategy for conquering an enemy. Get the enemy to turn on himself, and there is virtually no possibility of losing that conflict. Monroe and West Monroe are divided, and the rest of the State is conquering us from an economic development standpoint. We are our own worst enemy.
Postscript: Barack Obama won the 2008 Presidential Election, receiving fifty-three percent of the total vote, but a staggering 96% of the African American vote, according to several sources on the Internet. As Pharoh said to Moses…”so let it be written, so let it be done!”
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READER AGREES WITH SCHOOL TAX STANCE
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 1, 2005

Alton Calhoun was dead on in his Sunday letter to the editor, "Schools need to do the right thing." In fact, I believe that in this case, people might need to lose their jobs and/or face criminal prosecution for failing to do "the right thing!"
According to the media, the money is not the city school system's; it is the parish school system’s. I believe for them not to return it is a violation of law and a breach of taxpayer trust, which are offenses that should result in firings and prosecutions.
What disappoints me the most, however, is that neither side seems to understand the gravity of this situation in the public's eyes, or most importantly, the eyes of the children that they both teach. What lessons are they teaching — ignore the law, overlook incompetence; whatever you can get away with without being punished is OK, it's not worth the effort to pursue doing the "right thing."
Shame on both leaderships. Shame on parish voters for not demanding the "right thing" be done just because it is the right thing. I personally expect them to do the right thing and don't intend to allow the issue to be dropped until justice is served.
Scott O'Neal,
West Monroe
This letter was written because the Monroe City School System was given approximately $500,000 in error because of miss-interpreting a report by the Monroe City Auditors. In a report from the auditors several years before this incident, the auditors reported that certain revenues from one of the taxes collected by the City of Monroe should go to the Parish School Board, but did not word the report so that the City of Monroe, the fiduciary agent that collects the taxes, felt it mandatory to do so.
The 2004 audit pointed out that the Monroe City School Board had received nearly $500,000 in error because of the improper interpretation of this report from the old audit. The Monroe City School Board had already spent the money, so they found out that legally, the Parish School Board did not have to be repaid the funds, even though morally the funds were the Parish School Boards, so the Monroe City School Board just decided to keep the funds.
That type of action is reprehensible, but is nothing new for the Monroe City School Board. I wrote to the Louisiana State Ethics Board and complained, believing in my naÔve mind that the Ethics Board would see the reason behind my complaint; e.g., an appointed head of a State-supported school system refusing to return money that had been improperly given to him. To my chagrin and disappointment, however, the State Ethics board said that the actions to keep the funds were not a violation of any State Ethics standards. Frankly, in my opinion, that just tells me the State Ethics board is about as morally bankrupt as is the Monroe City School Board.
My mind has difficulty understanding how a Superintendent of a large school system like Monroe City Schools can justify to himself keeping $500,000 that is not rightfully his. Is this man not supposed to be the example for teachers, students, and the community with regard to moral integrity and behavior? What type of example did he set by keeping these funds; “…it’s OK to keep something that doesn’t belong to you just because it was given to you by mistake?” The moral thing to do here is to return the money to its rightful recipient, the Ouachita Parish School System. But instead, the Superintendent just says since he is not required by law to give it back, he will keep it. So, how is he going to discipline a child in a similar circumstance? If Bobby mistakenly gives Susie’s pencil to Mary, should Mary keep it just because she did not take it illegally? The pencil still belongs to Susie, does it not? If we make Mary give it back, are we not showing the child “do as I say and not as I do?” But giving it back is the right thing to do morally, is it not? I think so, just as I think morally, the Monroe City School Board should have made arrangements to return the money that rightfully belonged to the Ouachita Parish School System back to that system. Unfortunately, I do not believe the majority of the members of the Monroe City School Board even know what is right or wrong; only what is politically expedient and advantageous to them or their play for power.
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VOTERS PUT CULPRITS IN
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 14, 2007

It was right for Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, to resign. It would have been right if President Clinton had resigned when he was caught lying and having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. The list these days could go on indefinitely, unfortunately, of elected officials that bring shame to the nation and their offices by their conduct at all levels. Our federal courts, our elected officials, the liberal news media and the "celebrities" in our country have virtually destroyed the ideal of honor in our nation. These groups respect nothing but good looks, power, money and accomplishment.
Although the federal courts and our elected officials have been the parties responsible for putting the laws in place that have so nearly destroyed our society's structure, we, the people, who continue to elect these amoral and misguided individuals, are the real culprits. Until we go back and start electing people who believe in the morals and foundations that made our country great, we will never regain the respect of the rest of the world, or the blessings that God has showered on us.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur almost had it perfect in his most famous speech, "Duty, Honor, Country," that he gave during his last visit to West Point in 1962. I would add one more word ... "God." God, Duty, Honor, Country ... these have been the four cornerstones that have helped America stand the ravages of numerous wars, social upheavals and ever-changing moral standards and helped keep us centered and balanced and able to endure.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
When I wrote this, Idaho Senator Larry Craig had been caught in an airport bathroom stall attempting to solicit a sexual liaison with an undercover police officer and resigned from office. Prior to that, California Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a retired Navy Captain and the Navy’s only aerial ace from the Vietnam War, had gone to prison for taking bribes from California contractors. From my own state, Representative William Jefferson has been indicted for bribery, and was found with ninety thousand dollars ($90,000) hidden in his freezer, and Louisiana Senator David Vitter has been caught using a Washington madam for sexual favors, confessing to a “terrible sin”. An Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens was also indicted for taking bribes and getting free work done on his home from contractors that the State does business with.
Over the last few years, Washington’s elected leadership has gone to the devil, so-to-speak. Between the blatant corruption offenses and the openly homosexual elected officials, our nation’s leadership has continue to become more and more rotten to the core, and is drawing extremely undesirable attention to our flawed system and values.
What is so disconcerting to me, however, is that even after these individuals are indicted by the courts, their constituents continue to re-elect them back to their positions. Why would we do that? Do these constituents really believe that there is no-one else that could do the job equally as good and NOT be crooked? Do these constituents not care that it makes them look like the biggest bunch of buffoons in the nation?
Frankly, it just makes the constituency of the crooked politicians look stupid. Earlier I quoted an unknown wisenheimer who said “only a fool does the same thing over and over again and expects a different result.” These idiots who re-elect people that have been charged and/or indicted for major crimes like malfeasance in office are violating the most basic principles of discipline and good behavior. Good behavior is supposed to be rewarded, bad behavior is supposed to be punished. So…are we punishing someone when we re-elect the individual who commits and is convicted of malfeasance or who is so stupid that they get themselves charged with malfeasance in office or with violations of ethics, or who is caught red-handed committing immoral acts? NOT! We are rewarding their bad behavior. No wonder we have two generations of adults that have no idea about what is good or bad behavior any more. Good and bad behavior cannot be taught by individuals that have no concept of what good and bad is! We have generations of young adults that grew up in a society where the courts are punishing parents that discipline their children, where teachers are intimidated from trying to maintain discipline by parents who file suit against them and by school system administrators that will not stand behind the teachers, but cave under fear of lawsuits from quack lawyers trying to make a buck any way they can.
Contrary to what the “me” generation espouses, society must have standards of correct and incorrect behavior. There must be rules that govern behavior, or anarchy and tyranny are the only possible outcomes.
Yes, I understand that the law says that a person is innocent until proven guilty. But society must hold its elected leaders to higher standards than the average run-of-the-mill citizen. The individual must be given a fair trial by their peers and be found guilty or not guilty before they are punished under the law. But when the evidence is overwhelmingly convincing and makes it obvious that wrongdoing has taken place, we need to send a message to the idiot that tried to beat the system that even though we will not send them to jail unless convicted in a court of law, we dang sure are NOT going to send them back to Washington or the State Capital and pay them taxpayer dollars if they are so devious or stupid that they let themselves be put into a position of being caught red-handed like William Jefferson was with $90,000 in his freezer, and like Bill Clinton was with the stain on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress!
Wake up America! Do not let these crooked, stupid, arrogant, ego-centric imbeciles get away with making our state and our nation look like we are weak-minded idiots that do not have the character or good judgment to boot them out of office. Surely out of the millions of people living in each state in the nation, there is at least one more individual that has sense enough to represent us ethically, morally, and legally, other than idiots like Clinton, Craig, Jefferson, Cunningham, and Vitter.
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WRONG IS WRONG FOR EVERYBODY
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2007

Wrong is wrong, no matter what color one's skin is. It is wrong to throw racial slurs at someone. It is wrong to throw ethnic slurs at someone. It is wrong to throw religious slurs at someone. It is wrong to throw slurs at someone because of their national origin. It is wrong to throw slurs at someone because of their sexual orientation.
It is wrong to have six individuals jump on one individual and beat him to the point he needs hospitalization. And it is wrong to try and ignore or deflect the assignment of blame or guilt because the guilty party felt he was wronged by any of the above mentioned wrongs. And it is wrong for others to condone any of the above mentioned wrongs. It is not wrong to condemn any one or all of the above mentioned wrongs.
As the old saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right. Martin Luther King had a dream; a dream where "... my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ..."
America will be a much better country when that dream comes true. There are good and bad whites; and there are good and bad blacks. The good of both races need praises and encouragement and need to be good encouragers and examples, and the bad need to be redeemed, punished and prayed for.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
Everyone that has not been in a coma for the last few years knows where the small town of Jena, Louisiana is in the north-central part of Louisiana, and who the Jena Six are. Every major television network had swarms of reporters crawling all over that little community looking for every rotten bit of news they could scrounge that would make heroes of six black boys who beat up a white boy so badly that he required treatment at a hospital The town was portrayed as a hotbed of racial hatred because supposedly these young black men were so bold to congregate under a tree where the white kids usually hung out that the white boys hung a noose in the tree to “threaten” the black boys by reminding them of the old-fashioned lynching of black people who “got out of line” back in the days when racial hatred was running rampant all over the South.
There was enough wrong to go around by both the black and white communities. The six black boys were thrown in jail and charged with crimes way too excessive for the acts committed (which were later reduced). The white boys who supposedly hung the noose were suspended from school when the principal said the incident was more like a bad prank than a threat.
That difference in punishment caused a racial uproar which exploded out of the community and onto the national media scene after charges of behavior like the old “Jim Crow” days was lodged by the black community. The story got to the national press, and suddenly Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and slews of other black civil rights “leaders” were here in front of the newspapers and TV cameras and doing everything they could to milk every ounce of publicity out of this incident to bring the civil rights movement back into the news forefront.
Did the white boys do the right thing in hanging that noose on the tree? No, that was a despicable act. Did the six black boys do the right thing by ganging up on that one white boy and kicking and beating him to the point that he had to be taken to the hospital? No, that too was a cowardly and despicable act. Did the District Attorney do the right thing in overcharging the six young black men? No, that was an over reaction of great magnitude.
Did Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do the right thing by coming down here and drawing attention to the issue? That requires a more complex reaction. My gut feel is that, for the most part, they could have cared less about the plight of these young boys, and probably had little impact on the eventual recharging of the six black boys with a more appropriate charge. There is a lot of debate on whether or not, after all the local press pointing the issue out and the State’s investigation, that the boys would have had their charges reduced appropriately or not. I like to thing that the charges would have been reduced appropriately in the end without the interference of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but undoubtedly there is a large section of the population who do not believe that would have been the case, so in their minds, Sharpton and Jackson did the right thing by helping get the charges reduced.
What Sharpton and Jackson did that was absolutely wrong in my eyes, however, was to try and get these boys completely off by deflecting blame onto the white boys that hung the noose. That is nothing more than a typical tactic used to deflect blame away from guilty individuals. No-one in their right minds condoned what those white boys did, but as I said earlier, two wrongs do not make a right. For six black kids to jump on one white boy and beat him until he needed hospital care is a criminal, cowardly act, and deserves, even cries out for punishment and condemnation.
The six black boys should have received, at best, being expelled from school for that act alone. Since they were juveniles at the time, they should have been tried for assault and battery and punished by the juvenile system. The white boys responsible for the noose should have been expelled as well. There are no winners in situations like this, only losers. Hatred is a cancer on the soul man. Racial hatred can be cured by only one thing…the infusion of the Holy Spirit of God. But since our U.S. Supreme Courts say that God does not belong in the classroom any more, our children receive secular training, which gives them no moral ground upon which to make their judgments, so the ways of man are established as their standards. And everyone knows the ways of man are evil; always have been, always will be. God knew that and sent Jesus Christ to redeem our souls from their evil nature. Once that Holy Spirit indwells with us, we have the power to overcome our evil nature by the Spirit’s interceding for us. I can personally attest to the power that spirit has to make change, because it changed me completely, and it can change these boys and anyone who harbors hatred for someone else, regardless of the color of their skin. God commands us to love the sinner, but hate the sin. In this case, we really need to be hammering that into the heads of these young people.
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IF WE DIDN'T BUY, THEY WOULDN'T' SELL

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 13, 2007

There is much blaming going on for what is wrong in our world, our nation, our cities and our homes. While I agree there is way too much filth and misguided logic out there, we the consumers and the voters, are the real culprits.
We have the power to shut down pornographers, drug dealers and child molesters. We have the power through two undeniable methods: our money and our vote. If we don't watch filth and don't buy the products of those who sponsor it, it won't be on TV. If we don't buy the dirty magazines and While I agree there is way too much filth and misguided logic out there, we the consumers and the voters, are the real culprits.
We have the power to shut down pornographers, drug dealers and child molesters. We have the power through two undeniable methods: our money and our vote. If we don't watch filth and don't buy the products of those who sponsor it, it won't be on TV. If we don't buy the dirty magazines and pornographic movies, they won't be made. If we vote for people who represent morality, right to life and traditional family and marriage values, we won't have pornography, abortion and homosexual marriage.
The problem is this; we the consumers and the electorate lack the discipline, self-sacrifice and will to exercise those rights like we should. When 23 percent of registered voters vote in statewide elections, those who don't vote get what they deserve. When we buy the products that sponsor the filth, we get what we deserve.
Remember; whenever we point one finger at someone or something else, there are three more pointing back at us. As Harry Truman said; "The buck stops here."
We have been slowly but surely led down the path by evil and/or misguided people to where we are now. But make no mistake; we let it happen, and only we can turn things around, if we have the will.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
There is an absence of unity among God's people. That is the only way to explain what has happened here in the last sixty years where we have stood idly by and let America go to hell in an hand basket. I was a part of that problem. I enjoyed looking at the girly magazines when I was younger, I enjoyed seeing naked women in the movies, I did not let it bother me too much when Roe -v- Wade passed; it sounded reasonable that there were some reasons why an abortion could be justified; I did not see the harm in people living together outside marriage or having sex outside marriage.
My generation wanted it all, and we wanted it immediately. We did not want to wait for our fast cars, fancy clothes, fancy homes, etc. We got our education and went off to seek our fortunes, and a lot of people found their fortunes; huge fortunes. We did plenty of wonderful things; flew to the moon, invented the personal computer, created the Internet, built a super interstate highway system, padded our 401k and IRA plans with cash for our retirements, invented hypersonic airplanes, huge super intercontinental ships and airliners, and flew to the moon and back several times.
We also brought abortion to where any woman can get one almost as easily as buying a new pair of shoes. We virtually destroyed freedom of religion in this nation. We criminalized prayer in school, but legalized giving out condoms in school, criminalized disciplining a child in school but for all practical purposes legalized a student cursing out a teacher without fear of repercussion. We made heroes out of sluts like Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and put our religion up to ridicule with the antics of Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart and others too numerous to name.
Our U.S. Supreme Court made pornography “art” protected under the First Amendment, made prayer or display of Christian symbols on public property illegal, made homosexuality as equal under the law as heterosexual behavior, made a stay in prison more like a stay in a resort than a punishment, but made it virtually impossible to get a conviction with a good lawyer for the defense.
And we, as Christians, just stood idly by for nearly forty years before we began to see what we had done. Yet, even though there are now a lot of Christian voices still speaking out on these issues, we get so attacked by the media now if we speak out that most of us are not willing to stand up and fight the fight; we just pass the buck and go about our daily lives and let the homosexual, abortion, pornography, and entertainment industries destroy our values without a fight.
Yes, we have the power, because if we would stop compromising our beliefs and not buy or rent the dirty movies, not buy the products of companies that sponsor trash on the television, not buy the trendy, trashy clothing that leave nothing to one's imagination, then they would by nature go away. After all; it's all about the money; take away the monetary incentives to the supporters of these vices, then the vices will have to go away (or at least go somewhere else).
It takes commitment, discipline, and determination to unite people on a subject. If America's Christians can establish the disciple to not support the R or XXX movies, not buy the products that are advertised on the television shows that support homosexuality and abortion, not buy the products from the companies that use language so foul that a sailor would blush, then those shows would go away. Christians have not shown that type of unity at all, and that is why American is now, according to our new President Obama, a nation of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and non-believers, instead of, as our U.S. Supreme Court said in the 1950's, still a “Christian” nation.
Imagine what kind of impact Christians could have if we were all as militant, as united, as committed to winning back our nation as the homosexual groups, the abortion groups, the African-American community and the Latino community are. America would look a lot different in a few short years than it does today, and the change would be a positive change. Unfortunately, we have not shown the will or determination or discipline to put aside our selfish ways and to unite for the common good, so America will still look different in a few years, only I do not foresee that change being positive.
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YOUR VIEWS: COULTER'S COMMENT CROSSES THE LINE

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 25, 2006
Ann Coulter is part of what is wrong with America and part of what is right about America. This time, though, what is wrong is worse that what is right.
I tend to think that liberalism is what is wrong with America. Most of the liberals today would have been shot for treason in the days of our Founding Fathers. But when Coulter starts attacking the widows of those who were killed in 9/11, that attack crosses the line of what even the staunchest conservative Protestant from down South would tolerate.
If America pours out its heart and pocketbook to the families of those who perished in the attacks of 9/11, that speaks only to the generosity and humanity of all Americans. If some of the widows and/or widowers of the 9/11 attacks don't agree with the president's positions on Iraq or anything else, I might not agree with what they say, but I would defend their right to say what they wish. And only if asked about what I thought, would I say anything, and then only "that is their right as an American to say what they believe, they have paid a dear price for that right, and I defend to the death their right to say it even though I may or may not agree with them."
America is divided enough. I hate that we've become so divided, because I love America and I fear for her future. A wise president once said "... a house divided against itself cannot stand ... ." Comments like Coulter's don't help. They are good for only one thing, to draw publicity for a book, and I wouldn't buy it for that very reason.
Scott O'Neal,
West Monroe
In my mind, there is a line by which I will fight this culture war which is very nebulous and hard for me to explain. When people act out of good faith and are just wrong, I will call them wrong, and I will tell them to their faces that they are wrong, but I will not attack them personally. When, however, they act in a fashion that I believe is dishonest, disrespectful, deceitful, or criminal, then all the gloves come off and I am ready to go to war.
The victims of 9/11 are just causalities of war. A war we did not start, did not want, and did not instigate. The families of those victims of 9/11 were the recipients of the good will of hundreds of millions of dollars donated by Americans of good will.
No-one could go through the suffering, loss, and realization that their loved ones died a horrific death like the victims of 9/11 did and come out unscared both mentally and emotionally. Plus, it is my opinion that a family member of someone lost in such a violent attack on our nation be given a lot of slack with regard to what they say.
I never liked Ann Coulter much to begin with. Frankly, although I think she is a smart woman and politically savvy, I think she crosses the line and is extremely narcissistic. It seems that in her mind, she has the right to attack whomever and whatever she wishes with total disregard for common decorum, kindness, or fair play.
She hates liberals. OK, there is something there that I like. But in this case, when she attacked the families of the 9/11 victims in her book, then went on TV and basically accused them of treachery and said they were money hungry and had said things that they should not have said, then I thought that was in very bad taste.
If the American public wants to give those victims a bundle of cash for their loss, I say stay out of their way. Ms. Coulter has made much money from her books, so if she does not like how much they have been given for their loss, tough cookies; in my opinion it is none of her business, and she was way out of line with her comments.
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MEDIA MILITARY NEWS UPSETS READER

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 1, 2006
The liberal press will continue for weeks to "blow up" and exploit the incident where the Marines allegedly shot innocent civilians.
I don't know if this is true or not, but as a former commander, I know that if I had any hint of anything like this while I was in command, I would have dealt with it promptly, directly, openly and through the chain of command to see it thoroughly investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted.
What I absolutely hate about this, however, is that we will rarely, if every, hear through the liberal press about this incident being the rarest of exceptions in our military. The vast majority of our soldiers are highly disciplined, motivated and honorable individuals who are there to help those who we are protecting and trying to establish as a free people. We hate violence, we hate death and destruction, treachery, and we hate mistreatment of anyone. We are there to do our jobs and get home as soon as possible. We are normally very tolerant and disciplined individuals, but when the press misrepresents us as wanton killers, murderers, and undisciplined individuals without telling the whole story, we get mad, we get hurt and it is very demoralizing.
I wish the press would understand this and join with us and help us win this conflict instead of just using us to sell more newspapers, magazines, or media advertising.
Frankly, I think much of the press today is guilty of treason and giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and I pray I never encounter some of them one on one.
Scott O'Neal,
West Monroe
People like John Murtha, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the other members of the Congress of the United States that publically crucified the U.S. Marines accused of killing the innocents during attacks in Iraq are, in my opinion, guilty of treason. They took an isolated case, and before it was ever tried in a court of law or a military court, passed judgment on those Marines to the world. Everyone knew their motivation had nothing to do with killing those Iraqies; it was a political attack designed to destroy public support for the war. It was an attack on President George Bush's policy and determination to finish the job that the Marines and other U.S. Soldiers on the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan were sent there to do. They saw the war as the Achilles Heel of the Republican Party, and they wanted to attack it in any way possible so that they could take the power of the White House away from the Republicans.
I am a retired soldier. I served five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 through 1974. I flew 117 combat missions over North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I got out of the Air Force and stayed out ten years, then went back into the U.S. Army National Guard, finally transferring to the U.S. Army Reserve and retiring from that branch in 1998 as MAJOR.
I have more respect for a private first class in the military than for any member of the U.S. Congress. I would trust my life to any soldier, whether they liked me or not, because we serve under a code of honor and discipline that I see nothing of in the U.S. Congress.
In fact, what I see in the U.S. Congress today is, for the most part, nothing more than a snake pit, a pit of vipers that have no honor, no honesty, and nothing or no-one that I would want to turn my back on for an instant.
But even beyond that, I see individuals up there that really could care less what happens to the country. I see individuals there are are out for one thing; to further their own political ambitions; to further their own political agendas whether or not they are good for the nation or not. I see individuals that, in my opinion, are guilty of treason against the United States of America and who should go to jail, disgraced and dishonored.
Here is the Constitutional definition of the word “TREASON”: The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offense is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
When John Murtha, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi go on television that is broadcast internationally and accuse these soldiers of murder, tell the enemy that they believe the United States has lost the war, that it is a no-win situation, and that we are there illegally, that the President has lied to get us into the war, etc., in my opinion, that is treason.
Statements like that tell the enemy that the nation as a whole is not united behind this conflict. They tell the enemy that if they just keep on fighting long enough, America will lose its will to fight, and will pull out. They tell the enemy and the world that our own leaders believe our soldiers to be criminals. By definition that is “aid and comfort” to the enemy. It is disgraceful, disgusting, and should, in my opinion, be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
That just burns the hell out of me. It builds a rage inside of me that it extremely hard to contain, because I have been one of those soldiers in combat; I have been there wanting to shoot, wanting to drop bombs on my enemy that is trying to blow me out of the sky, but could not drop them on their airfields because the politicians are afraid we might drop a bomb on a Russian advisor. I have personally heard the frustration of my fellow pilots that have seen MIG aircraft flying over North Vietnam, but have not had permission to attack them, because the MIGs were not attacking their flight. Everyone knew they were either flying to attack another U.S. flight, or returning to their base after attacking another U.S. Flight, but because they did not attack the flight that saw them, then that flight was not allowed to attack the MIGs. Some war, huh? I've never heard of such idiotic and reckless endangerment of American combat soldiers anywhere in history.
Strange, I did not hear any concerns from the Russian government about the Russian pilots flying North Vietnamese jets and shooting down American airplanes. I heard no complaints about the Russian government docking their ships in the port of Haiphone, North Vietnam, and unloading SURFACE TO AIR missiles, AAA guns, and machine guns used to shoot down American planes. But we would not bomb the ships, and until very late in the war, would not even mine the harbors to block the ships from coming in.
Our politicians have sold their soul to the power gods of their parties. They could care less about what is right or wrong by God's law, or even by American law, and regardless of what they think, they are not thinking about the welfare of the U.S. Soldiers. Their only law is the law of winning the next election, and we are so stupid as a people that we cannot see what they have done. We, for some reason, believe these imbeciles, no matter how many times we see them lie and get caught in lies. Their every thought is a calculated one that centers around either gaining political power, or making the other political party look bad. If a few American soldiers get killed along the way,oh well...that is the price for political power, so be it!
Had I been President, I would have had John Murtha picked up, locked up, and charged with treason. Same with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Their words costs hundreds, if not thousands of American lives, and for no other reason than pure politics.
Let me tell you readers about combat. These idiots that set the “rules of engagement” that our soldiers are having to live by in fighting the war over there, should be shot themselves.
I believe that American soldiers need to do everything possible to avoid killing innocent civilians, within the guidelines of remembering what the first rule of war is, which is winning, and the second rule of war, which is staying alive.
I have a young friend, a Marine, that spent three tours in the war on terror; two in Iraq and one if Afghanistan. His tales of the enemy's tactics and what the American soldiers had to abide by as rules of engagement made me sick. Rules like not being able to shoot a known sniper until the OK was given by a headquarters somewhere hundred or thousands of miles away. Rules like not being able to return fire when fired upon, even if they could see the enemy firing if there was a suspicion that there might be innocent civilians in the building from which the attackers were shooting at them.
People, that is ridiculous. That is the kind of stupid rules that put hundred or thousands of American boys in body bags, instead of hundreds or thousands of Taliban or Al Qaeda in body bags.
For the most part, I think that is proper to have the military operate under the control of the civilian government. However, when the civilian government is as stupid in their execution of a war as ours has been lately, then I wonder if that is still a sound decision.
The problem with the current way the war was being executed when I wrote this article was the way in which our soldiers were handicapped by the way that the rules of engagement prevented them from engaging their attackers when being fired upon
Let me make a point here. It is a known fact that the Taliban and the Al Qaeda terrorist groups care nothing about the lives of their own people. They hide among the locals and take over the homes of innocent civilians from which they attack American soldiers. Those are reprehensible, unconscionable animals; not humans. The Vietnamese and Viet Cong did the same things during the Vietnam war, the North Koreans did the same thing in Korea, as did the Japanese and the Germans in World War II. Every country that abides any form of terrorists that will condone the killing of innocent men, women, and children with random acts of terrorist is a country that should be wiped off the face of the earth.
Teddy Roosevelt said it best when he said “walk softly, but carry a big stick.” AMEN, brothers and sisters. When President Bush declared the war on terror and said that any nation that harbored or assisted terrorists was an enemy of the United States of America, he was speaking my language. If we know that Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, even Saudi Arabia, who housed some of the 9/11 terrorists. If by their inaction they allow terrorists to operate in and out of their country, they should pay a big price for their lack of moral discipline.
America, Great Britain, and other nations of what I called the “civilized” world would never consider doing something like that; it is beyond inhumane, it is cowardly. In Afghanistan and Iraq, American soldiers will do anything and everything possible to protect any innocents that are caught up in a battle.
But, when attacked, the American soldier must not feel like they cannot shoot at someone shooting at them for fear of hitting an innocent civilian that the enemy may be using as a shield. The responsibility for that innocent civilian's life must rest on the shoulders and the soul of the coward that is using the innocents as protection. That is the way World War II was prosecuted. During the latter stages of that war, Japan hid their aircraft manufacturing industry in housing districts and General Curtis Lemay had to destroy hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in order to destroy those airplane factories. The Germans surrounded their heavy water production facilities with civilian workers and prisoner of war workers in order to hopefully deter attacks from the U.S. Military, but those facilities had to be destroyed to keep the atomic bomb out of Hitler's hands, and they killed numerous civilians in those bombing raids.
In war, the killing of innocent civilians is going to happen, and although regrettable, is a price that the enemy must pay. The killing of civilians is hopefully one additional deterrent to an enemy's military to make them consider if they really want to pay such a high price for war. Hopefully, those civilians, once they suffer enough pain, can force the rogue military regimes out of power and into the hands of the allies or into total submission.
If America had made its soldiers and Generals in World War I and World War II abide by the same rules of engagement that our soldiers are having to abide by today, we would all be speaking Japanese or German now, and the Third Reich would be well into its first one hundred years of power.
There is a proper way to handle incidents where soldiers in wartime commit crimes. The military has instituted through the Uniform Code of Military Justice a system by which any accusations of misconduct on the part of U.S. Soldiers is investigated and, if required, prosecuted by a military courts martial. If found guilty, the punishments in wartime are harsh, and rightly so.
But a soldier in combat, where all facts are not know, where enemy soldiers are hiding among civilians and attacking U.S. Soldiers, must have the freedom to kill those attacking U.S. Soldiers under any conditions. If innocent civilians are killed, that is regrettable, but that is NOT the responsibility of the American soldiers, it is the responsibility of those cowardly enemy soldiers that intentionally put innocent civilians in harm's way.
Any incident where there is questionable circumstances must be investigated, but it should be done so immediately by military personnel, and should not be exploited by the disloyal opposition party to the one in power at the time. Leave it to the military, and keep it out of the press as much as possible, especially the liberal, pacifist biased media of today's news organizations.
I also know that American soldiers, more so than any nation in the history of the world, have done everything possible to avoid the killing of innocent civilians. We have developed the most precise weapons, the most accurate systems to deliver those weapons with pinpoint accuracy, and the intelligence inside those weapons to even discern a military from a civilian target. We are the good guys, we need not be ashamed of the way that we prosecute a war against an enemy that will not be satisfied until America and Israel are no longer existing nations on the face of the earth. But if we keep the press and the traitors in office,we will end up like all the other great nations that have lost their soul; a second rate power.
Throw people who commit treason like John Murtha and the others in jail for awhile and teach them that during war, our soldiers come first.
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BELIEF IN JESUS RISKS NO LOSS

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 14, 2006
Easter is approaching. To me, this is the most precious of Christian holidays, even more so than Christmas. We will start by focusing on the events of Good Friday (an oxymoron?), which is the time of Christ's crucifixion. We will remember the sacrifice that Christ made for the redemption of all sinners from that date forward. We will remember the agony he went through, the beatings, crown of thorns, scourging, and the spikes through his hands and feet. We will remember the description of the sky growing dark as night though it was still daylight, and the thunder and rain and lightning as he gave up the ghost, and the tearing of the temple curtain from top to bottom as the land shook. And we will pray, repent and feel sorrow.
But as surely as the dark gives way to the sunlight, on Easter we will remember the resurrection; the coming back to life of Christ; the angels greeting the women at the tomb and saying, "... Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said ... ." We will remember his promise that whosoever shall believe in him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life, and we will have hope.
There are those like Gary Sloan who choose to believe that this world and this life is all we have. I choose to believe Jesus lived, preached, was crucified and was resurrected. I choose to have hope for a better life after this life. I choose to believe in a God so loving that he would sacrifice his only son so that a world of lost sinners have a hope of eternity spent in Paradise with him. If I am wrong, I've lost nothing, but loved much. If I'm right, what a celebration to look forward to.
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Scott O'Neal,
West Monroe

CELEBRATIONS OFTEN INVOLVE SELFISHNESS

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MARCH 3, 2006
There is much written about Mardi Gras this time of year. Fat Tuesday is considered a day of abandon and merriment before the beginning of Lent; a last "hurray" so to speak before a period of repentance and fasting.
Most Christians "celebrate" Easter, when Christ was crucified then arose three days later. Before that ordeal began, He celebrated the Passover by "serving" his disciples, including the one who betrayed Him at the last supper. He gave each the bread and the wine himself.
How much more wonderful would this Mardi Gras celebration be if we could take the money and energy wasted on debauchery and getting drunk and instead spent it doing service for others? More importantly, how much more wonderful if we got more pleasure from serving others than satisfying our own selfish desires?
We wonder why America is tearing itself apart from within, why politicians are corrupt, why sexual predators get more protection from the law than sexual victims do. Christ would say that it is because we are more focused on satisfying our selfish needs than serving our fellow man. He said that He came not to be served, but to serve others.
I love a good time as much as anyone. I've been to Mardi Gras, October Fest in Germany and hundreds of other "parties" in my early years. But it was not until I stopped looking on my own did I find true joy and contentment by letting Christ show me the bliss of serving Him by serving others.
Scott O'Neal,
West Monroe
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WHY DO ATHEISTS WASTE THEIR TIME?
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 8, 2005
Most letters I've read in the paper from Christians speak of joy, hope, and love. Christians, real Christians, know the love of Christ and cannot stop trying to share that love with anyone who will listen. It gives us motivation to wake up tomorrow and pleasure in spreading joy to others.
Those I read of from atheists like Gary Sloan or others are predominantly trying to make Christians look foolish. Why? No one is holding a gun to Sloan's head to force him to accept our beliefs. But he speaks volumes to try and make us feel stupid or ignorant. Why? Real Christians have hope and a future to look forward to when we die. What does Sloan have to look forward to?
If he's right, we've still lived our lives with much more joy and love than he. If he's wrong, we'll have eternity with Christ to celebrate, and he'll have eternity with no joy separated from God…just like now.
I like my options better.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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CANDIDATES: STUDY RECORDS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JANUARY 19, 2008
This election is tearing us apart as a community, a state and a nation.
The divisiveness of the election is terrible. Most of the country is so turned off and/or jaded by the political cutthroat environment and the endless debates and ads that we just want it to go away as quickly as possible. What is sad, however, is that no matter how blatantly obvious the political pandering is by both sides, many of us still seem to get stuck in the process and actually start to believe some of the trash that they all are throwing out.
The issues are too many to list and too important to ignore. I believe actions speak louder than words. We need to check the voting records of the candidates we favor and see if their records match their rhetoric on the issues that are most important to us. We can find these records on the Internet.
Listen to both pro and con commentators on your candidates. Be objective. Let's not choose our next president like we buy our cereal, makeup, clothes, or new car, that is because of some slick, expensive marketing campaign. The future of our nation is too important.
To paraphrase Martin Luther King, let's judge the candidates "... by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin ..." or because we're brainwashed because of some marketing campaign.
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Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
NON-VOTERS: DON'T GRIPE
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 4, 2008
Lunacy seems to be a very contagious disease, especially in the talk radio ranks. First, let me say I am a die-hard conservative, probably more so than Ronald Reagan. I want a conservative in the White House to protect unborn children from the slaughter that abortion has allowed and to keep the U.S. a free, capitalistic and hopefully smaller-government republic, rather than a socialist, tax-the-rich-and-give-to-the-lazy-or-the-illegal-immigrants welfare state.
Talk radio and other evangelical groups are saying they won't vote for Sen. John McCain if he's the Republican nominee. Let's see ... what is worse, McCain or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? My gosh, I'd lots rather have McCain than either of the Democratic nominees. I want less government, less taxes and at least someone who has vowed to protect unborn children against abortion.
Conservatives should think: A non-vote for McCain would be a vote for Hillary or Obama.
You want to live in a socialist state? Vote Democrat, or don't vote. I'd rather have Mitt Romney over McCain, but I'd take McCain over Hillary or Obama any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Whoever people choose, they should get out and vote. A lot of soldiers in our nation's history died to protect that privilege for all of us, and when we ignore that opportunity, basically we insult their memories and sacrifices. We should vote or keep quiet when we don't like who gets elected. Non-voters deserve what they get.
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Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

Finish the job, then go home
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MONDAY, MARCH 03, 2008 PAGE 3B
Someone sent me the commercial where the airport crowd applauds soldiers walking through the terminal. I'd seen it before, but I watched it again.
Tears filled my eyes. My heart sang with pride in these wonderful young men and women who make such superb representatives of our nation and who put it all on the line to keep us safe here at home.
My heart also was heavy with sadness that so many have died fighting an enemy bent on destroying America, yet there is a part of our nation that thinks we are the bad guys and will abandon the effort overseas before the job is done.
My heart is also filled with fear that if we leave without finishing the job we set out to do, we will soon be reeling with regret because of another attack like 9/11 where many, many more of our citizens will die.
Pray for our troops; honor those who have died, who will die and all who have served by keeping them in your prayers, by maintaining your support and love for them, and by maintaining your courage and support to do what must be done to keep us all safe.
God bless America. God bless our troops.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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CRAZY PASTOR A LESSER ISSUE –
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2008
Jeremiah Wright is, in my opinion, a sick, angry man. But is he a reason not to vote for someone for President? Maybe, but with such drastic differences in their stated political, economic and military policies should they be elected, is it not a sad commentary on America that we must spend more time debating about a man's pastor than whether or not the candidate supports abortion?
Is it not a sad commentary that we spend more time listening to a man's pastor say "G.D. America" than we do that candidate explaining why he will pull out of Iraq unilaterally?
Is it not a sad commentary on America that we worry more about his pastor's awarding a lifetime achievement award to Louis Farrakhan than we spend discussing how he plans to pay for providing universal health care to all Americans?
Is it not a sad commentary that we spend more time discussing a photograph of the candidate in an African outfit than we do his economic policies?
Is it not a sad commentary on America that we spend more time discussing a questionable relationship with William Ayers, a former Weatherman revolutionary, than we do on what the candidate will do to stop the influx of illegal aliens into our country and to protect us from terrorism?
Wake up America. Get your values and your priorities straight. There are more important things to consider in a presidential election than a man's crazy pastor.
Carey O'Neal
West Monroe
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Neville graduate: Let Dupree go
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2008, PG 3B
I live in West Monroe, but I graduated from Neville ('65), so I feel I have a right to comment on whether Monroe City School District Superintendent James Dupree should stay or not. I think he should go.
It seems to me the Monroe leaders suggesting he should stay have forgotten Dupree's decision to keep more than $500,000 in parish funds that were "mistakenly" paid to the city instead of the parish. The moral and right thing to do would have been to return funds that were not theirs. By all moral judgment, the city received the money in error, and spent it before they knew it was not theirs to spend.
They should not have just said "...whoops! Sorry it's spent so we're not giving it back!" They should have returned it, and ultimately that was Dupree's decision and responsibility to do the right thing.
Do we want a leader who says to the children he is supposedly teaching right from wrong, "It's OK to keep things that are not yours, even if you were given them by in error." And we're not talking small change. We're talking over $400,000 for 2004 and over $162,000 for 2005.
Dupree has demonstrated extremely poor judgment, a selfish contempt for right vs. wrong, and frankly, absolutely no loyalty to the MCSD, and I would hope the Monroe City School District keeps him fired.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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Choose belief, fear no longer
Originally published 5/7/08, Page 5B

Arguments about Christianity vs. atheism will continue until the second coming of Christ. There always have been and always will be that group of individuals who will never acknowledge a power greater than themselves, and there will always be those of us who will believe, no matter what science or other naysayers proclaim.
No arguing, no attacking, no begging, pleading or pressuring will change the minds of those of us who know without doubt our faith is real because we have experienced the relationship with the Holy Spirit in an intense, personal way. We've heard God speak to our hearts. We may have literally heard His voice in our minds or our dreams and then have had His words to us proven true. We may have seen Him work in our lives in ways that can only be explained by divine intervention or seen his miracles firsthand. We believe there is no such thing as luck or circumstance because we have seen evidence in our own lives that cannot be explained by luck or circumstance but only by God's direct intervention.
I do not know why atheists believe as strongly as they do, but I don't want to. Faith is a choice, a commitment and a hope. Once the choice is made and proven by God's intervention, nothing can change our minds. Death becomes something no longer dreaded but the final step to no more pain, sorrow, worry, cruelty or need.
I like my choice, and I like my hope.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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Hoffmann likes it; reader accepts it
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 17, 2008, PAGE 3B
The excuse used by those who voted to pass the pay raise for Louisiana's lawmakers might have some resonance of truth. But that smattering of truth is far overshadowed by the disappointing reality that, for most, but not all, the process was a typical, self-serving fleecing of Louisiana taxpayers by the same old Louisiana political machinery that has done so for decades.
Most people will not run for political office for two reasons: They do not have the money to do so, or they do not wish to expose themselves and their families to the fishbowl scrutiny and unrealistic expectations heaped upon them.
It is not a matter of if one will become a target; only a question of who will be the person or group aiming at them. Every time someone casts a vote, somebody is going to not like that vote.
Jesus said it best; "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Like the Pharisees, America is no longer interested in the hearts and intentions of individuals, only their compliance with the letter of the law.
Before we automatically condemn everyone when they do something we do not like, we must know their hearts and minds and spirits before we try to judge their actions. I know Frank Hoffman well; if Frank voted for this bill, knowing the criticism that would come his way, it undoubtedly has some merit.
Until proven otherwise, I will give Hoffmann and this bill the benefit of the doubt.
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Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
Thank God and Soldiers
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 4, 2008, PAGE 5B
Great men with great courage set the course that led our nation to freedom. They penned the greatest document in our nation's history, the Declaration of Independence, in which they stated principles that have guided us for more than 200 years. Principles that stated our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are given to us by our Creator, not by the government. Principles that state all men were created equal, not evolved equally.
They stated, "... Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," not from a king, premier or emperor. There is one group of citizens that has truly borne the brunt of protecting and defending our nation since its creation against all enemies: the American soldier.
Soldiers fought the battles, bled and died, faced insurmountable odds and prevailed, refused our enemies victory, charged up hills, sailed into battle and flew countless combat sorties to knock the enemy from the skies. They are the ones who overcame loneliness, fears, doubts and hopelessness and kept fighting and winning so we can be free today.
Celebrate our nation's freedom and independence today; while you are at it, say a prayer for our soldiers and thank God for them. They remember duty, honor and country are worth fighting and, if required, dying for. Remember, our freedoms come from God, not the government, and are preserved by soldiers, not the politicians.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE HERE?
SEPTEMBER 4, 2008
I wonder if anyone really is surprised about all the criticism that Gov. and assumptive vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is receiving in the press. I think not. Does anyone really think John McCain is surprised by this? I think not. Did Barack Obama not respond like an absolute class act when he said he would fire anyone that attacked her family or her children? I think so.
Even politics has its limits, and Obama says "hands off children," and I applaud him for it. Palin, like John McCain, is a maverick. She represents everything that the liberal press hates; the Second Amendment, pro-life, anti gay marriage; honesty and integrity in office, and love of our nation. Does anyone think that the Democrats and the liberal press are going to do anything less than an all-out frontal assault to destroy this lady? I think not.
I think she is up to it. It sounds to me like this lady has made more tough, ethical decisions in her short public life than most politicians will make in a career; she's a whistle-blower against her own party for corruption and malfeasantsin office; she chose not to abort a Down syndrome baby; she's reducing taxes instead of raising them; she supports the NRA; she hunts; she's a former beauty queen; an athlete, and she is openly Christian (the leader of her high school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization).
Two mavericks; two reformers; two conservative free thinkers; so ... what's not to like here?
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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DUMP FAILING POLITICIANS
OCTOBER 9, 2008
"Gloom, despair and agony on me! Deep dark depression, excessive misery..."
These words don't come close to adequately describing the disgust that virtually consumes my mind over this fiasco known as the Wall Street bailout. There is so much blame; so many cases of stupidity, criminal mis-management, fraud and corruption that there should be people going to jail
When is America going to get enough? Why do we re-elect people we know are corrupt? Democrats and Republicans are responsible for the horrible oversight in regulations that allowed the greedy finance industry to abuse America. It is time to clean house!
How long is America going to be afraid to revolt and send them all packing and elect someone that will deliver "Service To America First, Last and Always". It is time to put a single term limit on these politicians and to make sure they cannot alternate terms in the House and Senate and keep themselves in Washington indefinitely. They lose touch with the common man and become consumed by power, glory, recognition and prestige poured onto them by those seeking favor. Kick them out or put them in jail, but spare us the disgrace they bring on those of us that elect them and on our nation.
Freedom is only owed to those who respect it, who respect those who died to protect it, and those who do not abuse it. Let those that fail those tests suffer as bitter a fate as those they injured with their abuse.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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DIFFERENCE IS PLAIN
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 1, 2008
To date, over the last five years, 4,189 soldiers have died in Operation Enduring Freedom. Today alone, Oct. 31, 2008, about 3,700 unborn children will die from abortions.
Tell me ... which is the worse tragedy? Ninety-seven percent of abortions occur as a form of birth control and have nothing to do with the health of the mother. These soldiers who die at least had a fighting chance, and died defending our liberties. The babies that are aborted did nothing wrong; they never had a chance.
John McCain and Sarah Palin are both pro-life and pro-military. Barack Obama has pledged to support Planned Parenthood, and did not vote for legislation that would have provided medical care to children born alive from abortions gone wrong. He also plans to cut the military by 25 percent.
The choice is clear: If you call yourself a Christian, if you believe each child deserves the protections of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from the moment of conception, if you think weakening our military is a stupid thing to do, then vote McCain.
Get out and vote. Remember, a person who doesn't vote diminishes the sacrifice of every soldier who fought and died to protect that right.
God bless America.
God heal and restore America ... please.
Carey O'Neal
West Monroe
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OUR LEADERS STAND WARNED
FIRST PUBLISHED JANUARY 15, 2009

There is a great need for wisdom in our nation. The Bible says if we seek wisdom, all we need do is ask it of God and he will provide.
In today's society, there are many, especially our liberal friends, who have begun to feel like they do not need God's wisdom, that they are wise enough themselves.
That is obvious from their actions. The Bible (Proverbs 6:16) says that there are six things that God hates; the first is the Hebrew description of a proud heart (haughty eyes).
Our political leaders have forgotten this lesson. From local leaders to the president-elect, our leaders need to be on their knees asking God to give them wisdom to do what is best for our nation instead of what is best for their political party or their own political future.
As long as this nation embraces and condones evil and depravity such as we see daily on television and in the news, America will continue to see its status and strength decline, just like the Roman, Greek and Egyptian empires, and so-forth, to the point where America will be nothing but a second-rate world power, and the scourge of the civilized world.
God will not be mocked. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive, but when His children refuse to obey and denounce Him, history proves retribution He brings on those nations is devastating. America's rebellious leaders have been warned; let us pray they listen.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
First let me say that the newspaper messed up the way this letter was submitted. Here is the way I submitted the letter for publication:
“There is a great need for wisdom in our nation. The Bible says that if we seek wisdom, all we need do is ask it of God and he will provide.
In today's society, I think there are many, especially our liberal friends, who have begun to feel like they do not need God's wisdom; that they are wise enough on their own. That is obvious from their actions.
The Bible (Proverbs 6:16) says that there are six things that God hates, and the first one is the Hebrew description of a proud heart (haughty eyes). Our political leaders have forgotten this lesson. From our local leaders to the President-elect, our national leaders need to be on their knees asking God to give them wisdom so that they can do what is best for our nation instead of what is best for their political party or their own political future.
As long as this nation embraces and condones evil and depravity such as we see daily on television and in the nightly news, America will continue to see its status and strength in the world decline, just like the Roman Empire, Greek Empire, Egyptian empires, and so-forth, to the point where America will be nothing but a second-rate world power, and the scourge of the civilized world.
God will not be mocked. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive, but when His children refuse to obey and denounce Him, history proves that the retribution He brings on those nations is devastating. America’s rebellious leaders have been warned, now let us pray they listen.”
The message is still unchanged, however.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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Let's return to principles
MARCH 3, 2009
In Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address in 1933, he said: "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance ... "In that same inaugural address he said: " ... Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men ... Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."
America has lost the faith, discipline, courage, patience and determination that brought us out of the Great Depression and into a nearly 60-year period of unprecedented growth, prosperity and improved quality of life.
Jesus said, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." It is time to get our priorities straight and take our country back from the pundits of fear, dependency and big government, to get back to what made us great; faith in God, duty, honor and courage.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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Without God, US is adrift
APRIL 18, 2009
Read the writings of the settlers of this nation, and one will see that the almost unanimous reason for founding our nation was to spread the Christian faith (not my words; those of the colonists).
Read the First Amendment and the notes of the discussions that the founders had on its purpose, and it is readily evident the purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the federal government from establishing a "state" religion, such as was done in England.
When the Supreme Court of 1947 said that the Constitution erected a wall separating church and state, they could not have been more wrong, nor could they have done anything that has contributed to the decay of morals, justice and peace in American society. Never has such a miscarriage of justice been imposed on American society.
The source of America's problems are not economics, politics or external sources bent on destroying our nation. They are spiritual in nature.
When the Supreme Court kicked God out of government, they opened the doors to Satan and evil, and that is why America is going to hell in a hand-basket.
You know the old saying "you can't legislate morality"? Maybe not, but when you remove God from government, you get a godless society with no standards of decency, right and wrong, or morality; you legislate immorality.
The founders had it right. It's the liberals that have got it all wrong, and we all will pay the price for their blindness, arrogance and stupidity.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
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Reader: Fox good business
May 5, 2009

Wiley Hilburn's article Sunday said he felt "blindsided" by the constant display of the Fox news channel wherever he went in businesses. He seemed to ponder why he could not escape it, describing it as analogous to getting a root canal, and "... being tortured ..." by "arbitrary, angry" views. He called it bad business.
Here are my thoughts as to why this is so. I do not tune into MSNBC because I choose not to expose myself to the demeaning tone of Rachael Maddow or Keith Olberman toward anyone who disagrees with them. I do not tune into Bill Maher because I choose not to watch someone who belittles and demeans people who profess faith in God.
I do not watch NBC, CBS or ABC because of their programming that promotes immorality almost universally. I do not watch CNN; I do not believe CNN anymore.
I get sick of hearing traditional values like heterosexuality, traditional marriage, patriotism, the right-to-life of unborn children, prayer, belief in God, etc., assaulted by the liberal press. I get tired of history being misinterpreted by people given a public venue and trust undeservedly so. I get tired of the Constitution being misinterpreted or distorted by those ignorant of what the founders really intended.
I'm sick of supposed journalists who are nothing more than commentators abusing the privilege of being called a journalist. FOX has been No. 1 for over 100 continuous months. Give the people what they want; if you do, they will come.
Scott O'Neal Jr.
West Monroe
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CONCLUSION
In my opinion, The United States of America is in real danger of self-destructing. There is a movement within our country that is weakening the very moral fiber of our nation to the point that, unless there is an about-face in our nation, or unless God divinely intervenes to save our nation, we will soon become a morally bankrupt, second-rate world power, susceptible to the whims of those up and coming world powers like China, India, and Russia. The progress of the destruction is evident throughout every stratum of our nation; our educational systems, our governmental systems, our judicial systems, our journalistic companies, our broadcast media, and our entertainment industries.
God seems to be the enemy now. Almost every day we see television programs that tout evolution as truth and creationism as folly. Organizations try to ban the mention of God or Christianity in any public forum. Television comedians mock Jesus Christ, tell him to “get f---ed”, and they call it humor.
SAT and ACT scores are well below what they were fifty years ago. Teen-aged pregnancies and abortions are out of control and many times higher than they were fifty years ago. Sexually transmitted diseases are at epidemic stages. Violent crimes are more numerous and more heinous than they have ever been. Sexual perversion is off the charts and available for public view from any computer, in our public libraries, and is promoted in every form broadcast entertainment. There are even television commercials for condoms, personal lubricants, and sexual organ enhancements. But the worst, and most damning proof of how low our society has sunk morally, ethically, and otherwise, is the fact that in the last thirty-four years, American has killed over fifty million unborn children under the guise of protecting “…a woman’s right to choose…”.
Our community, our State, and our nation need lots of change; almost everybody agrees that America needs to reinvent itself. I agree that we need to change, but in my opinion, virtually all of our leaders and elected officials are missing the mark when they start trying to figure out how to implement change. They seem to be doing the same things over and over, saying the same things over and over, but at the same time powerless to implement any real change.
I am a blessed man. I have, in my sixty one-plus years, lived a life that in my opinion has been phenomenal. I have three beautiful children, two healthy, handsome grandsons, a beautiful, kind and sweet wife, and wonderful friends. I have seen and done things that most people cannot conceive of.
For example, on a single mission while I was flying the F4 Phantom II fighter bomber during my five years in the U. S. Air Force, I flew at over two times the speed of sound and I soared to fifty-eight thousand feet. In broad daylight I saw the sky go from baby blue to dark, royal blue, and I saw all the stars come out, more than I have ever seen in my life before or since, and they did not twinkle; there was no atmospheric interference to make them twinkle. I saw the curvature of the earth. I had flown virtually the entire length of the State of New Mexico in less than fifteen minutes.
On another mission, a combat mission in far North Vietnam, we attacked and airfield, and in less than thirty seconds, we were shot at by nine surface-to-air missiles, dropped our bombs and destroyed the airfield, and dodged more anti-aircraft fire than I can possible described. Later in that same mission, we twice spotted two MIG aircraft before they could sneak up behind us, turned into them, and ran them off. I’ve never known such a range of emotions in my life in such a short period of time. Emotions ran from hyper activity, to stark raving terror, to rote reaction and action based on years of training, to the unimaginable exhilaration of simply surviving one of the most terrifying experiences one can imagine.
During my career in the U.S. Army (Louisiana Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves), I was privileged to have two command positions. One of those command positions was as Company Commander of the 1087th Transportation Company, a subordinate unit of the 165th Transportation Battalion. I was in command of that company when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, and commanded it during our deployment to Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, where our unit survived several Scud missile attacks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I witnessed first-hand the immediate aftermath of the horrible destruction that took place on the “highway to hell”, also known as the highway between Kuwait city and Basra, Iraq.
I retired early from Lucent Technologies and then the U.S. Army Reserves, and now I receive two small retirements and have medical coverage for me and my family for life. I have a fulfilling job, attend a great church, and have a wonderful ministry through the two gospel singing groups I am a member of. But I cannot rest, because all is not well with my community, my State (Louisiana) and my country (the United States of America). There are still battles to be fought; battles that, I believe, could literally determine the continued existence of our nation as we know it today.
I started writing letters to the editor nearly fifteen years ago, which were frequently printed. I would point out many of the problems as I saw them, and give my opinions on what we needed to do differently in order to reverse the decline of our area from an economic development and an overall “community” standpoint. The local newspaper continues to publish my letters, and my commentaries have grown into an almost every month publication of a Letter to the Editor that I submit. Twice , I have been allowed to be a guest commentator and write about the ongoing effort to organize a regional economic development agency for Northeast Louisiana. When I was working in Shreveport but still living here, I also had some letters I wrote regarding local, state, or national current affairs were published over there as well.
I am very grateful to The News Star and the Shreveport Times for allowing me to be a regular contributor to their “Opinions” sections.
I realize my comments will not be appreciated by all, but that is why America is great. We can disagree, yet still all love our country, our neighbors, and our communities. But what scares me is the reality that many in our country have lost the moral foundations that have kept our country, our families, and our progress positive. It is my desire for some who read my comments, even though they may not agree with them, to be stirred to examine them closer in order to understand the life philosophies that have guided me these sixty-plus years.
Everybody is a victim in America today. We’re not all Americans any more, we are African-Americans, Irish-Americans, Native Americans, Jewish Americans, Gay and Lesbian Americans, and so-on and so-on. We cannot laugh at ourselves any more; we sue somebody for insulting us if we use an offensive descriptive term to describe somebody or something.
We crucified a sports announcer because he said he thought that black athletes were genetically predisposed to be better athletes than white athletes. We say anything bad about homosexuals and suddenly we are guilty of a hate crime. The Supreme Court has taken away the right of an American to believe what he wants and to say what he believes because someone is offended.
Soldiers fight for ideals, comrades
MAY 24, 2009

Each Memorial Day, we honor those American soldiers who paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation and its freedoms — those who laid down their lives for that cause.
I cannot help but wonder how many Americans stop to give real thought to the subjects of the day.
Many businesses treat this day like any other holiday; business as usual.
I and the other soldiers who survived combat and families of the soldiers who died probably look at this day differently than most Americans. To us, the days leading up to the Memorial Day celebrations are days of remembering; of introspective focus, of mourning, of trying to recall a memory of those who we lost that will make us smile.
I find myself fighting to remember names of those I flew with who died. I try to remember their faces, their names, what their families are thinking now, and I pray that they are missed by someone other than me. I try not to focus on how they died; Instead, I remember fun times together, dinners together, flights where we ducked, dodged, attacked and simply survived. I remember the exhilaration of accomplishing our mission without dying. They deserve more than a fleeting generic recognition and memory caused by a newscast or an old war movie.
Sometimes I think "why me?" Why did I survive? Why did my friends Jeff, Andy, Jim Witt, or Scott have to die and not me?
I remember the fear in my stomach the night before I went into battle the first time. How difficult it was to sleep. I remember praying that I would not let down the other members of my mission.
I remember making my peace with my God. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach each time I heard of another aircraft being shot down and my friends dying, yet at the same time, thankfulness it was not me and the shame that I felt for having those feelings.
World War I and World War II soldiers were fighting for a unified, righteous purpose, to defeat evil empires. Soldiers in those wars went into battle with the "big picture," but each also had to develop his or her own motivation for fighting. In intense battle, it takes more than a big picture for a soldier to push forward when all they want to do is crawl into a hole and hide until it stops. They fight because they are part of a team, because they are trained magnificently. Their instincts are sharpened so that in a situation, they do not have to think what to do; it is automatic. I know, because I experienced that exact sensation many times. I would have to listen to the tapes we made of a mission to remember what took place. Most of the time, I was just doing what I instinctively had to do, based on the training I had for that particular set of circumstances. A soldier knows that if they do not do their job, they and especially others they care about might die, and he fears that worse than his own death.
I hurt deep inside when I think about soldiers who have died in all the conflicts since World War II that had to listen to their own countrymen, mostly power-hungry, self-serving, self-righteous politicians, labeling them losers, murders and baby killers and calling them terrorists who go into villages in Iraq and Afghanistan and "terrorize women and children in the night." I get sick to my stomach.
I am enraged that those of us who honor them and are humbled by their sacrifice, have no platform large enough to make a difference in defending their honor and their service to this country and that there are so few of us willing to stand up to their attackers.
On this Memorial Day, if you want to honor soldiers who have given their lives in the service of their country, I will give you ways that I think most of us that survived those combat arenas would agree would be truly appreciated by the honorees:
• Pray for the soldiers who are still in harms way.
• Say a prayer of thanks for the sacrifice of the soldiers who died in the service of this country.
• Say a special prayer that God will be merciful on the families of the soldiers who have died in the service of their country and heal their hurts.
• Never allow someone to run down soldiers in your presence. They're fighting for your freedoms, the least you can do is stand up for their honor to those too stupid to realize what the soldiers are doing for them.
• Pay homage to those who died by thanking every soldier you see in uniform for what he is doing for you — and mean it.
• Never, ever take one minute of freedom for granted. Resolve to fight on the home front to protect the freedoms that so many of my fellow soldiers died to provide to you.
• Love your country. Stand up to those who would attack it for unholy and untrue reasons. Pray and claim God's promise in Chronicles II 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Maj. Carey S. O'Neal Jr. (Ret.) of West Monroe served in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Reader: Kerry should be ashamed

JUNE 28, 2009


So John Kerry quips that if a governor has to disappear, "...too bad it couldn't be Sarah Palin..." instead of the now disgraced governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford.
Yeah, John, you're a real class act. You and Letterman should go on the road together.
You lied about your service in Vietnam, you cheapened the medals and sacrifices that real heroes earn in battle, then you have the nerve to state publicly that you wish the governor of Alaska, a Christian lady with morals and values you haven't been in touch with for decades, would disappear. You disgrace the military, you disgrace the Senate, and you disgrace yourself. The hypocrisy of elitist liberals never ceases to amaze me. The Democratic Party and America as a whole would be better off if you would just "go away" and live off your wife's millions.
It is a sad commentary on our nation when someone with morals, convictions and faith like Sarah Palin can be attacked so ruthlessly, and those attacks and attackers get the laughter and attention of the press, and the attackers become heroes of their party, when they should be censored, condemned and berated as cowards and fools. Frankly, when I look at the women in the House and Senate that the Democrats have elected ( Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, to name a few), I don't see one that is worthy to kiss the shoes of this wonderful example of a classy lady that Sarah Palin represents. Shame on you, John Kerry.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe
Woods' actions inspired reader
JULY 8, 2009

Sunday, July 5th, I felt grateful to be an American, and to have been a soldier for twenty years. But it was not for anything I did; I watched the biggest name in sports today, Tiger Woods, conduct himself with honor, humility, purpose, and dedication to honor kids and soldiers at the AT&T Memorial Golf Tournament.
I saw a man with more raw talent who, through years of dedicated work and effort has risen to the absolute top of the sports field, show kindness and concern for America’s soldiers, both uninjured and those suffering devastating injuries from the battlefield, and for disadvantaged children.
I was impressed with how he seemed constantly subdued; the commentators reminding all of us that Tiger’s dad, Earl, had retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel, and how Tiger and his Dad had always dreamed of putting together an event that helped disadvantaged children as well as honored America’s military. Tiger seemed to understand the significance of the event, the need to keep the spotlight on the soldiers and the kids, and the honor of his being able to facilitate such an event.
To see so many injured soldiers brought to the tournament and honored genuinely touched my heart. To finally see these brave, unselfish, heroic young men honored by the likes of Tiger Woods makes me extremely grateful.
America has great people, honorable people, unselfish people, and that is why I still have hope for America. We just need to get some of those in Congress and the White House and get the self-serving megalomaniacs out.
Scott O’Neal, Jr.
West Monroe, LA
PRESIDENT MISGUIDED – PUBLISHED ~SEPTEMBER 13, 2009
What a sad, misguided president we have. Why, when the federal government has totally messed up every major initiative it has undertaken (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the U.S. Post Office, the stimulus, and the GM and Wall-Street takeovers, to name a few), would anyone be stupid enough to entrust something as important as our ability to get health care to this bunch
This is nothing more than an out-and-out effort to move the country closer and closer to socialism and eventually a one-world government. His promises are so full of holes, the entire U.S. Navy could go through them without notice.
Politicians have promised to pay for giveaways by creating big savings from waste and abuse for decades. It never works. FDR lied and acted unconstitutionally to create Social Security. Obama is trying to tell the rest of the U.S. what is morally imperative, according to him. What right does the most immoral body on the planet have telling anyone what is moral. That is another reason to say "no" to socialized health care.
My moral conscience says to not reward bad behavior or bad decisions by making the rest of America's legal, hard-working citizens pay to provide health care to those too lazy to work for it, or who cannot afford it because they quit school or break the law, or who enter the country illegally. Make the non-contributors contribute or leave the rest of us alone.
Scott O’Neal, Jr.
West Monroe, LA.


Jefferson's words ring true today
OCTOBER 28, 2009

Thomas Jefferson was a very wise man. He hated big government and told all who would listen to fear it and do all possible to prevent it. Here are his own words:
Regarding his view of what government should be: "A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned — this is the sum of good government."
Regarding making people dependent on government: "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." "
"We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country."
Regarding keeping people in office indefinitely: "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."
Regarding big government: "I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive."
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
Regarding redistribution of wealth: "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
America today should heed Jefferson's advice before it is too late. History is our best teacher and the one most ignored because of arrogance and pride.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

Obama wavers, military pays
NOVEMBER 4, 2009
I spent 20 years in the military — five in the Air Force, 15 in the Army, all as an officer, retiring as a major with an MBA.
One of the main things I learned in all my management courses was that, as a manager, I had to be able to make a decision and I had to be able to make that decision in a timely fashion. In virtually every one of my management courses, I heard the old axiom of "the worst decision is no decision at all!"
President Obama is demonstrating very poor management practices by delaying making a decision regarding Gens. David Petraeus' and Stanley McChrystal's requests to send more troops to Afghanistan. A good leader surrounds himself with people he can trust, that have demonstrated past success, and then he empowers those leaders to complete the mission that they are assigned.
If those leaders recommend something, he should either accept their recommendations or he should replace them with someone that he can accept recommendations from. But to have leaders in place that have been successful in the past, then not to follow their recommendation, especially on something as "life and death" important as wartime strategy, is unforgivable.
The indecision is costing American lives, which is unforgivable, especially when it is as obvious as sin that the indecision is politically driven. To play politics with American's lives is as low an act and as cowardly an act as I have ever been unfortunate enough to witness.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

Health care: Tell them no

DECEMBER 10, 2009

I absolutely hate being lied to and bullied. I also hate being treated like I am ignorant or naive or stupid.
Yet, that is exactly how the socialists that are pushing health care reform down the throats of a majority of Americans who do not want it are treating us.
They think we actually might believe their lies about a "deficit neutral" bill. They think we are stupid enough to believe that there will be no tax increases to those making below $250,000, and they think we are naive enough to believe them when they say that cutting $450 billion from Medicare will not hurt the quality and level of senior citizens health care.
When are we going to say "Enough! I'm mad as h--- and I'm not taking it any more"? Wake up, America! This plan is pure socialism, against the will of the people, and will cost all of us thousands each year in taxes for fewer services. It rewards the leeches on American society and penalizes those of us who pay taxes.
Say no. Write and call your senators and representatives every day and tell them that a vote for health care reform is a vote for socialism, is treasonous and that you are tired of the lies, misinformation and being ignored. Fight back. Kick the bums out if they do this, and vote for anyone that says they will repeal this bad law as soon as they get in office.
Carey O'Neal
West Monroe

Another bill, more futility
FEBRUARY 23, 2010

I am in utter disbelief that this president submitted another health care bill to Congress that still advocates a "big brother" takeover of that industry. This shows the audacity and arrogance the man has, as well as a total disregard for the ongoing outcry of America's citizens against this type of plan.
The way to fix America's health care system is to get the U.S. government's nose out of it. Nothing the U.S. government has ever touched and taken over has worked; not one thing throughout history.
His persistence reminds me of the guy that keeps hitting his head against the wall while uttering " ... maybe it won't hurt this time."
The president should give it up and listen to the outcry of America. Let the states and the private sector fix it. Stop trying to pay off political cronies and the unions, and just think about the average American citizen who just wants President Obama and his big brother government to go away and leave us alone.
Socialism has failed in every country where it has been tried. Only an idiot or ideologue like Obama wouldn't see that and keep on beating his head against the wall.
Obama has seen what he, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have done to their party in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey. Keep it up and they'll succeed in getting virtually every left-wing nut thrown out of office in November.
Wait "¦ go ahead "¦ keep it up, Please!
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe


We must reject liberal sell-out
MARCH 20, 2010

Sen. Mary Landrieu's March 11 commentary in the Shreveport Times paints a typical liberal, unrealistic picture (falsehoods galore!) of the Obamacare plan being shoved down Americans' throats.
First omission: Americans are forced to buy health care under penalty of law, which violates the Constitution (just like Social Security does).
Second flaw: The federal government has never eliminated fraud and abuse in any program it has imposed. For example, Social Security over the years took in more than $2.3 trillion more than it paid out. The feds took that surplus and put it in the general fund. Now Social Security is facing bankruptcy. Need I say more?
Third omission: The current bill, as written, underhandedly provides money from the federal government to pay for abortions. This violates laws on the books, and circumvents the legislative and judicial processes by subsidizing insurance policies that include payments for abortions.
Fourth omission: Much of the promised help to Louisiana residents is derived from the $300 million "Medicare deal" that Landrieu got by holding back her vote until Sen. Harry Reid "sweetened" the deal for her. In other words, she withheld her support until Reid promised the $300 million, then sold her vote when it happened. President Obama is trying to get those "deals" thrown out of the final bill..
Don't believe the lies from this Washington liberal sell-out. Say no to this bad legislation. Call your representatives and tell them to vote no.
Maj. Scott O'Neal Jr. USAR (Ret.)
West Monroe

Freedom worth our best fight
MAY 1, 2010
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country ... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
Thomas Paine said these famous words as he tried to inspire the soldier of the Revolutionary Army in December of 1776. They ring very true still today, especially in this time where our own government and liberal press are conspiring together to steal the freedoms our founders fought to give us.
America has forgotten the price paid for freedom and thus doesn't understand what is at stake, but soldiers today still understand that freedom has a dear price, and are ready to lay down their lives to preserve it. As Memorial Day approaches, let America remember these words: "what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly." Freedom from tyranny like Washington is trying to impose on us now is worth fighting, and if necessary, dying for.
Call it what it is: tyranny. Call them what they are: tyrants.
Throw them out in November. God bless America.
Scott O'Neal
West Monroe

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