Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor@pikecountytimes.com
 
Online
 
Welcome to the Pike County Times.com Letters to the Editor Page.

These editorials reflect the opinions of their authors and don't necessarily reflect my personal opinions. Feel free to express your opinion with a letter to the editor to: editor@pikecountytimes.com.

Letter writing guidelines are as follows: I do not have a word limit. However, all editorials must be respectful even when hard points are made about any topic including local, state, or national politics.

If I have a problem with an editorial, I will let you know by email and it can either be resolved or not printed because I will proof your letter for grammatical errors, but I do not edit letters based on content. And last but not least, your editorial must be accompanied by your name and a county or city of residence.

 
Thought for the Week

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.
You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." -Anne Lamott
 
A Letter to My Polish Father

6.28.19

On this Father's Day I will share a letter I mailed to my father on his 85th birthday:

Dear Dad,

I am writing to you for two reasons. First, because I want to apologize for being unreceptive to your advice and second, because there are some things I want to say before you pass away from us. I want you to know that no man has ever been blessed with such a loving and understanding father as you. You have taught me what is necessary to adhere to the principles of the faith and at the same time demonstrated (by example) what it is to maintain a strong and upstanding character even in the face of extreme adversity. I think about you every day and am preparing myself for the day when you and I will be temporarily separated and you will be permanently reunited with all of our relatives.

I remember when we were at one of your birthday parties and somebody suggested that each of us write out (on your birthday card) a memory of a time that was important to us. One of my memories was when you used to bring us home from Busha's house (never could spell it right) to the house in Parma Heights and I would fight with Tweety to stop you from driving away because your leaving us would cause me a lot of sadness. Knowing the fact that you may be leaving soon brings back memories of that sadness. You said to me afterward that when you used to leave us, your heart would ache with sadness. My heart will ache with sadness everyday that you are not here because one of the very few people who truly cared about me will be gone. I love you Dad and I am sorry for all the times I caused you grief and anxiety like the times when you used to stop at Dairy Dell and I would throw a tantrum just to get you to buy me a stupid comic book. I am sorry for any contempt that I may have had for you especially at times when you were trying to help me; like the time over at Busy Bee when I said things to you and the owner's son that no fool in their right mind should ever think, never mind say. I am sorry for the times when you got yourself hurt trying to help me and I did nothing to help you like the time at that service station when the clerk caused you to panic and trip over that bar in the garage and you shattered your knee. I should have rushed to your side when you called me but instead you had to drive yourself to the hospital. If anything ever happens to you or anybody else in this family, I will beat down the Great Wall of China to help them. I am also sorry for not powdering your toes that you could not reach because of your knee. Before Jim Bonkowski died, he apologetically asked me to put his socks on because his feet were so swollen and he pulled a back muscle; I told him I would gladly do it because it was God's way of giving me a second chance to do something I had failed to do before. There are so many other things that I am sorry for but either I cannot remember all of them or it is getting too difficult to type while I weep.

There are some things I would like to thank you for as well. First and foremost, for being my dad who always looked out for me and made phone calls on my behalf whether it be while I was at work or looking for work. I remember when I used to work nights at Coca-Cola and sometimes we would have to work straight through the night and you would call to see where I was. I remember feeling embarrassed that my father would call looking for me but the dispatcher told me that some guys don't have a father who cares enough to look out for them. Thank you for staying in a marriage that has been difficult for you and Mom. A former professor of mine once said to the class that anybody who can survive marriage ought to be canonized. You both have done very well in upholding your vow before God. You both have also done very well in raising us the best way you could as there has yet to be a perfect way of raising children. I now realize that there comes a point when each of us (supported by our family) needs to take responsibility for our lives and play the cards we are dealt. Thank you for supporting me the best way you knew how. Thank you for feeding, clothing and sheltering me especially the time you came home from work and had to put the storm windows up in the middle of a driving rainstorm. I remember feeling sad watching the mud drip from your shoes as you struggled to put them up. Thank you for declining the contract offer from the Cleveland Indians because Dziadzia advised you not to play baseball on Sunday. The Territorial Scout position {business card to prove it} was obviously unfulfilling so you chose to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. I have your Army picture in front of me and am always struck by how handsome and dignified you are. You are a man's man. Well, the Kleenex box is about empty and my eyes are not drying so perhaps it would be wise to end this letter. Always remember Dad that I love you very much and will miss you even more. As Patton said about his father, you are and always will be my darling papa.

Love,
Joe (Your Half-Polish Son)

Walter Joseph Bialek celebrated his 85th birthday on January 6, 2003 and passed away on September 3, 2009.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio

Top
 
Thoughts on Abortion

5.23.19

Dear Editor,

Life begins at the point of conception. No one can deny that after a human being is conceived it will develop into the very same being as those debating this issue. What astounds me is that those who favor abortion went through an identical development stage as the being they are condemning to death. Would these very same people agree that a similar choice should have been made about their own existence? How many human lives have been lost that could have added to our society in so many ways?

Abortion today is used primarily as a birth control of convenience because people are too self-centered to take precautions. They prefer their own pleasurable self-indulgence over the care and sanctity of the life they created. What ever happened to taking responsibility for one's actions in this country? Is it too much to ask a woman who has conceived to place the child into adoption? Nine months of discomfort is nothing compared to life in prison for voluntary manslaughter! And what about consenting to sex with a male; is that part of the equation too? Or has abortion just become another extension of the women's liberation movement started in the late 60's which coincidently boosted membership on or about the same date as Roe V. Wade?

Does the father of the child have a say in this? And what about the constitution of the United States? Are not all people conceived in this country deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? I believe abortion is a crime against humanity and should be outlawed. We need to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision and get back to cherishing life in this country. For a country that murders its children cannot be far from self destruction.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio

Top
 
 
A Letter to My Irish Mother

5.18.19

Dear Mom,

Today we would have celebrated your eighty-fifth birthday and perhaps as many as ten more if you had not been misled by your surgeon. As much as I am sorry for the unnecessary suffering you had to endure for the remaining nine months of your life, I am glad that I was able to help care for you and come to appreciate how much you always cared for me. I remember one time just after your second surgery when we were visiting you and Pat kiddingly said "gee Mom, the things you will do to get your kids to visit you". You smiled after she said that but I walked away feeling sad that there were times I avoided you because I did not want to share your company. I am sorry Mom for all the times we argued and the many times when I should have just said I'm sorry, I love you. It bothers me to remember that we did not speak for the five months leading up to your surgery and that had I continued to visit you prior to that day, I may have been able to help you see all the risks involved in such a procedure. I cried very hard in the waiting room that day because all I could think of was that you decided your children no longer loved you and that there was no need to share the facts about your upcoming surgery. Still in all, you endured a great deal of suffering and never once indicated you wanted to give up in the face of extreme adversity. You fought the good fight and taught me that no matter how hard things get, we must never give up hope because without hope, there is only despair. You often found the ability to smile during your tribulation and you always encouraged me to do the same so as to not take myself to seriously. Nothing is ever that bad and certainly not worth taking your life for. I remember a favorite quote of yours stated by Rose Kennedy "I'll never be vanquished".

Mom I want you to know that no man could have had a better mother than you. You too have taught me what is necessary to adhere to the principles of the faith and at the same time demonstrated (by example) what it is to maintain a strong and upstanding character even in the face of extreme suffering. I think about you every day and am preparing myself for the day when you and I will be permanently reunited. Still, my heart aches with sadness everyday that you are not here because one of the very few people who truly cared about me is gone. I love you Mom and I am sorry for all the times I caused you grief and anxiety like the times when you would ask me to do things around the house and I would complain like some lazy brat. The list of "jobs" was never that demanding and I should have jumped at the opportunity to help around the house. I am sorry for any contempt that I may have had for you especially at times when you were trying to help me; like the time you were trying to convince me not to take my own life and all I responded with was blame and rage. Before I hung up the phone, I remember Dad saying to me "Mom loves you dearly". I am also sorry for not hugging you when you first received the news that you had colon cancer. I should have embraced you lovingly but instead, you had to endure the news alone. Just as with my letter to Dad, there are so many other things that I am sorry for but either I cannot remember all of them or it is getting too difficult to type while I weep.

There are some things I would like to thank you for as well. First and foremost, for being my mom who always looked out for me and if I needed something, would spend extra money to make sure it was the best thing possible. I remember when I used to work the closing shift at Mcdonald's and sometimes you would come to see where I was because you were afraid I would ruin my life by getting some girl pregnant. I remember feeling embarrassed that my mother would come looking for me but the janitor told me that some guys don't have a mother who cares enough to look out for them. Thank you too for staying in a marriage that had been difficult for you and Dad. A former professor of mine once said to the class that anybody who can survive marriage {especially after fifty years} ought to be canonized. You both have done very well in upholding your vow before God. You both have also done very well in raising us the best way you could as there has yet to be a perfect way of raising children. I have come to realize that there comes a point when each of us (supported by our family) needs to take responsibility for our lives and play the cards we are dealt. Thank you for supporting me the best way you knew how. Thank you for feeding, clothing and sheltering me especially the times you came home from work and had to manage a house full of kids many times without Dad's help. I have your wedding picture in front of me and am always struck by how beautiful and gracious you are. Well, the kleenex box is about empty and my eyes are not drying so perhaps it would be wise to end this letter. Always remember Mom that I love you very much and miss you even more. As JFK said about his mother, you are and always will be my wild Irish Rose.

Love,
Joe
(Your half-Irish son)

Eileen (Moran) Bialek passed away on January 8, 2002. [Note from the Editor: Joe Bialek is from Ohio.]

Top
 
Doing “unto the least of these”

5.11.19

Dear Editor,

The DeCelle Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange, GA. meets every Wednesday Morning from 8:30 until 10:00AM at the Eric Brown Building on N Lewis Street across the street from the rear of our main church building. All are welcome as we sit in a circle and invite those who came to share why they came. During our 7 year history we have seen over 500 people.

Recently, a woman who has periodically come for help over the years, achieved a dream which she had no way of doing in the beginning. Earlier in the year she became homeless, but, thanks to a grant the LaGrange Police Department had received from United Way, she was able to stay at a motel. Then she was able to stay longer due to the generosity of several people/organizations.

It was at this point that several in our ministry worked with her and began to see a changed attitude. She contacted many organizations, used $400 of her own money from her monthly disability payments from Social Security (which are well below the poverty level for a single person) and we gave a small amount of money from our $2500 annual budget. She was then able to pay a past due utility bill and moved into her own modest apartment.

Please note we seldom give money. When we do, it is given directly to whom money is owed. Furthermore, we are mindful of “Toxic Charity” which is the title of a book written by Bob Lupton. He says giving money can result in “loss of dignity, unhealthy dependency and erosion of work ethic.”

This ministry was named after our former minister Dr. Doug DeCelle who started it. He has written an excellent history of it which can be found at http://www.douglasdecelle.net/how-one-church-found-a-mission-that-mattered-2

The following are comments from some of our team who have been involved with this client:

· “Hard to describe the sense of satisfaction I feel after all these years of pain and disappointment. What comes to mind is Jesus' instruction for us to forgive 70X7 times if asked. A big lesson for me - never give up on people where God may be at work.”

· “I left more thankful than ever for all I so easily take for granted. For the loving, generous, & hard working father that provided so well for my family---I am forever grateful. In talking about "paying it forward" as I mentioned to (client’s name) this AM, I am really talking about myself!“

· ”Just in the short time I’ve been associated with this group, I’ve seen a tremendous transformation in (client’s name) What an inspiration it has been for me to see the way you work with people, accept them as they are, and gently try to steer them into better paths. And then to see the change that this acceptance and active caring can bring in the life of someone is truly awesome. I’m so grateful for what each of you is doing.”

· ”Wow....reading everyone's words of faith, truth and wisdom gives me goose bumps...the Holy Spirit is moving and working! We are so blessed to be a part of this ministry and to be a blessing to others. A great team on which to be a member.”

· “I am blessed to be allowed to come and take part in this ministry. We are called as Christians to go to the nations both locally and globally. This ministry is answering that call and I believe that we all can say that we are more blessed by the opportunity to walk with these individuals than they are by what we are doing with them (I know I am).”

As Jesus said “when you do it to the least of these you do it unto me.”

Jeff Brown
Member DeCelle Ministry at First Presbyterian Church LaGrange, GA.
jeffwarnerbrown@gmail.com

Top
 
A Response to H.B. 734 and Pike County Times' Entreaty for Common Sense

4.13.19

Dear Editor,

You will, I hope, be inundated with letters on the subject of the proposed legislation for the state government to set up a board to oversee ethics in journalism. [Note from the Editor: You can read "My Thoughts on H.B. 734: Entreaty for Common Sense" by clicking here.]

Obviously the first rejoinder is, How about a board to oversee ethics in government? Or ethics in politics?

But when I first heard about this bill, and after checking to be sure it wasn't an April Fool joke, I remembered hearing about something very similar when I lived in California while Ronald Reagan was in his second term as governor.

Some Republican legislator had introduced a bill to license journalists, and, naturally, at a news conference some reporter asked the gov about it. Reagan first just chuckled, then told one of his famous stories: He said there had been a time, earlier in the century, when a U.S. Senator had proposed a bill to license actors.

It was a time when boarding houses might have firm rules barring dogs and actors. Reagan went on, saying that at the time there were no actors in jail but there were two U.S. Senators in jail.

Now I don't believe that in the history of the profession there has been a time no actors were in jail somewhere; nor do I believe there has been a time when many senators weren't but should have been in jail. And probably lots more reporters should have been jailed, for drunk and disorderly, certainly, and maybe for dishonest reporting.

Today, journalism is, in my opinion quite fairly, under attack for bias and even dishonesty. Where, news consumers are asking in huge numbers, is any ethics in journalism?

Well, I was a journalist for many years, reporter, photographer, columnist, page designer, and editor. In the small markets I worked in, there wasn't much scope for dishonesty, nothing as with The New York Times or The Washington Post.

But, some reporters and editors still managed to bias the stories. Sometimes by quoting exactly what a politician said. (I admit it: I did that once.)

At this point, I don't have to add anything else to what you already said: Having any government body decide what can and cannot be considered "news" is dangerous.

We already have enough danger from government with the myth that these United States contain only two political parties, both of which are obscenely corrupt. Licensing or any kind of governmental oversight is a very bad idea, so bad, in fact, that only a politician could have come up with it.

I hope, Dear Editor, that with this ridiculous proposal, you come around to considering how dangerous and corrupting it is to have governments licensing any profession, overseeing any line of work.

If journalists can be licensed and/or overseen, why not ministers? Why not every profession and line of work?

Thanking you for your thoughtful essay, and for your invitation to respond, I am

Yours sincerely,
Michael F.S.W. Morrison
Whetstone, Arizona

Top
 
Doctor Discusses Ethics and The Born Alive Protection Act

4.2.19

Dear Editor,

In the 5th century B.C., a pagan physician, Hippocrates, developed a code of ethics for doctors that raised medical care from witchcraft and even killing the sick to the art of healing. Included in the original oath is a prohibition against abortion and euthanasia.

In obstetrics, the physician has two patients - the mother and her unborn baby. Women have been deceived into thinking that once conception has occurred, they still have a "choice" as to whether they should give birth to that child or not. This deception has been perpetrated on them by both physicians and politicians.

The idea that you would neglect a newborn child who was struggling to live because she was not "wanted" or "planned" or because he has a disability is contrary to all that we should be as mothers, medical professionals and as human beings. The Born Alive Protection Act shows compassion for a newborn child, whom we have no right to neglect or actively kill.

As politicians and physicians, we are called to provide care for the most vulnerable members of our nation who have no voice - the unborn and the newly born.

Kathleen M. Raviele MD FACOG
Atlanta

Top
 
Protecting our nation’s most vulnerable

4.2.19

Dear Editor,

The start of 2019 marked the beginning of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. In just three months since taking power, the Democratic Party has embarked on a radical agenda threatening Americans’ constitutional rights and undermining the freedoms we hold so dear.

This lurch to the far left extends to state legislative bodies across the United States and is threatening the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Recently we’ve seen lawmakers in Virginia and New York advocate for on-demand abortion up until a child’s due date and even blatant infanticide. This is abhorrent. Medical providers are sworn to do no harm, and yet these policies would legalize the murder of infants.

We cannot allow this to stand, and House Republicans have been taking action. In January, we introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This legislation would prevent this horrifying practice by making it a crime to deny treatment to any baby who survives an abortion.

Now, to most of us, providing care for newly born children, especially those who have just survived an abortion, is not just common-sense, but our moral imperative as human beings. In fact, 70% of Americans support legislation to protect babies born alive during an abortion. But, despite this overwhelming support, my Democratic colleagues choose instead to stand by their radical pro-choice base.

House Republicans feel so strongly that we should protect abortion survivors, that we have asked over twenty times for unanimous consent to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the House floor for a vote. Each and every time, Democrats have objected and blocked the bill.

But we are not done fighting to protect the most vulnerable. Republican Whip Steve Scalise is filing a discharge petition to force a vote on this critical legislation. I have already pledged to sign onto this petition, and I know I will be joined by my Republican colleagues. I hope my Democratic colleagues decide to join us in this life-saving effort.

In the meantime, I am continuing to fight to ensure all life is protected from the moment of conception. In the 116th Congress, I have cosponsored numerous pieces of pro-life legislation, including H.R. 784, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and H.R. 369, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019.

Protecting the sanctity of human life is critically important. I have always believed life begins at conception, and I remain committed to advancing policies that reflect that truth. The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act is a common-sense bill that would safeguard the innocent children who survive late-term abortions. It is simply unconscionable that Democrats are standing in the way of lifesaving legislation. But I will not be deterred, and I will not rest until our laws protect the most vulnerable among us – the unborn.

Congressman Drew Ferguson
3rd District Representative

Click here to go to Rep. Drew Ferguson's website.

Top
 
 
Harbin Explains Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 221 - RFRA)

3.7.19

Dear Editor,

Last week I introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 221) in the State Senate with nine of my colleagues as cosigners, seven of them Committee Chairmen.

This legislation exactly mirrors the 1993 Act by the same name that was introduced by Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

My legislation, enacting the same provisions as the ‘93 RFRA has two simple clauses that the state of Georgia would be required to abide by:


• Government may not substantially burden an individual’s Religious Freedom unless it has a compelling government interest (public safety, etc.) in doing so.


• If the Government has a compelling interest that requires it to substantially burden an individual’s Religious Freedom, it must do so in the least invasive way possible.

There are no hidden clauses, and the legislation itself is a mere 3 pages long. However, some loud voices have attempted to twist this legislation into something it is not. There have also been many questions about why this legislation is needed.

The simple fact is that in a series of Supreme Court cases it has been ruled that the government may interfere in a person’s religion if the interference is collateral damage of a broad government act and not aimed at that specific person. For instance, if Muslims were not specifically mentioned, traditional female dress for Orthodox Muslim women could be banned in a municipality if the excuse was made that the municipality was banning all face coverings.

After the ‘93 RFRA was passed by the US Congress to address this issue, the Court ruled again in 1997 that Federal RFRA only applied to the Federal Government, and that each state would have to rectify the situation on their own by enacting a State RFRA. So far 31 states from Florida to Texas to Illinois have done so.

One of the most notable examples of RFRA in action comes from our neighbors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2014, then 90-year-old veteran Arnold Abbot, sued the city over an ordinance related to his ministry. Mr. Abbot’s organization, Love Thy Neighbor, was created in the 90’s to help feed homeless men and women around Fort Lauderdale. The city passed a new ordinance to prevent people from feeding the homeless outside, seriously handcuffing Mr. Abbot’s ministry.

Because of Florida’s state Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Love Thy Neighbor won their lawsuit and the homeless men and women in Fort Lauderdale were able to receive the meals they desperately needed.

There has been some concern among those unfamiliar with the legislation that it might be used to discriminate, especially against the LGTBQIA community. I want to state categorically that I oppose discrimination of any sort. I would never support legislation that would do so. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow discrimination. In the 25 years since its passage, there has never been a single case of the Federal RFRA ever being used to discriminate against anyone.

On March 7 of 2018, in a landmark case, EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, the 6th Circuit ruled that nothing in 1993 RFRA allows or even attempts to allow discrimination. The language isn’t there. No one, the 6th Circuit wrote, can use RFRA as an excuse for discrimination, because RFRA protects no such thing.

Rather, this legislation would protect Georgians of every faith from having the government oppress their First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion. Rather than allowing one person to discriminate against another, this legislation stops the government from being able to discriminate against a person due to their religion.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is an anti-discrimination bill.

Before we have a case like that of Mr. Abbott right here in Georgia, we need to act. Everyone deserves religious tolerance. And this legislation would ensure that the state of Georgia makes the American promise of freedom of religion open to all. This legislation is good for Georgia.

Senator Marty Harbin, District 16
Tyrone

Click here to read this legislation.

Top
 
Join the Pine Mountain Trail Association

12.3.18

Dear Editor, [Note from the Editor: I have chosen to leave this letter online for a while more.]

On Saturday night the PMTA had its annual pigout. It was only lightly attended, and I decided I'd start up a little one-man ( and all his friends) social media campaign to nudge up our membership. I have been a member since it started back in 1976; Ruth and I are very proud of it and our children always enjoyed hiking on it.

As most of you know, the Pine Mountain Trail is one of Middle Georgia's greatest assets. If you haven't been out on it lately, you should give it a try. It's great and provides a way for "flatland" scout troops and hikers form here and points south to get that Appalachian Trail experience without having to drive for hours to get up farther north.

Please consider joining, and, of course, forward this to any and all of your friends you think might enjoy and appreciate it. And post on Facebook.

Pine Mountain Trail Association - GA. "Service is the rent we pay for our space on Earth" www.pinemountaintrail.org/

Walker Chandler
Peachtree City

Top
 
Local Ministry Has a Need and It Is You

6.1.18

Dear Editor, [Note from the Editor: I have chosen to leave this letter online for a while more.]

The Pike Outreach Transportation Ministry needs drivers. No CDL is required. No medical degree necessary.

If you can drive one day a week or one day every two weeks you will do. Most important is faithfulness because a dialysis patient can't wait. The van has a chair lift and instruction will be provided. The head of the program passed this need on and I am passing it on to you. Dedicated drivers are needed. Jesus will have your paycheck when you get home.

For more information, call Ann at 678-642-9800 and leave message with your name and phone number.

Steve Hicks
Zebulon

Top