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
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

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime."

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


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

Doctor Discusses Ethics and The Born Alive Protection Act


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

Protecting our nation’s most vulnerable


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.

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


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

Click here to read this legislation.

Join the Pine Mountain Trail Association


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

Local Ministry Has a Need and It Is You


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