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Prayers should be inclusive
Since the comments supporting Virginia's governor and his rejection of a policy that advised volunteer chaplains to be circumspect in their public prayers at government-sponsored events seem to be defensive, mean-spirited, and clamoring for "freedom," let's consider some common sense objections to the direction this hullabaloo has taken.
Those who insist on their "freedom" to invoke the name of Jesus in circumstances attended by Christians, Jews, Muslims, infidels, atheists, agnostics, free-thinkers, secularists, humanists, and even some who don't have any idea of the reason for control of the situation, are seemingly ignorant of the context of the source of their argument.
The Bible, in the Gospel of John, in chapters 14, 15, and 16, quotes Jesus, in each applicable verse, telling us specifically that if we pray in His name, God will do what we ask!
That is a guarantee of success, fulfillment, and proof of the efficacy of such prayers. Unfortunately, it doesn't work quite that way.
Praying in Jesus' name does not produce victory, triumph, and satisfaction of all our penny ante requests.
To demand the "right" to pray publicly, under government auspices, in such a fashion, diminishes the meaning of genuine, individual prayer.
It also suggests, strongly, that the government is endorsing whichever name we use to close our prayers.
A final problem: To open or close a public, government-authorized meeting, a prayer "in Jesus' name" suggests strongly that other believers are dismissed from the requested blessings.
A suggestion: When praying in a public venue, in the presence of a multi-cultural and religiously diverse audience, try closing with the words, "We pray in the name of my God, your God, and our God." That should cover it.
A word of advice to lawmakers, authority figures, pundits, etc. — when seeking advice regarding the religious aspect of your domains, consult not preachers, but theologians.
Hal H. Eaton
Mouth of Wilson
Check your utility bills for errors
Check your bills closely. On my February telephone bill, I noticed an additional charge from ESBI for $14.95. It said it was a miscellaneous charge for "Hello Mail Monthly Service Fee" for January.
I called Century Link to see what this fee was for and exactly who authorized this transaction. I was told by the customer service representative that I would have to call the 888 number to see what this fee was for, that Century Link only bills for them.
This rep also said she had a similar fee on her bill, and was told it was for a pop up on free coupons.com on the Internet.
When I called the 888 number, I was told that this monthly transaction fee was for downloading songs on the Internet to an MP3 player.
When I asked who authorized this, I was told “Nelson” authorized this transaction in January 2010. I told them to cancel and put a block on this transaction.
I was told I would be credited for the $14.95, but to watch because I might be charged on my phone bill for the February fee, as they had a pending charge of $29.90.
What you have to realize is that I do not own a computer, do not know how to use a computer, and my husband Nelson died in April 2008.
There are companies out there on the Internet that are charging people money for things that they do not order or have any knowledge of ordering.
So, please check bills carefully for any extra charges. These companies are getting rich off the elderly. Please check your bills to see that they are correct.
Tax increase should be gradual
It is hard to believe a tax increase of this nature is even under consideration in Grayson County.
We have no new jobs — in fact, many have gone away.
We have a state prison that isn't funded to hire a staff and is just sitting there eating up dollars as an empty building, and a school that has problems with septic and water and still isn't open.
I am not confident my tax dollars are being handled intelligently.
I could go on and on. I know we are a resilient people in this area, but this is asking more than we can deliver.
I feel like because I own land, I am being penalized.
We may have a low rate of 34 cents, but our values are higher than, say, a Smyth county, which has a higher rate.
I understand we might need an increase, but it should be gradual over a period of five years instead of a large increase in a year.
New art school coverage praised
On behalf of Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, I would like to thank The Gazette for its excellent coverage of the school, and in particular, for coverage of the grand opening which occurred April 16-17.
The entire newspaper staff worked with us to ensure that the public knew about the event, and then reported on it afterward so people who were not able to attend could enjoy the grand opening as well.
The Gazette ran numerous articles and published the schedule of events in a timely manner.
This enabled Chestnut Creek School of the Arts to reach a wide audience who was not only eager to hear about the school, but was also able to join CCSA for the grand opening.
There was an estimated 1,000 people who attended throughout the afternoon on Saturday, and for that we are very excited.
Again, I want to thank you, The Gazette, for wonderful coverage in celebrating this event in Galax.
Board of directors, chairwoman
Chestnut Creek School of the Arts
Groundskeepers' actions hurtful
This letter is about the groundskeeping at the (new) Gold Hill Cemetery in Grayson County.
My beloved grandfather is buried in this cemetery. In the past, things that my family and I have placed on his grave have been broken or thrown away by the groundskeepers.
This is very disrespectful. Nobody has the right to go to his grave or anyone else’s and remove or throw their things away.
Around five to six months ago I placed a miniature garden flag on his grave and now it is gone along with all his flowers, too.
I placed this flag at his headstone so it wouldn’t be in anyone’s way, such as the mowers.
I bought him new things for spring but I am worried about putting them on his grave now for fear that they too will be thrown away.
Whomever is doing the mowing at this cemetery needs to have some respect or someone else needs to be in charge of the mowing.
My papaw was my world and this is extremely hurtful and disrespectful to my family.