Letters - February 17, 2006

Helping our neighbors is truly a noble thing
Editor’s note: The following letter was received in response to a letter that appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of the Coastal Point.

Mr. Dennis Cleary, I can understand every one of your points with the exception of No. 8. You stated, “… he nor the congress has protected us from the tens of thousands who walk into our country every month along our Southern borders.”

My personal decision to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ leads me to know that the tens of thousands you appear to fear are people extremely poor in the basics in life.

“Jesus mandated social justice as non-negotiable within Christian discipleship. This is clear from his own life, from the text on the last judgment in Matthew’s gospel, and from the fact that in the gospels, on average, one out of eight lines is an imperative from Jesus to reach out to the poor.”

I am proud of my Catholic Church for our work along our Southern border to provide safe houses, water, food, shelter and transportation to these very poor souls. These brothers and sisters of ours have a right to cross any border to pursue life’s basic needs.

These human beings come here because we are the closest and the richest country on the planet earth. They come here for work, for money to send back to their families and for an opportunity to live a life free from poverty. How dare we demand our government to build a wall, aim our weapons at, leave to die in the desert, to keep those… those… those… the very poor “Jesus mandated us to reach out to…”?

I deeply believe, “Jesus mandated us to reach out to the poor.” I am inviting you join us at our borders and welcome these poor souls with open arms. I am inviting you to pursue legal documentation to allow these brothers and sisters freedom to travel here for employment and back home to see their families.

I am inviting you to direct our government and churches to invest in the poorest of our neighbors’ communities to give them an opportunity to live a life free from poverty. I am inviting you to join us in welcoming the best of our potential newest citizens.

Join us in opening the doors to our private homes and the doors to our churches to give “the poor” shelter, food, clothing, employment and our love.

Lloyd E. Elling
Ocean View

Individual licenses hit more than anglers

Your article on the proposed saltwater fishing licenses missed a very important point. Based on DNREC statements at the Georgetown meeting it appears that everyone on a boat with fishing rods will have to have a license, even if they don’t fish.

My husband fishes; I don’t, but I go sometimes to enjoy the water and keep him company. If he’s busy with one rod, and there’s a bite on another, he may ask me to grab it for him. When he asked whether I would need a license, DNREC’s answer was “Yes,” even though I’m not fishing but helping my husband. Since marine police could never tell who on a boat is or isn’t fishing, realistically everyone would have to have a license.

Imagine the results. My non-resident friend, who would never touch a rod in her life, would need a license. An invitation to non-fishing friends for an afternoon on the water would go like this: “It’s going to be a beautiful day tomorrow. Would you like to go out in the ocean? And by the way you need to go on-line and get a fishing license!”

DNREC also said that children under 12 and seniors probably wouldn’t need a license. What about the child who is 11 and looks 13? Or the senior who looks young? I guess they need to bring a birth certificate or driver’s license. Of course, all this could be avoided if my husband left his rods at home — but anyone who has been married to a fisherman knows the level of marital discord that debate would cause. (“Leave the rods at home. That’s just when a trophy sea bass or flounder will come by.”)

If I seem to be stretching, it is to make a point. This rule is burdensome and unenforceable. Marine police would have to stop boats with fishing rods and check out everyone’s license. But DNREC said that won’t happen — they are not adding staff and will rely on the honor system. Which really means, given the ridiculous nature of this proposal, that lots of people won’t get the licenses and DNREC won’t get the revenue they project.

If DNREC needs the money, there is a better way. License the boat, not the person, just like the federal government does with tuna permits. People could be issued a fishing license sticker, which goes on the front of the boat, so the marine police could easily see it when they pass by. This approach would eliminate individual burden and make the rule easily enforceable.

Licensing boats was suggested at Georgetown, but DNREC didn’t like it because they said it wouldn’t yield as much money. DNREC projected $3 million from individual licenses, assuming everyone gets one. But they ignore the fact that this proposal simply encourages people to break the law, so actual revenue is likely to be much lower.

According to USCG data, there are about 51,000 licensed motor boats in Delaware. A $20 fishing license per boat would yield slightly over $1 million — less than DNREC wants but who knows… maybe more than they would get from the individual licenses they propose.

Deborah Lewis-Idema and Harry Idema
Ocean View

Sorority thankful for support with dance

The Alpha Alpha Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi wants to thank members of the community for making our annual fund, raising dance on Feb. 3 a success: Silhouettes, Pam Morris; Professional Home Services, Rob Ward; Luna’s Cactus Cafe, Manuel Paron; Miller’s Creek, Trooper Evans; Paula’s Decorating Cafe, Paula and Ken Hudson; Dan and Peg Lyons; Cottage Cafe; Paula Howard; Cathy Lynn Studio; DiFebo’s; Claudia Alesi; Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club; Bear Trap Dunes, Carl Freeman Inc.; G&E Inc., Gerald Hocker; Everyday Yoga; Ocean View VFW and great staff; John and Nancy Warren; Burpee.com; State Farm, Denise Beam; Bethany Healing Arts; and Dr. Bonnie Bernquist. We plan to give the proceeds to needy families in our community. Thank you again for “Helping Us Help the Community!”

Alpha Alpha Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi

Family thanks area for support with loss

Our family is very thankful and appreciative of the Beebe Medical ER team who attended our mother Harriett I. McClung on Feb. 4 and 5.

We wish to thank Dr. Joydeep Haldar and staffers Shelly, Diane, Karen, Betty, Lisa Marie, Rick and Chris. The team did everything possible in a professional and compassionate manner to administer appropriate care and to value dignity in her death. The Lewes Community and other neighboring towns are fortunate to have such a devoted medical team working at the hospital.

Also, we wish to thank the Rev. Bill Hopkins who joined us in the ER. His prayer and words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Additionally, we extend our thanks to the Ocean View Police Department: Chief McLaughlin, Sgt. Heath Hall, Corp. Kristen Miller, Ptlm. Walter Johnson, Pfc. Mark Burton, Pfc. Lewis Kester, Pfc. Marlon Miller and Pfc. Justin Norman and Adrian. Thanks for your many acts of kindness.

Also, we greatly appreciate all the efforts of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company and Jim Cina, and ambulance crew members Brandon Rogers and John Watson.

Our communities are fortunate to have many wonderful public servants who are always ready to provide help and support in our tragedies and sorrow.

Harry, Luray, Asher, Aaron and Christina McClung
Ocean View

Writer disputes letter in past Coastal Point

I am responding to Mr. Cleary’s comments published as a letter under “Education is needed with administration” in the Feb. 10 Coastal Point.

Mr. Cleary’s letter is written from a seriously delusional viewpoint. Like he really knows what we think. The 10 reasons he gives for President Bush’s supporters’ blind loyalty are obviously warped by his own uninformed and biased positions. I will debunk them one at a time.

(1) We know the tax cuts favorably affect all of us because they have created a robust economy. A robust economy that is acknowledged by most economists that are not tainted by leaning left.

(2) We actually believe that the war was started over WMD and Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with the worthless UN.

(3) Get serious! No one actually cares about baseball players using steroids. But the list of other items has merit. None of them are new and we cannot expect President Bush to resolve them while fighting a war that some foolishly continue to believe unnecessary.

(4) It is rather audacious to mention the last 60 years. The Democrats were actually in charge for most of that time and are responsible for the dumbing down of the American educational system and they, most recently, gave us NAFTA. Private industry has to create jobs not the government. The government could create jobs if we were communists. How far left dare we go?

(5) We do not believe we are forcing democracy anywhere. We are offering it to the Iraqi people. Their elections show that they are off to a great start but it will take years to really succeed. And the elections in Iran, Egypt and Palestine are at least better than no elections.

(6) We support the president’s anti-choice agenda because we believe that abortion is wrong. Especially as currently practiced. It is amazing how most Democrats say they would never have an abortion but continue to support the destruction it produces.

(7) We do most assuredly support the use of wiretaps of communications coming into our country from our enemies or their countries. And do not consider that a diminution of our freedoms. The references to Quakers and animal rights groups is typical leftist bellowing.

(8) We all do not agree with Bush’s position on the border. A number of us actually think that he should blow the left’s mind with a serious get-tough policy closing the borders, i.e., both North and South. Followed with the expulsion of all illegal immigrants. Immediate and on the spot. No exceptions. We could then probably do away with welfare and have work fare because there would be plenty of jobs to be filled. I can already hear the scream from the left.

(9) We are as unhappy with gasoline dependency as the left and agree that something must be done. In the State of the Union address the president said that he will increase support for technologies in the energy area. However, we have known of this problem for about 70 years and the opposition expects President Bush to wave a magic wand to solve it.

(10) The references made apply more to the entertainment-centered left rather than the right. But we do prefer to get our news from cable rather than from the left biased ABC, NBC, CBS and even CNN. However, the recommendation to read books, newspapers and Internet sources is a two-edged sword. We all pursue things that fit into our own preconceived notions as is clear from Mr. Cleary’s letter.

I believe that I am as informed as Mr. Cleary and I do not believe that we are motivated by fear. I also believe that Mr. Cleary’s continued references to the president as Emperor shows the infantile thought process that prevails on the left because they have no thoughts, suggestions or plans that will enable them to regain control. I hope they continue in their current bottom feeding mode and I say “God bless President Bush” and his efforts to lead the greatest nation on earth.

Thomas M. Keeley III
Ocean View

We should all grow up regarding our leaders

The people of Delaware are currently enraged at the 59 percent rate increase announced by Delmarva Power. While I agree that Delmarva’s imposition of a rate increase of such magnitude is outrageous and demonstrative of a total disregard for its customers, we need to remember that our rates have been frozen for several years. Had the rates not been frozen it is certain that we would have had several rate hikes over those years which, by now, could quite possibly have resulted in the same rate that is currently imposed.

Is it logical to assume that even though all of our other energy costs have risen dramatically, the cost of electricity would have remained the same without the rate freeze? The information that I received is that the new rate is in line with the rates in neighboring states. That still does not excuse Delmarva Power for blind-siding its customers with such a drastic rate increase.

In 1999, I was the AARP representative on the electric deregulation Consumer Education Work Group. There were representatives from Delmarva Power, Delaware Electric Co-op, as well as power companies from outside Delaware. I don’t recall any of them saying that they would not be interested in bidding for business in Delaware.

Letters to the editor and talk show calls are filled with calls to throw out the incumbent members of our General Assembly. We should all realize that not all of the incumbents were in office when the deregulation bill was passed. Voters should consider how effective and responsive their General Assembly members have been to improving life in their area and in the state. That same approach should be good for all other elected officials, from municipal to federal. We should leave the name calling to the elementary school playgrounds and base our voting decisions on the issues and the qualifications of the candidates.

Walter Berwick

School board needs to do the proper thing

Indian River School Board needs to do the right thing, not the popular thing. The Indian River School District needs to bite the bullet and do the right thing despite the threat of 1,000-plus persons encouraging them to decide otherwise in the federal court case regarding Christian prayer at officially sponsored school functions.

The feelings of many persons of deep religious conviction must be respected. However, the decision regarding this issue remains one of law and not faith. When School Board members are sworn in as government officials, they take an oath of allegiance to faithfully uphold the Constitution of the United States. That Constitution clearly states Congress (and by extension government officials) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’.

The Constitution was written against a background history of religious strife from which many of the initial settlers had fled in Europe seeking true freedom in America to be free from government leaders that demanded allegiance to a particular religious belief. The founding fathers, who were predominantly Christian or deist, wanted to assure that in America the importance of faith demanded respect for and freedom of all citizens to practice a religious faith of their choice without the interference of government leaders.

To that end, the Constitution was written so as to forbid government officials from prohibiting the free exercise thereof by each of its citizens without government or its representatives prescribing a particular religious observance.

The secret of a free and open society demanded by our Constitution lies in the view expressed by John Stuart Mill and others that the government exists to serve the individual and not vice versa. Government actions must protect the rights of the minority even against the wishes of the majority. Parents and their churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc., must be free to inculcate the religion of their choice in their children without interference from the government.

Since most of the initial settlers were Judeo-Christian, references to God were frequent in official documents and traditions of our country. Bible readings and prayers were in public school classrooms and at public functions. In some areas, the prayers were distinctly Christian and few raised the issue.

However, in the latter half of the 20th Century, one who felt that these practices violated her individual rights as a parent raised the issue. Additionally, more and more of those immigrants coming to America were from areas of the world where the predominate religion was not Christian.

Many of the traditions of our country were questioned as our culture changed for a variety of reasons, secular as well as religious. Some of those questions ultimately reached the courts.

The Constitutional issue of religion and government policy presented a dilemma not easily resolved. The Constitutional prohibition of establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof for many seemed in conflict. The sensitivities of many persons of faith resulted in culture wars that yet threaten the fulfillment of the dreams of those who wrote the Constitution and of those who came here seeking religious freedom in America. The Supreme Court more and more began to resolve the conflicts by drawing a line of separation between church and state.

Case law with regard to religion in public schools drew the line between teaching objectively about religion without teaching sectarian religion or granting special favors to students practicing a particular faith. Certainly one cannot teach literature, history, music, art, etc., without teaching about religion. A line was drawn between teaching about religion and teaching religion, between student-initiated, student-led prayer and official sectarian prayers initiated or led by teachers and/or school officials.

I believe those court decisions were in the best interest of fostering freedom of religion in America for all of its citizens, and they need to be respected by our School Board.

Richard F. Kauffman
Ocean View