Part of the freedoms sought when our society began in America was that of religion. It is a constitutional right and the subject of the 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. Many of our founders came from unconscionable suppression of religious rights by a coalition of government and a particular religion. Following this philosophy it was determined that taxing a religion violated freedom of religion because “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” McCulloch v. Maryland 17 U.S. 327 (1819). The problem with the movement in Washington to allow religious organizations to participate in politics allows an organization to use tax-free money to compete with other citizens using money that was subject to tax. This is clearly unfair and a violation of the separation of church and state.

Blake Bailey Tyler


I see that in response to sexual misconduct of some members, the U.S. House of Representatives is now to have yearly “anti-harassment training.” Since that is a subject that most people learned in elementary school, maybe they should also have at least yearly training in government, decorum, economics, U.S. history, general ethics and morality, and perhaps a little on basic mathematics.

John S. “Jack” Gibson Hideaway


“Politically correct” terms are designed to give a different or softer view about certain people or circumstances. They very often defy common sense. On Friday, Dec. 1, David Muir, anchor for ABC news, reported on the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. Mr. Muir referred to Zarate as an “undocumented immigrant” rather than “illegal immigrant.” In the case of Zarate the title “undocumented immigrant” used by Mr. Muir was totally untrue and in my opinion designed to mislead Mr. Muir’s audience. The absolute truth is that prior to the murder of Kate Steinle, Zarate was thoroughly documented through the United States immigration system and California legal system due to his previous deportations and seven felony convictions. The proper term for Zarate or any other foreign criminal in the United States is “illegal immigrant criminal.”

Bill Folmar Mineola


As a member of the federal community who served our country for years, I am concerned with an attempt to force current U.S. Postal Service retirees onto Medicare Part B, after they previously declined this coverage. While hailed as a way to improve USPS’ finances, this is nothing more than balancing the books on the backs of seniors.

Why should retirees, who spent their careers serving this nation, be forced to pay an additional $134 per month, or more, for health coverage they previously deemed unnecessary? Mandatory Medicare Part B coverage was never part of the agreement made upon employment, and it should not be forced on any postal retiree, especially retroactively.

Congress is currently attempting to fix the Postal Service’s problems by shifting costs to Medicare. I urge our legislators to reject any year-end deal that includes the current postal reform bill, H.R. 756. Retired postal workers proudly served our community and promises to them should be kept.

Marshall L. Richards Hallsville


The prevailing criticism of President Trump’s travel ban is that it discriminates against Muslims. How is this so? Only a handful of countries are affected. In contrast, there a roughly a billion Muslims spread out over the globe, living in every country with the possible exception of Iceland. It should therefore be obvious that the vast majority of Muslims are unaffected by the ban. Any Muslim from Argentina to Zimbabwe is still free to immigrate to the United States. How is this discriminatory?

Tracy Figueira Tyler


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