News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 7, 2013

Readers' Forum: April 7, 2013

Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Hateful letter

attacked Islam

I am a big fan of the Trib-Star, having been a subscriber ever since I arrived in Terre Haute 12 years ago, but I am deeply troubled by the decision to allow the publication of the hate letter written by Ramachandra B. Abbyankar. He quotes extensively an anti-Islam website that, under the guise of opposing Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism, ends up denigrating Islam itself (Thursday, April 4, 2013), even calling for the eradication of Islam.

It also contains numerous defaming comments about the religion that I will not repeat since I do not want to give the insensitive and dangerous content of this letter any more play in the community than it already has had. The fact that the quoted website is supposedly from former Muslims makes it no less incendiary or more worthy of being published.

I am not a Muslim but I am proud to say that I have been blessed with good friends who are devout Muslims, who are proud to be American, who are law-abiding, who want to raise their children in peace and who want peace and security for all their fellow Americans. I am happy to live in a city and work at a university where people of all faiths can feel welcome.

Above and beyond making serious devout Muslims feel unwelcome, this letter contributes to an atmosphere of intolerance, bias and hate, which can all-too-easily lead to hate crimes by narrow-minded individuals who want an excuse to intimidate and even hurt people who aren’t like them (I hope we can all remember the horrific hate crimes against loyal American Muslims after the 9/11 attacks and which, sadly, have not stopped).

I am all for free speech, but not when it seriously undermines the welcoming, tolerant and respectful community we pride ourselves in being and potentially threatens the safety and security of our Muslim visitors, friends and neighbors.  

— Dr. Arthur Feinsod

Professor of Theater

University Honors Program

Faculty Advisor to the

ISU Interfaith Fellowship

Indiana State University

Bucshon just

trying to scare


Once again, Dr. Larry Bucshon, the 8th District’s congressman, takes aim at the Affordable Care Act and continues to scare people rather than educate and encourage refinements. He is committed to a delivery model that is subject to financial conflicts of interests. He and many of his colleagues are doing what they can to impede needed reforms in a medical delivery system that is too costly and inaccessible for many, and yet ranks below its industrialized peers.  

Medical care, like education should not be considered to be competitive businesses. They are subject to conflicts of interest that contribute to spiraling costs, including abusive bonuses in incentive programs. Often competition ends up being in the form of one-upmanship, which inflates costs, e.g., new facilities with gold-plated fixtures, over-building in targeted areas, silverware and china in selected suites of a hospital, newest high-cost medical devices in close proximity within the same town. The bonus structure, which adds obscene amounts of money throughout the industry for executives guarantees increases.

Up front, I emphasize that my experience with doctors has been excellent. I feel they have been concerned, professional, and highly competent, comparable to my experiences in Germany and the Netherlands. Our system squeezes them financially and favors administrators and medical companies.  

As reported on “60 Minutes”, the fee-for-service model is problematic and probably needs some reconfiguration, e.g., Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic. There are many adjustments, however, needed to handle the predicted strain on the delivery system. Rather than running around like Chicken Little and screaming “appeal” while refusing to play in the sandbox, there should be focused efforts toward a smooth transition and changes in prevention and delivery.

Dr. Bucshon suggests a few changes (e.g., tort reform) that have been long-term favorites of opponents to the Act, but not generally recognized as the truly significant factors contributing to costs. He suggests that the proposed act is a “near government takeover,” cuts $716 billion from Medicare, places obstacles to access, and will result in a loss of 7,000 jobs. Estimates, which vary widely, are politically biased. So much of the uncertainty comes about from the unstable political and economic climate generated by opponents of this act.

The act provides support for those unable to afford the premiums, and assures security in that the insurance is portable and follows the person, an economic plus. Although a single-payer system would be more effective for cost containment, Obama tried to learn from problems introducing the Clinton plan and considered Republican ideas in the creation of the act. He attempted to adjust rather than upset the business structure already in place (private insurers and fines for those who refuse to share cost factors through plan participation). A patchwork of state plans would only add to fragmentation and complexity.

Currently, more people are living because of improved rescue techniques and medicines. Even people earning good wages live in fear of the huge medical bill that will make them bankrupt and homeless. The epidemic growth of unhealthy diets and lack of exercise in the U.S., coupled with the possibility for legislation to cut back on health and safety regulations, will place even greater strains on the system.

In addition to intelligent choices regarding environment and health, we need to create a seamless network of professionals that includes more general practitioners, physician assistants, health consultants and health exercise trainers working through coordinated plans focused on prevention as well as treatment. This act may be the right vehicle at the right time.

— Raymond Quist

Terre Haute

Religious debate

seems pointless

Ms. Ann Carlislie, in her letter published on March 22, rudely replied to Mr. Kesler, who wrote:

“Every culture is not equal in value, nor is every religion.” And she replied that they are. If Ann was my daughter, I would ask her to be polite and not to try to “Teach the old dog new tricks,” as education she is proud of, should make her humble.

I do not know what is taught as cultural anthropology in the universities but I know that the universities failed miserably to deliver true education. And if they did, we would have a world of peace and not one with wars, murders and persecution of the weak and the women in the name of religion.

Nobody, and universities in particular, seems to know the story of the human race and how it progressed from the stone to the computer age. And what is culture? Is it building empires with mansions like Taj Mahal or is it love and kindness for others? Anyone who ever talked about humanity, love and kindness was given hemlock or put on a cross.

I find no culture in human history. And the religions organized in the name of God were nothing but instruments to kill and torture others. The Christians use the name of Lord Jesus but many of them killed others in the millions and our history is filled with this barbarity. The touch of a low caste will defile an upper caste Hindu and a Brahmin would not allow any low caste to enter into the temple, the house of God. In the name of religion they burned the widows, living human beings with the bodies of their dead husbands.

What was the Egyptian civilization? The Pharaoh, considered as the god, owned everything and no mortal was qualified to marry the daughter of this god, except his own son. So the pharaohs married their sisters and that was Egyptian civilization. To go back to heaven after death, the pharaoh had to have an intact body, so they mummified the bodies of the pharaohs and to protect them, built the pyramids, wasting money and manpower, when the people had no place to sleep. The Romans built some buildings and aqueducts, but the Romans were most inhuman and enjoyed the killings of the gladiators and hanging of a criminal. And where was any culture or civilization?

But still these religions, except Islam, did not say that killing a man of other religions to take his wealth and molest his wives is a holy act blessed by the Muslim God Allah. And the killer would be rewarded in heaven with the virility of a hundred men to enjoy 72 virgins.

Yes, there is no culture or religion worthy to be named after God and naturally they are not even culture or religion to be compared for value. There should be only one religion of humanity and a culture with kindness, love and forgiveness as preached by Lord Jesus.

But how many really followed the Lord’s advice in the last 2,000 years? So this debate is pointless.

— Anil K. Sarkar, M.D.

Terre Haute

Despite those guns,

rights being eroded

The big debate over gun control is a hot topic nationally, and locally and I’ve stayed out of that battle up until now. But simply stated, there should be background checks so felons and those mentally impaired don’t have guns. Also assault weapons with 30-round clips should be confined to the military.

I don’t want to get into a verbal confrontation with the gun worshipers (no disrespect intended) about their Second Amendment rights. Or if the Second Amendment specifically guarantees all individuals the right to own a gun.

I also don’t believe that Wayne L., the president of the NRA, and the members of Congress, or both sides, give the proverbial two hoots in hell about your right to own a gun. Their sole interest is the money they receive for their support.

At the same time, the good ol’ boys nationwide are vehemently defending their rights to own a gun, while some of their equally important rights that guarantee our Democracy are systematically being abolished. But there’s been no nationwide backlash from the people who are losing those rights.

The 1964 Voting Rights Act that guarantees all American citizens the right to vote is constantly being chipped away at. There has been a concentrated effort to hamper and deny a certain sector of society the right to vote. This along with a plan to manipulate the Electoral College is some states, is solely designed to give one political party a guaranteed advantage.

The right-to-work laws are designed to deny people the right to assemble, form unions, maintain collective bargain agreements and hold employers accountable. This was done to minimize union members and the campaign donations they made to the party that supported them. Just for the record, there isn’t any record of businesses clamoring to states that have right-to-work laws.

While some lawful rights are under attack, there is a group of millionaires/billionaires who are claiming rights not given by law, but given by wealth.

Under the patriotic name of the Tea Party, they have used their wealth and power to take control of one of four major political parties.

Under the fear of expulsion and political ruin from their party, members of the House and Senate have used the threat of economic ruin of government shutdown to extort certain concessions from the other party. This has resulted in America being placed in limbo.

While some countries are investing in their country and their people by rebuilding their infrastructure and new technology, America is free-falling. There is a movement to hamper the government called austerity, that has proven disastrous in other countries.

Now I’ll come to the point I’ve been leading up to. While the right to bear arms is and should be receiving strong support, our democracy is slowly and surely being eroded and it’s all being done without one shot being fired.

— Ron Hastings


Major step

for designer

MedModa is an international fashion event to be held in Italy later this month. Only 11 designers have been selected to show their work, and Parisa Keywanfard, owner of Parisa’s Collection here in Terre Haute, was one of the 11.

Only one other fashion designer was chosen from the United States, and she, too, is from Indiana, ”proving once again there is more than corn in Indiana.”

Good luck, Parisa.

— Char Minnette

Terre Haute

Expanding Medicaid

right course

for Indiana

Each day more than 800,000 Hoosiers under the age of 65 wake up without health insurance coverage. Many of them live without treatment until their condition becomes more severe and more costly to diagnose and cure. Too often when they do seek treatment, it is in the most expensive way – the hospital emergency room. Hoosier businesses and individuals pay higher health insurance bills to cover costs shifted from the uninsured, and we all pay more in taxes to support local and state public health programs.

As leaders in our faith traditions, we are called to reach out to the poor and society’s marginalized. As a society, we believe we are all responsible for the under-advantaged, literally widows and orphans, and people who are disabled or do not make enough income to provide for the health-care needs of themselves and their families. We are leaders of the faith community that believe all are equal in the sight of God.

We believe that Medicaid expansion will help all of us by providing health care to lower-income workers and the marginalized among us, if the Indiana General Assembly chooses to approve legislation and the governor is willing to sign it into law.

We are concerned about the General Assembly’s current plan to expand health-care coverage through the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). Today HIP meets the needs of less than 40,000 low-income Hoosiers while over twice as many applicants remain on a waiting list. We raise concern about whether HIP can be expanded to cover up to 450,000 Hoosiers who would otherwise qualify for coverage under Medicaid expansion. We also are concerned about the real risk that the federal government will reject this approach since it includes up-front contributions and caps on coverage not required anywhere else in the county.

The availability of billions in new federal dollars for Indiana provides the General Assembly with a unique opportunity this session to expand our Medicaid program as provided for in the federal Affordable Care Act. We believe Gov. Pence needs to support this approach — an approach that guarantees without limitation comprehensive, affordable coverage to low-income, mostly working Hoosiers who need a helping hand. If Hoosier lawmakers don’t take advantage of the opportunity to expand Medicaid, the billions in federal dollars available to Indiana — tax dollars paid by us all — will go to other states that are moving forward with Medicaid expansion.

As leaders of faith communities in Indiana, we affirm the following values as they pertain to health care:

• Health care, including mental health care, should be available to all citizens in the United States;

• Access to health care should be continuous;

• Health care should be affordable for individuals, families and businesses;

• National and state health care policy should be affordable and sustainable for society;

• Health care should enhance health and well-being by promoting access to high-quality care that is effective, efficient, safe, timely, patient-centered and equitable; and

• Health care providers should not be expected to assume a disproportionate share of the cost of providing care.

In addition to the moral basis for expanding Medicaid, expansion makes financial sense. With expansion, studies indicate that between $14 and $26 billion in additional federal funds will flow into Indiana between now and 2020. These dollars would strengthen Indiana’s economy, specifically supporting our hospital and health systems, the hundreds of thousands of people they employ and the tens of thousands of new jobs they would create.

We believe that the Medicaid Expansion provided for in the ACA is fiscally responsible and consistent with our values, our principles and the historic commitment across our multiple faith groups. We therefore offer our support by asking Gov. Pence and our legislators to expand Medicaid as called for in the Affordable Care Act during this current session of the General Assembly.

— Bishop Michael J. Coyner

The United Methodist Church

— Bishop Catherine Waynick

Diocese of Indianapolis

The Episcopal Church

— Bishop Bill Gafkjen


Synod of the

Evangelical Lutheran

Church in America

— The Rev. Richard Spleth

Indiana Regional Minister

Christian Church

(Disciples of Christ)