News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 22, 2014

READERS' FORUM: Feb. 23, 2014


---- — A specimen of bad policy

While our Indiana General Assembly captivates everyone’s attention by judging other people’s love life, they are nevertheless busy doing other things. Gov. Pence found another tax he wants to eliminate in the name of job creation. We’ve been doing this since 1980. Where are the jobs? Don’t businesses want decent roads, schools and amenities for their employees, too? Heck I can’t imagine why a business would choose Indiana over Guatemala. Their roads couldn’t be worse than ours.

My favorite new legislation would require drug testing for potential recipients of TANF and SNAP. Apparently, these people are out in throngs to abuse the system, so to make sure their kids don’t get food when mom or dad have dope in the house, we’ll spend our tax dollars to make sure that cannot ever happen.  

Let’s try not to notice that in states where this policy is already in force, the screening has caught somewhere around 2 percent of those screened, and many of those tests are in question because of all the legal items one can consume that show up as positive on the tests. So we'll spend thousands of dollars to catch practically nobody.

Well, I have a way to up the percentage of those busted. If we really want to make this law fair, let’s expand the drug testing to anybody who ever comes to Indiana taxpayers for anything.

You want to do business as a contractor? Leave a specimen. You want a tax incentive from our totally transparent and fully truthful Indiana Economic Development Corp.? Fill ’er up. Banks hold Indiana deposits, no? Maybe generate a little interest off the balance while they sit there? Bank presidents and their boards ought to get in line behind the mom with two kids whose husband hasn’t been heard from in two years.

Wouldn’t you love to see the governor’s economic team meet with high-ranking officials from a Japanese car company carrying a briefcase full of sample jars?

I’m serious. What is purported to be good policy for one class of citizens ought to be applied to us all. Otherwise, we are making law that places one group beneath another. As an American, nothing could offend me more.

— Peter Ciancone, Terre Haute

And up it goes

You really didn’t think that gas would stay below $3 for very long, did you?

— Mark Burns, Terre Haute

It is past time to talk about rape, sex assault

Warning! This letter may offend some people who do not understand women’s anatomy.

Enough! The Readers’ Forum contribution by Edward Kesler regarding the legitimacy of statistics related to rape and sexual assault in the nation and Indiana is a perfect example of why the report that Rep. Hale cites needs to be addressed.

Mr. Kesler used statistics related to rape and sexual assault of girls in Indiana to bolster an anti-liberal, anti-Obama agenda. Really? Do you know what rape is, Mr. Kesler? Perhaps you are unaware of what forcible penetration of the vagina actually is and what happens? What happens is delicate tissues tear or are ripped so that they must be sutured, deep and topical bruising happens, damage to internal organs happens. Some rape victims endure life-long physical damage.

Further, there is the psychological damage of being restrained, not being able to stop someone from forcibly inserting something into your body. Can you as a man even imagine a similar violation? Men and boys can be raped, too. Victims of rape have been physically and mentally violated, regardless of the circumstance. Women or girls who are raped do not enjoy sex. They do not have an orgasm, making it somehow worth it from their perspective.

Your reference to statistics that may include women/girls who have been drunk suggests that if they were drunk or otherwise incapacitated, it doesn’t constitute as rape in your mind. The law says otherwise. Further, there is no differentiation between single and married couples, Mr. Kesler, because marital rape is against the law in the state of Indiana. Because, it is rape if a woman does not want to have her bodied entered by anyone.

I will allow others to address the specificity of your argument regarding statistics. But let us imagine for a moment that you are right, and the statistics are actually 50 percent less (which is a pretty large margin). Indiana ranks second in incidents of rape and sexual assault before a girl even leaves high school. So let’s imagine, using your reasoning, that Indiana only ranks 5th, 10th, 25th. Does that mean we should not be completely up in arms about the violation of our girls in this state?

Your remarks only pay lip-service to this atrocity. Not spending unnecessary money should be more important to the citizens of Indiana is what appears to be the point of your letter. What information has not been collected? Girls and women do not report rape because of social attitudes that suggest that somehow it is their fault. Your letter, and its subtext (that spending any money to inform ourselves or pursue legislation, is a waste) is why they don’t report.

The number of assaults reported is drastically underreported. That we know. No one is tracking down these vicious offenders? Let’s look at the local Erika Case homicide. Witnesses claim the alleged killer made sexual advances toward her, which she refused. The alleged killer was in court twice for rape charges; one ended in a plea agreement after a mistrial (the jury could not reach a verdict); the other returned with a verdict of not guilty. But due to “budget constraints,” this murder case was not solved in a timely fashion.

Also, where is the outrage about the daily objectification, sexualization and commodification of girls and women in advertising? Objectification is when a person is treated like an object for consumption, without human rights as an individual. Repeated exposure to such objectifying images means that we barely notice objectification of women.

Female objectification is what made it seem OK, to Mr. Kesler, to talk about rape statistics as if they were stock-market commodities.

If we want to end rape and sexual assault, or reduce the outrageous numbers, we need to start by taking a closer look at the attitudes toward women and girls, and talk about what sexual assault is. I hope that you take a close look at the women and girls in your own life. One in six of them likely has been raped or sexually assaulted. They don’t talk about it because of attitudes like Mr. Kelser’s: That rape charges and statistics are frivolous, and that spending money on ending this statewide epidemic is wasteful.

It is time to talk about it.

— Ann Rider, Terre Haute

Religion is best spread peacefully

The Islamic concept of jihad narrated in the Holy Koran and Hadith is to enforce the religion of Islam on non-Muslims (called Kafirs in Arabic) in conversion or subjugation by force, and if these fail, to kill them.

Sadly, this is how Islam has spread through many countries over the past several centuries. In contrast to this, the Hindu and Buddhist religions and culture have spread through many countries without any force, purely by voluntary and peaceful means, as early as or even before Christ.

One can find several references to this fact in the long history of Hindu and Buddhist religion but suffice to quote one of them by His Excellency Hu Shih, who was the Chinese ambassador to the USA from 1938 to 1942, who enunciated that, “India conquered and dominated China culturally for twenty centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border. This cultural conquest was never imposed by India on her neighbors. It was all the result of voluntary searching, voluntary learning, voluntary pilgrimage and voluntary acceptance on the part of China.”

Such peaceful propagation of the Hindu and Buddhist thought without any imposition or use of force is still happening to this day as evidenced by the practice of yoga and meditation by millions of people in all walks of life and of all faiths around the world.

— Karanam S. Rao, Terre Haute

Fugitive thoughts on a winter day

Happiness is unobtainable. Happiness becomes obtainable when we realize that happiness is unobtainable. Now our expectations are realistic rather than unrealistic. We are then able to be satisfied with a degree of happiness and not dissatisfied because we are not completely happy. The completely happy image that is portrayed in the media has us all anticipating the invention of perpetual motion machines.

We are frustrated because we can’t ourselves invent amazing machines or conquer aliens like Capt. Kirk.

We are “just as happy as we can be” when we are as satisfied as human nature and nature allows. But we seldom realize this. We don’t expect a natural and normal level of happiness, so we grumble even during the best of times.

What will I find if I seek? What I see when I look is similarities. To understand math is to understand psychology, and to understand art is to understand science.

Awareness of similarities allows us to replace our fear of the unknown with the acceptance of the known as sufficient. With what we have we will enjoy as much as we can and not endeavor to understand all.

Health has to do with the interactions of chemicals, psyche, education, attitude, mental imagery and mental dialog. Businesses are families and vis-a-vis. The world’s history is similar to the history of a day. Each person (or thing) is; a business, a society,and a tiny contribution to a macro organization. Always there are beginnings and endings, and the maturation process.

See the banker avoid eye contact with the homeless woman he passes as he hurries to work. The decisions of his day are about investments, while hers will be about survival. A bag lady lives a life of challenge and victory and shame. She is as accomplished and as impressive as any politician or military figure, artist, scientist or athlete. Although as humans we cannot teach this, we can only learn this. The importance of all things is equal.

— Cliff McDaniel, Terre Haute

America taking steps backward

Ann Harbour, I sure enjoyed your letter. That first paragraph says it all. How can we talk about something that does not even exist? There is not much chance of eliminating immorality completely. However, I do not believe we should make it legal.

By making immorality legal, it does not change a thing. “Legal” is not a synonym for “moral.” Legal is defined by man, moral by God.

I talk to a lot of people who agree with you and me, but most are too scared to say so publicly. We threw God out of our schools and lives, organized gambling is one of our biggest industries (run by the government), and now they want to make homosexuality legal. What will be next?

I didn’t think I would ever say this, but the American people have made a lot of backward steps the last 50 years. We were a super power 50 years ago. Today we have become a third-rate nation.

— Joe DeLorme, Clay City

Being respectful, not anonymous

This is in reply to an anonymous letter I received at my home address. I don’t believe I used language in any of my letters that could or should be construed as “telling other people how they should think,” “telling other people they are wrong for not having the same religious beliefs that I have,” or as you so disgustingly put it in your little analogy, “shoving it down anyone’s throat.”

It has always been my intention to be respectful of others’ opinions, even if they disagree with me. I am sorry you chose to view it differently and did not have enough self-respect to sign your name.

I do not think you represent “they,” as you signed your letter. Most of the “theys” I know would not send anonymous letters with trash talk.

— Lois Little, Terre Haute

Kind help on a cold morning

On Saturday, Feb. 15, in the early morning hours when the temperature was 5 degrees, I was on my way home from work and my truck broke down on 25th and Fort Harrison.

Several people passed by with no concern, but then a brave woman driving a red Chevy Avalanche took a chance and let me warm up in her truck. My fiancé and I want to thank you — you saved my life.

This is random acts of kindness week, and you definitely deserve an award.

— Randy Strain and Kimberly Crumrin, Terre Haute

Let us throw another stone on the pile

A letter was printed on Feb. 2 that told of more than 300 pastors that have united themselves together against HJR-3, the same-sex marriage ban. This group of clergy has done just as Aaron did. They have disregarded the voice of God and made a golden calf in order to keep themselves popular with the people.

In order to be against HJR-3 you have to go against the word of God — Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” These “pastors” take two Bible truths: “God is love” and “Love thy neighbor” and use them for their own wicked devices. Both statements are true. God loves sinners, and we should love them, too.

However, God hates sin, and we should hate sin too. God never sacrifices his holiness and justice for the sake of love. His holiness finds a way to reconcile us to his love through faith, forgiveness and repentance of sin.  

God’s grace does not save us from sin to return to it. He frees us from sin to walk in newness of life with him. All liberty has limitations. America has more freedom than any other nation on the earth. We set limits on our liberty through our courts. Hoosiers need to put a limit on sin.  

Homosexuality is a sin against God. It is also a sin for those who profess to be God’s servants to stand against a direct command of God. Pastors against HJR-3 are building another Tower of Babel.

It has been said that HJR-3 is just another “stone on the pile” because we already have a state law. Let us continue to be a Christian nation by adding civil and constitutional laws that keep us under the blessing of God and not his judgment.

Let us throw the stone on the pile and build an altar and give our community all the protection we can from becoming an abomination to God.

— Dr. Doug Cassel, pastor Bethel Baptist Church, Linton