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January 13, 2010

Inbox — Jan. 13, 2010

Letters to the Editor

VA BS

The list of local censored stories in last week’s LEO should have included the dishonorable/unpatriotic effort by politicians to have the new $700 million VA hospital built downtown. On June 25, 2009, I told Metro Council: “Almost all vets want it built at the current, easily accessible location. At least 70 percent of hospital staff want it there ... (Sen. Mitch McConnell) is cozy with the powerful University of Louisville and obviously wants it downtown. It appears obedient VA bigshots are going along. I told the senator that Congress should be policing the VA, not using it. We vets are dealing with those who have a loaded deck. Greed is present! I’m hoping I can stir citizens to stand up for veterans as they stood up for us, and help get the new hospital erected at Zorn Avenue on land already owned by Uncle Sam.”

We vets are not the enemy. We didn’t return home to engage in war with politicians or our government.

Bob Moore, East End

Lovin’ Letters

Jonathan Baize’s Inbox letter, “Don’t Be Mean to Green” (LEO Weekly, Dec. 30), was one of the sharpest, smartest pieces of writing I’ve seen in a while. The final sentence was perfection. Plus, his writing told me stuff I didn’t already know. It made me laugh. And reconsider my views. That’s LEO at its best. You should ask Baize to write regularly for you — even though he called you glib, self-important, Facebook-updating, “three-adjective coffee drink(ers).”

Rachel Hurst, Old Louisville

Urge to Merge

In recent issues, the problem of Kentucky’s budget has been highlighted several times. I wonder if anyone has thought about our setup as a state. The county lines were drawn when horse and carriage was the vehicle of choice. With cars, telephones and the Internet, our state government could easily merge every three to five counties into one. This would eliminate duplicate services in each county, saving millions. It can be done, yet traditional thinking prevents many from even entertaining the idea.

Brian Rogers, Smoketown

Certain I Am Not

In the Dec. 9 LEO Weekly, Rabbi David Ariel-Joseph expressed a personal perception of eternal life we don’t hear in public often enough: “Most of the time, I believe that the soul doesn’t die when we die, (but) I’m not sure I know or anyone knows that (for certain).” Just before saying this, the rabbi had pointed out that religion is not science. Exactly.

For many of us, our religious faith supplements the hard facts proven by the methods of science. We’ve long since figured out that science cannot explain everything. Maybe it’s not even supposed to. Unitarian Universalist theologian James Luther Adams drew a memorable distinction between faith and science about 60 years ago. He saw faith as our understanding of things we cannot know based on scientific facts. Faith is an essential ingredient of human life, he reasoned. Our real-life experiences have shown us that we cannot make all of our decisions based on scientific facts alone. Even atheists have faith, Adams said. They have faith in their particular beliefs about the nature of the universe. For others, God is the object of faith.

Ask a scientist whether there is a God, and he or she will surely answer that science has found no evidence of God. This is indeed the scientifically correct answer. It’s derived from the positivist philosophy that holds that scientific knowledge can only come from positive affirmation by means of scientific experiments. That philosophy was originally developed in the 19th century by scientists who reasoned that science was gradually replacing theology and metaphysics. Among the fields of science, they saw a hierarchy of knowledge beginning with mathematics and progressing down to sociology.

Not long after that came a variety of scientific theories that contradicted strict positivism: evolution, relativity, uncertainty (in Quantum Physics), bifurcation in chemical reactions, self-organizing tendencies in the human brain (Gestalt psychology), and so on. Biologists began to discover that new characteristics emerge seemingly out of nothing as living things become more complicated; meanwhile, physicists were discovering randomness in the movements of quanta. It appears there is a good reason why positivist scientific experiments don’t always work. Nature is apparently alive and spontaneous.

Maybe Aristotle had it right more than 2,000 years ago: “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” There seems to be plenty for religion to deal with after all.

Tom Louderback, Highlands

Obama’s Power

I’m writing in response to two letters in the Dec. 23 Inbox section. In the first, Shane Shaughnessy says President Obama is “allowing two or three senators to completely derail health care reform.” In the second, Mark McKinley says Obama has “allowed himself to be rolled by small-minded Joe Lieberman.” I’m wondering just what powers these men think the president has? He’s the president, not the king or emperor or dictator. As president, he has no control over the proceedings of the Senate or House — that’s the way the Founding Fathers designed our government to keep too much power out of the hands of a single individual or group. Obama can make appeals and try to convince his party to follow his agenda, but at the end of the day, it’s out of his hands. I’m surprised people aren’t blaming him for the weather.

Paul Riley, Shively

Political Jesus

In a late December nationally syndicated op-ed piece, Cal Thomas questions whether Jesus was a socialist. I am not a theologian, Bible scholar or seminarian, but from what I’ve learned over the years about Jesus, I believe he smiles favorably on socialism. Thomas says Jesus came into the world primarily to save sinners. Jesus also came to show humankind how to love, do justice, wage peace and give us a glimpse of what God is like.

According to Scripture, Jesus spoke often about the dangers of accumulated, hoarded wealth. Jesus was a non-political community organizer during the prime years of his sojourn on Earth. He organized a band of followers whose mission as a corporate body was to usher in the kingdom by doing God’s will on Earth as it is done in heaven. I cannot prove it, but my heart and gut lead me to believe kingdom values involve spreading the wealth through community where the last shall be first.

I don’t believe Jesus is anti-government or anti-taxation. He would not be a tea party demonstrator carrying a sign saying, “Why should I pay for someone else’s health care?” It does take a caring village to raise a child. I do believe Jesus is anti-greed, anti-selfishness and would be supportive of effective government social programs that serve the common good. We, the people, are the government, and government is only as good as we are.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews

ANSWERS TO THE 2009 NOT-GOOD-FOR-NOTHING QUIZ

(LEO Weekly, Dec. 30):

1. D

2. D

3. A

4. B

5. G

6. E

7. F

8. C

9. A

10. C

11. C

12. A

13. A

14. A

15. A

16. C

17. C

18. A

19. A

20. D

21. C

22. D

23. G

24. E

25. F

26. C

27. A

28. B

29. D

30. C

31. C

32. C

33. B

34. D

35. D

36. C

37. C

38. No Question

39. C

40. B

41. D

42. E

43. A

44. C

45. D

46. C

47. B

48. B

49. A

50. C

51. C

52. C

53. B

54. B

55. B

56. C

57. C

58. C

59. E

60. F

61. D

62. C

63. A

64. B

65. E

66. C

67. C

CONGRATS TO THIS YEAR’S WINNERS:

1. John J. Guthrie, Highlands (63/66)

2. Chuck Clancy, East End (61/66)

3. John Spalding, Clifton (59/66)