Destruction there and here | Letter, Aug. 17
What these statues stand for
Philip Thompson's letter is a perfect example of sophism: interpreting two similar actions with similar results as being equal in moral value. His example of the destruction of ancient religious statues in Afghanistan and Syria by Taliban and ISIS forces is not the same as removing monuments dedicated to leaders of the Southern War of Secession.
The Taliban and ISIS destroyed religious icons dedicated to an ongoing relationship with the divine. The Taliban and ISIS actions were an expression of bigotry and intolerance. The removal of monuments dedicated to Confederate generals and leaders is an attempt to stop honoring those who not only fought a war to preserve the enslavement of black Africans, they were guilty of treason against the United States of America.
The intent of the Taliban and ISIS is hardly the same as the intent of a number of cities who, facing the moral facts of history and America's long journey toward civil justice, want to cease honoring those men who participated in an immoral and unjust war in the name the right of Southern states to both perpetuate and spread the immoral and indefensible institution of chattel slavery.
Ronald Vierling, Odessa
Statue goal: done deal | Aug. 18
Doing the right thing
I want to thank the people here in Tampa Bay on both sides of this issue for swiftly voting with their wallets to compromise on this issue. They found a solution that recognizes the feelings of all concerned. I hope that all of the people in the bay area will do their part to allow the work to be done swiftly and in a peaceful spirit of cooperation. Let us be the best possible example for other cities facing the same issue.
Smith Sheila, San Antonio
St. Petersburg mayoral primary
Let Kriseman continue
St. Petersburg is undergoing its own challenges, but the city is showing signs of economic growth and stability. However, all citizens must have equal access to this prosperity, equal access to educational opportunities and equal access to a feeling of safety and security in every neighborhood.
Mayor Rick Kriseman has shown an ability to work with our City Council to get the city moving in an upward direction. Downtown St. Pete speaks for itself. Kriseman helped to implement the South St. Petersburg Community Development initiative, and I would like to see him continue this vision and to improve on it. I like the fact that he has endeavored and brought about initiatives and policies that will make St. Petersburg greener and hopefully stronger.
Maria Scruggs is the best candidate to represent District 6 on the City Council. She is passionate about the district and her experience that she will bring to the council is unmatched. She has experience on how to overcome the failures and build on the successes of Midtown initiatives, and she is well suited to handle the complexities of City Council responsibilities. Her aim to ensure revenue from Tropical Field redevelopment reaches Midtown is an effort that I think she can deliver on.
I would like to see Kriseman continue his work as the mayor of St. Petersburg and to continue to lead this city through the difficult times ahead — and to ensure that all residents feel a sense of belonging.
The Rev. G. Gregg Murray, St. Petersburg
The writer is pastor of Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church in St. Petersburg.
Trump rattles statue debate | Aug. 18
President Donald Trump's reaction to the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., confirmed that he would not repudiate the hate-spewing "alt-right." Why not? Because they are part of his base. Does this mean that Trump is a racist? Perhaps, but it seems to me that the word "Me-ist" is a better explanation. In spite if his wealth and TV success, he has a compulsive need for adulation, validation and loyalty. Anyone who is part of his adoring base is okay with him, and all who oppose him are scum to be ridiculed and attacked. It will always be about him, not others. He is a "Me-ist." The good news is that Trump is giving fragmented progressives common ground around which to organize to marginalize the haters, and forge a partnership for an America that is a true meritocracy that provides opportunity and basic rights for everyone.
Robert H. More, Riverview
Secular and proud of it | Letter, Aug. 13
Religious beliefs matter
The Constitution does not specify how church and state should be separated. Consider, though, that when religious speech is banned from the public square, including public schools, the message that the government delivers is far from neutral. It tells our children that agnosticism and atheism are the default social positions. Religion is tolerated, but not recognized as a basic human need. The viewpoint of the so-called God obsessed (and I am proudly one of them) is rejected as a form of idiosyncrasy.
Religious beliefs should and do inform every aspect of human life, including the political one. I support government-funded health care and education and job protection from the market vagaries, and I oppose capital punishment, warmongering, the NRA and abortion because my faith teaches most and foremost that every human life is sacred. My tax money should not support abortion nor should it support the cost of administering the death penalty.
The article that the letter writer begrudges illustrated very well how the decline of religiosity has been associated with a decline of civility, and this is the price of the secularism he supports.
Lodovico Balducci, Tampa
As he fulfills wishes, we all are touched | Fennelly column, Aug. 18
More Tebow stories
You've finally found a way to pique my interest in the sports section. I usually throw it aside, but how can I when there's been a story about Tim Tebow?
Donna Davis, Palm Harbor