Health care, faith and contraception | Feb. 8, commentaries
Faithful must follow teachings
Catholics cannot pick and choose what to believe or practice. We must follow the pope. Like most Catholic couples, we struggled with the issue of contraception. We decided to follow the pope. The result is three prolife Catholic physicians in the Tampa Bay Area: our sons.
Oral contraceptives, Depoprovera, Norplant, IUDs and the morning-after pill are all abortifacients. We own a pharmacy and do not sell any contraceptives.
It all comes to the point: Who is going to be in the driver's seat of your life? You or God?
Carmen M. Cartaya, Tampa
I am offended by Roy Peter Clark's attack on the Catholic Church. He is a perfect example of what are called "cafeteria Catholics." They choose what they want to believe and discard and/or protest what they don't.
The church has always taught that the use of any means of artificial contraception that renders procreation impossible is "intrinsically evil." Either one is Catholic or one is not; one either believes all that the church teaches or one cannot call himself Catholic.
Mary E. Blum, Largo
There are bigger issues
Bishop Robert Lynch has chosen to emulate the GOP. Whenever a question arises that the church doesn't have an answer to, it attacks abortion and gay marriage.
Is the bishop concerned about the symposium held last week in Rome about possible pedophiles in the priesthood? This is a subject the U.S. branch of the church seems to avoid.
Robert Spencer, Clearwater
A community organizer Feb. 5, Robyn Blumner column
This is a word of praise and appreciation to Robyn Blumner, whose articles I almost always read and mostly like but sometimes disagree with. I especially appreciated this one on Saul Alinsky because I had previously known virtually nothing about the man. It seemed that whenever I had heard his name invoked (which wasn't very often), it was always done with such vehement vituperation and disdain that I actually believed the man was a communist if not downright un-American.
What an eye-opener this column was to me, and I hope to a lot of other people who shared my ignorance. Moreover, the article was truly an inspiration that made me long for such a leader in our time.
Ralph N. Madison Jr., St. Petersburg
Proposal triggers power struggle | Feb. 6
I understand change is difficult. But this is the right thing to do. We must make hard choices that put our students first. The Parent Empowerment Act is part of that goal.
For Rita Solnet to indicate, as she did in your article, that Florida's parents aren't knowledgeable enough to make the right decisions, is insulting. She's also wrong about those who were in attendance when this bill went through the first committees. During the first week of session, several parents who supported this bill traveled to Tallahassee to personally testify on behalf of this important legislation. Through emails and phone calls, they demanded real improvement in our schools. Real parental involvement must play a part.
I support this act, because I want what is best for the children. If parents don't know what is going on, they can't get involved and make a difference.
Teachers and parents, Democrats and Republicans, administrators and community leaders — when we are on the same team, everyone wins.
Jodi Dastur, Tampa
Frayed safety net
Mitt Romney isn't concerned about the very poor because of our country's "safety net."
I'm a 64-year-old disabled woman. I don't consider myself to be very poor, but I can't make ends meet. I send so much money to pharmacies and doctors and Medicare that I have to get food at a food pantry. If that's the safety net Romney's referring to, maybe he can send me some money for the ride to the food pantry, because I can't afford that either.
This guy is so out of touch that he can't feel what's happening to us.
Frances Duke, Tampa
To Sen. Storms: Let them eat cake Feb. 8, Sue Carlton column
Benefits with conditions
While I am no fan of government injecting itself into the lives of the citizenry, I differ with Sue Carlton's thinking.
Food stamps are a benefit given under statute to those who qualify. Why shouldn't there be guidelines determining how those funds are spent?
The WIC (women, infants and children) program, which gives food assistance to pregnant women and young children, has very tight restrictions about how those funds are spent and I've never heard any criticism.
It's not about governing the lives of anyone but rather how well public resources are allocated.
Will Walton, St. Petersburg
Smokers light up to test bans | Feb. 8
Local officials know best
The American Lung Association is fighting for healthy air so everyone can breathe easier. We strongly support efforts to provide local governments the authority to regulate smoking for their own communities.
Currently, the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits local governments from passing ordinances that are stronger than the state law. But the act should set the minimum standard, not the ceiling. Because of an attorney general's opinion, local governments are hesitant to address protecting people from the hazards of secondhand smoke in outdoor areas.
Bills introduced this legislative session would expand local authority. We support these bills and encourage our legislators to do the same. Florida needs to do more in protecting our residents and visitors from the hazards of secondhand smoke. Give the authority back to the people who know their communities the best. Allow our local governments the power to regulate smoking.
Brenda Olsen, American Lung Association in Florida, Tallahassee
Behind a veil of transparency | Feb. 5
Bias on all sides
In the interest of fairness, have you never heard of George Soros throwing tons of money to leftist causes and his "unbiased" think tanks?
Al Goldman, Tampa