Don't be fooled by claim on religion | John Romano column, Oct. 7
Keep church and state separated
John Romano's skepticism is well-placed. There are few amendments in this year's sorry excuse for a ballot that are as dangerous to our state as Amendment 8 .
The U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution protect citizens and churches from one another. It's been settled law in Florida for over 140 years. Why in the world would we change that?
Supporters claim that some church-based charities might not survive without public money. In the next breath, most of these partisans are the first to rail against the "takers." If a church and its supporters want to support a charitable activity, fine; let them finance it. But I don't want a penny of my taxes to go to anyone else's faith unless I make my own decision to support it.
The Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech. How then are tax dollars not full-throated support of some religious institution or another? Whose religious freedom will the Legislature encourage? Whose will get the shaft?
Vote no to giving your hard-earned money to someone else's church.
Robert P. Muhlhan, Palm Harbor
Feel free to ignore the debates Oct. 7, commentary
Debates reveal leaders
Stephen L. Carter states that "politics at its best is about ideas." Politics is also about leadership. The population wants a leader to inspire us and motivate us. We look for a politician who not only has ideas but displays leadership in his or her promotion of those ideas. We don't get that from the carefully crafted TV ads and automated phone calls. We do from live debates.
President Barack Obama certainly didn't get elected the first time because of his business acumen. Nor was it his years in political service. He was elected because he had new ideas and, in his first election debates, he displayed leadership in his promotion of those ideas.
What he displayed in the first debate of this election was a complete lack of confidence in his ideas. He was tentative and unsure. That is why Mitt Romney was considered to be the "winner." He was positive, confident and forceful in his manner. He displayed leadership. Obama simply didn't.
Jeff Tawney, St. Petersburg
In the midst of all the reports of voter suppression in several states, including my own, I am struck by the difference in the parties, at least in my experience.
I received a letter in the mail recently from Michelle Obama and expected a request for funds or at least my vote. Instead, it was a brief letter asking me if I had registered to vote, emphasizing how important it is to do so. A voter registration form was enclosed, along with instructions. There was no political pitch.
When I walked into an Obama headquarters recently to volunteer, I was put to work registering voters at a mall. "Only Democrats?" I asked. No, I was told, we register everyone. In these shrill, divisive times, I am very proud to be a member of the Democratic Party.
Eileen Flaxman, Wimauma
I think I finally get Mitt Romney's tax plan after watching the debate. He is going to eliminate loophole deductions that were enacted by Congress to reward certain classes of people and then he is going to provide a tax cut that offsets the deductions.
The result is no change and no additional income that could be used to pay down our debt. The only positive is simplification of the tax code. While this is a good thing, it doesn't fix the fiscal dilemma we find ourselves in.
Robert K. Powell, Spring Hill
To keep from going under, a mega move? Oct. 7
A test of leadership
It seems like a good idea to explore moving the cruise business to an area outside the opening of the Skyway Bridge, if our area wants to increase its share of that business.
Richard Wainio was correct to set the wheels in motion by ordering an economic study on the issue. On the face of it, the idea seems like a win-win for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Let's just hope the idea doesn't become a "stadium" issue, leaving the cruise business dying on the vine.
This area is full of great ideas, and many new business ideas have been spawned in the region. I can only hope our leaders can work together.
Todd J. Goodman, Tampa
Big Bang, evolution? From 'pit of hell' | Oct. 7
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun is a perfect example of why we must keep religion out of government. His remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are "lies straight from hell" meant to convince people that they do not need a personal savior are straight out of the Dark Ages.
He also believes that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I imagine he also still believes the world is flat. But the really scary part is that this man sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Why?
Bob Dalzell, St. Petersburg
Home is where the art is | Oct. 7
Documenting the times
Lane DeGregrory's story on Rick Lewis was terrific. Lewis is quite an artist and storyteller as demonstrated in the samples provided. His work is stylistically and technically creative, despite the limitations of his materials. Lewis' work would be a worthy project for an art museum to catalog, collect and exhibit. The work documents our life and times from his unique perspective.
Joe Weinzettle, Tarpon Springs