Shaw Blackmon and I grew up together. We were roommates at the University of Georgia. We have hunted, fished and played golf together for 25 years. I know him well. I know his character. And I know, without question, he will be an excellent state representative. As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I know Shaw supports the right to bear arms and will represent my belief in the Second Amendment when at the state Capitol. As a small business owner that is invested in my community, Robins Air Force Base, and the future of Houston County, Blackmon has walked the walk for decades.
He has served as an honorary commander at Robins Air Force Base and served as the chairman of 21st Century Partnership. Shaw served as the president of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce and we served together on the board of directors. Together we served on the Houston County Heritage Foundation and the Middle Georgia Technical College Foundation Board of Trustees. I know firsthand the passion Blackmon has for this community.
Blackmon will represent us honorably and will serve us, the people, for the right reasons. He believes in personal responsibility, individual liberties and Christian conservative values. I hope you’ll join me in voting on July 14 for my good friend, Shaw Blackmon.
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-- Dr. Michael S. Loden
Changing the procedure
The Supreme Court’s decision redefining the institution of civil marriage has no bearing on the Catholic Church’s sacramental system. Like baptism and Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. According to scripture, tradition and natural law, the sacrament of marriage is between one man and one woman for a lifetime for the procreation of children and the unity of the husband and wife in forming a Christian family.
What the Supreme Court’s decision unfortunately has accomplished is the further polarizing of the civil understanding of marriage from its religious meaning discovered in natural law. The Catholic Church requires that the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony be acknowledged by the state, thus we have cooperated with civil authorities to assure this through civil marriage licenses required for church weddings which the Catholic clergy sign after the ceremony.
With this very grave threat to religious liberty fomented by the Supreme Court’s recent edict and the possible interference of the judicial system into the life and sacramental practices of the Catholic Church, as acknowledged by the dissenting Supreme Court justices, it is my hope that our American bishops will propose that the clergy no longer act as an agent of the state in terms of signing the civil marriage license. A civil magistrate should sign for the purposes of assuring civil benefits to Catholics who then, after the license is signed by a civil magistrate, can have their civil marriage sacramentalized by the Catholic Church’s Nuptial Liturgy.
-- Father Allan J. McDonald
Pastor, St. Joseph Church
Scoop on Social Security
In a recent letter, Ronald Cain stated that Ronald Reagan created supply-side economics. He did not. Supply-side economics is an economic theory that holds that economic growth can best be created by lowering barriers for people to produce goods and services. These barriers consist primarily of high taxes and over-regulation by government. While the concept is still controversial for some reason, Ronald Reagan, with the help of a willing Congress, was able to reduce income taxes dramatically early in his first administration on both individuals and businesses, resulting in a decade of massive tax revenue increases and economic growth that has never been duplicated in modern times. I don’t have a clue where Cain got the idea that Reagan’s economic policies weren’t a smashing success, unless he watches MSNBC a lot.
Cain went on, following a convoluted trail of misstatements and half-truths, to try to somehow tie this into a Republican scheme to destroy Social Security. He said that Reagan persuaded Congress to approve a measure to use the Social Security money to fund military expenditures, tax breaks for the rich and other non-Social Security expenditures. Not true. He states that Republicans want to privatize Social Security. Not true. That proposal died on the vine several years ago.
There isn’t enough space here to print a comprehensive rebuttal to all of the other misstatements of fact in his letter, but I will close by pointing out that while there may be a Social Security Trust Fund surplus in existence on someone’s books, the Social Security system has just passed the point where payments will exceed FICA tax receipts. Something will have to change if Social Security is to continue in its current form and remain self-supporting. Several reasonable proposals have been shot down in recent years, proposals which are not drastic and are almost seamless. For instance, the cap on earnings can be gradually increased over several years. All this does is raise the annual income limit at which point the payroll tax is phased out. The full benefit retirement eligibility age increase can be extended. The initial retirement age qualification can be increased modestly and slowly. Just these changes could increase Social Security’s viability for several decades.
Not to change the subject, but wouldn’t it be nice if we had representatives in Congress and the White House who had the guts to make these changes? Do what is best for the country. And wouldn’t it be nice for letter writers to base their opinions on the truth and/or facts? In closing, I would invite all Telegraph readers to visit www.SSA.gov for the real scoop on Social Security. Lots of good information there.
-- Jerry Norris
14th Amendment expansion
In regard to the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, relative to “same-sex marriage” a constitutional amendment is potentially the only recourse available to reverse this court’s action. Even if the political party (Republican) in favor of continuing the ban against such marriage dominates all branches of the government, they would not have sufficient numbers to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision. Over 60 percent of the nation reportedly favor this initiative.
Like it or not, this ruling will be with us in perpetuity. I preferred that marriage remained a prerogative of the states, but feared that the Supreme Court would base its ruling on the 14th amendment as is its custom. My preference regarding this case had nothing to do with my moral or biblical perspective on this issue -- this had to do with states’ rights irrefutably granted by the Constitution.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution reminds me of Article 134 of the Military “Uniform Code of Military Justice” which covers any violation not covered by the other articles. The 14th Amendment, however, was never intended to be a “catch all clause” rather, it was adopted by Congress in response to systemic violations of blacks’ civil rights. Since its adoption, cases such as Roe v. Wade, Bush v. Gore and most recently, “Obergefell v. Hodges (the recent Supreme Court case regarding same-sex marriage) has exploited this amendment to successfully win their case.
I do not believe that the drafters of the 14th Amendment, ever envisioned it being used as a “catch all.” Providing equal protection of the law for black folks was the gist of such adoption -- not the right to abort a baby.
-- John Haugabrook
Wanted: New bricks
Peach County Board of Education has more than a plateful when it comes to providing (justifying) a $30 million institution of learning when the graduation rate for 2015 is a sterling 59.94 percent. To those not familiar with statistics, this means that of the freshman class that entered Peach County High four years ago, more than two of every five students did not graduate on time. Yet the place advertised itself as preparing students for college studies. Why? Give me a break.
I am sure that security is not the issue. Only Crawford County with a 42.25 percent graduation rate hit the bottom of the bucket. New athletic facilities for Peach? Sure. When the students show capability in reading, writing -- and best of all, arithmetic and can write a one page resume in readable script and maybe a book report once in a while.
Charter schools may be the answer. New bricks do not make brighter students, as Bibb County can prove.
-- Ken Brown