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Issue Home August 26, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Your Library Thanks You

Dale’s and Rick’s annual golf tournament at the Golden Oak Golf Course, Windsor, NY raised $1,200 for the Hallstead–Great Bend Branch Library!

We want to thank everyone involved in either donating their time or door prizes. Also, a big thank you to the American Legion for donating the pavilion in Hallstead.

Sincerely,

Angie Wolfe, Library Director

PA Soldiers Called Upon

As we prepare to commemorate the second anniversary of September 11, the contribution of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division citizen soldiers has been enormous. Shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, citizens of the Commonwealth witnessed the largest mobilization of the 28th Infantry Division since the Korean Conflict.

Soldiers were called upon to secure the Commonwealth’s 15 major airports, five nuclear power plants, three major military installations, Air Force bases, ammunition supply points and depots within Pennsylvania.

A short time later, over 2,000 soldiers deployed to Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands as part of Operation Enduring Freedom to secure military installations and protect the families of America’s finest throughout Europe.

Our nation called on the 28th Division once again when 1,100 soldiers were mobilized and deployed to the war-torn country of Bosnia-Herzegovina as peace keepers and a force against terrorism in the region. This marked the first time the US contribution to the NATO-led mission was entirely National Guard and reserve forces commanded by Pennsylvania's Keystone Division.

Soon after, the 28th Division’s military police deployed to Saudi Arabia to secure the Rihyad International Airport as presence patrols were deployed throughout the Commonwealth in an effort to deter terrorist activity.

In July, 2003, the division deployed another 1,200 of our citizen soldiers to war-torn Kosovo. Proving our capability in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 28th Division is the first National Guard division to command the US-led sector of Kosovo supported predominantly by National Guard and reserve forces.

Today, there are over 1,800 of our neighbors, teachers, police officers, college students and professionals of all types, who usually serve in the 88 hometown National Guard armories, deployed and serving throughout our Commonwealth and the world.

I would like to thank the citizens of the Commonwealth, employers and our families for your continued support of these great men and women who serve for a greater cause – the security of our citizens and nation. Without your support we could not perform these missions.

The 28th Infantry Division will continue to answer the call during this and future periods of national and state emergency. It is important that the citizens of our Commonwealth know the contributions that their soldiers have made and will continue to make in the future. Pennsylvania can be and should be very proud of the 15,000 men and women who voluntarily don the battle dress uniform bearing the Keystone patch of the 28th Infantry Division.

Sincerely,

Walter F. Pudlowski

Major General

Commander, 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized)

Pennsylvania Army National Guard

Setting The Record Straight

Contrary to the claims of last week’s correspondent, it is not I who needs a history lesson.

For many years there has been a concerted effort by the Religious Right to shanghai the Founding Fathers, to present them as Fundamentalists who intended to create a "new Jerusalem." Nothing could be further from the truth; they were almost all Enlightenment rationalists of various stripes. I’d suggest that Ms. Schmidt and others seduced by such pernicious revisionism get their history from someone other that their ministers.

What they won’t tell you is that George Washington was a 33° Mason, head of his local chapter, who laid the cornerstone for the White House in full Masonic regalia. For political expedience he was a nominal member of an Episcopal (not Fundamentalist) church, but rarely attended services.

What they won’t tell you is that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, was not a Christian! The religious hardheads of the time – who did not establish our government – accused him of atheism, but he was actually something of a Deist (so his "Creator" is not yours). From his writings, it’s clear that he did not believe the Bible to be the Word of God, nor that Jesus was Divine. In fact, he cut up the New Testament, removing all the miracle stories, which he felt were absurd, and pasting it back together. It’s called "The Jefferson Bible," and it’s in the Library of Congress.

Likewise, the political ministers won’t tell you that Franklin was a professed Deist. They won’t point out that Adams was a Unitarian, who reject the doctrine of the Trinity and generally the Divinity of Jesus. And they certainly won’t recommend you read "Age of Reason," by that key Founding Father, Thomas Paine. (Well, I will. It’s available in the county library.)

To further address Ms. Schmidt’s points: she referred to three Supreme Court opinions. All of these were incidental musings called "dicta," that have absolutely no force of law. What she neglected to point out was the 1879 Reynolds decision, that decreed that Jefferson’s analogy of "a wall of separation between Church and State" can be taken as an authoritative statement of the intent of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. It’s this wall that Falwell, Robertson and that ilk deny was ever intended by the Founders!

I’d also like to point out that Washington’s statement about "the will of the majority" needs to be tempered by the reality of limited government and individual rights. The latter cannot be voted away, even by the will of the majority. That’s what "liberty and justice for all" is all about!

Again I say, acknowledge your God, but on your own property and on your own behalf. Do not ask the government to do it on behalf of us all, since as a whole we do not agree on matters theological. It does not diminish your religious freedom to abide by this restraint. But it does violate the Constitution to ignore it.

Sincerely,

Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

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