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Nov. 15, 2007

Deacons Are Not Elected Officials And Don’t Represent My Best Interests – Writer Says

To the Editor:

Mr. Howell, I am writing this letter to inform you and the community that I am starting a new concerned citizens’ group. This new group is Yalobushans against Milk and Dairy, or YAMAD.

My daughter, along with countless other new babies and grownups around the world are allergic to dairy proteins, and it is just plain dangerous to have these substances around. What if when she is school age, not quite understanding what bad things could happen to her, she is tempted by other children who use dairy to do the same? I am worried about the safety of her future, and so I propose that we rid our community of milk, ice cream, cheese, sour cream, and all other dairy products, too numerous and perilous to mention (oh, the horrors of cottage cheese!).  Thank you all for your support in this matter. Let’s keep our kids (and lactose intolerant adults) safe!

That looks sort of silly now that it is actually on paper, so allow me to pontificate on the issue for a moment. Dairy is a major part of most people’s lives. It would be ridiculous to try to convince people that they shouldn’t have it, especially since only a few really have a problem with it.

I think what I should do instead of trying to get it banned through YAMAD is just be sensible about this problem that affects my daughter. I think I’ll start by being involved in her life, and teach her what she needs to know about her condition. Then, when she gets to school, I’ll inform the teachers that I expect them to help watch out for her, as well as help educate the other kids of the condition. If I am a good parent, and do my job, she’ll know and understand that just because some people can enjoy a nice, cold ice cream cone, it is a bad idea for her to, and that popsicles are just as refreshing. I’ll inform her friends’ parents of my wishes, and if they don’t like it, then we just won’t socialize with these offenders. I won’t, however, impose these sanctions on others who choose to have different diets.

Okay, thanks for letting me get that out. Now for the real issue at hand.

The appearance of the First Baptist deacons’ resolution against all alcohol in last week’s paper is something that I can’t stop thinking about. It has driven me nuts for the past week. I appreciate that the deacons of FBC want to look out for me and the rest of the community. I understand that they feel the community (and the world) would be a better place with no alcohol. I understand that if some of them don’t agree with the temperance and prohibition sentiment, it is important to keep up appearances and to go with the flow. That makes it a lot easier to live in such a small town, and I don’t blame them, but unfortunately, that is a lesson I can’t seem to learn.

My main problem with Dr. Bain and the deacons is that though they have been elected within their church, they are not my elected officials, and they don’t represent my best interest. They want to tell me that I can’t have something I want. Something that is legal. Something that if used in moderation and with thoughtfulness, instead of in excess and without concern, can be quite enjoyable and mostly harmless.

I know that alcohol can kill and cause pain and all that, but so do so many things that are common in our everyday lives that we still have a choice to purchase, consume, indulge in, etc. I’m talking about cigarettes, cheeseburgers, four wheelers, guns, cars, pesticides, chainsaws, etc. Almost anything that you use daily can kill if used improperly. If we took away everything that was dangerous or could be dangerous, what would be left? If the church is successful in attaining this goal to eradicate alcohol, what will be the next campaign against our personal freedom to choose how we live? Although sometimes it may not seem like it, the United States is a democracy, not a theocratic oligarchy. In short, get out and vote for what you believe, not what you may feel pressured to say you believe. Ostracism is not as bad as you might think; as a former bar owner, I know that first hand.

A few of the deacons were regular customers of mine, who chose not to indulge in alcoholic beverages even though I sold them. I think they enjoyed my food, because they kept coming back, and I did not pressure them to imbibe. I presented them with a choice, which they handled responsibly, and to their preference. I think that we as members of this community could be trusted to make good decisions as well.

In summation, I have three ideas. First, go vote for your right to indulge or not indulge. It doesn’t matter if you like beer or not, just preserve your freedoms.

Second, if beer is legalized, do your job as parents and grandparents and friends and what ever you are, and help the ones who don’t know and understand to do so. Help them not be users in excess, but rather quiet enjoyers if they choose to use. And that goes for fast food and all that as well. Obesity is a killer. So is fast driving. Give them the knowledge to be better people.

Third, keep your religious views to yourself, or in your church, or in your study groups. Be respectful of the right others have to differ from you. Baptists are different from Catholics, who are different from Jews, who are different from Muslims, who are different from Buddhists, and we all have the right to believe what we want to believe. I know that part of being a Christian is testifying your faith to others, but the Bible does not say force your beliefs on others, regardless of what they think. Historically, that only results in bigger problems.

Thank you for your time and thoughts,

John H. Tatum

205 Dupuy Street, WV


Can The Sale Of Beer Really Be Described As Progress?

Letter to Editor:

  I write to make a comment on the question of beer sales in Yalobusha County.

  There was a time in my life when I drank but not any more. In God’s Word the warning against the use of strong drink is clear. (Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-35). Not only excessive use but any use. The results of its use are never favorable and its excess use is condemned. It is never listed as part of a proper life style and it is only advised  in cases of illness and old age, when dying. In those cases it only hides the problem, never cures it. It is a moral issue as we exercise our civic responsibility.

  I hope that we vote against the selling of beer in Yalobusha County. It will give a moment of pause before taking that first drink to all of us, young and old. (Matt. 18:6). Maybe thinking, “why do they make me drive 20 miles to buy a beer,” will bring to mind some of the potential negative impacts of that first drink. Just maybe it will prevent something that will negatively impact a person’s life; and at so little cost. Anyone who wants a beer is only 20 minutes away from one. And I like Yalobusha County without the sale of beer. It is a pretty nice place to live. It is not all bad to be a community where beer is not sold. Any economic benefit of beer sales is more than off set by the cost of enforcement of beer sales. And I raise a question; can the sale of beer really be described as progress? Progress toward what end?

  I often need to adjust things in my life, to pause and see where I am and where I need to be. To realize and consider the impact that I am having on someone’s life and on my own life. I have found that a drink is not the answer for me, but prayer. Prayer is God’s prescribed “Attitude Adjuster”.

  /s/Bill McGoodwin

  211 Wood Street, WV


Intensity Of Opposition To Beer Questioned

Dear Editor,

I am a history teacher and mother of a one-year-old. I bought a home in Water Valley four years ago and have been delighted by what a kind and welcoming community this is.  I’ve been surprised, though, by the intensity of the opposition to the effort to legalize beer sales.  This seems like such a great opportunity for the town.  It would allow restaurants a better chance to thrive.  It would keep more local money in town.

I wonder if people are forgetting beer’s proud history.  The first description of hops was, after all, made by an Abbot.  The practice of brewing was largely perfected in monasteries, where the monks relied upon beer for a substantial proportion of their daily nutrients.  Martin Luther was known to greatly enjoy a beer or two, even offering the advice, “If you are tired and downhearted, take a drink; but this does not mean being a pig and doing nothing but gorging and swilling.”  Like Luther, I am certainly opposed to gorging and swilling, but it seems unreasonable to single out beer as the cause of alcohol abuse instead of harder liquors.


Theresa Levitt

Simmons Street, WV

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