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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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Letters to the editor: Christians' teaching authority

Christians' teaching authority On Oct 28, Christians commemorate the 1700th anniversary of the Battle of Milvian Bridge and the birth of their religious freedom. In 312 A.D., Constantine marched on Rome seeking to succeed his father as the next Roman Emperor. En route he reported seeing a cross in the sky and the words, "In this you shall conquer." Constantine prevailed against a superior force that should have also enjoyed a significant tactical advantage. He attributed his victory to the intercession of the Christian God. A few months later, Emperor Constantine issued the "Edict of Milan" granting Christians the same religious liberties that pagans had always enjoyed in the Roman Empire. Never again would Christians practice their faith in the catacombs. Christians openly practiced their faith founding the first hospitals and orphanages to tend to the needy. These new Christian charities were never intended to exclusively serve the Christian faithful — there were not yet enough. Nor were they founded as calculated inducements to expand the faith. Charity was for fellow human beings, pagans and fellow Christians.
Christian charity was, and is, an act of unremitted love. Today American Christians face a new challenge. U.S. Health and Human Services policy accepts as "religious" only those organizations that primarily hire and serve members of their own faith. Only Christian institutions that restrict charity among themselves may request an exemption from the mandate to fund abortion services for their employees in the form of morning-after pills. Hiring doctors based on ability rather than creed disqualifies an institution as religious. Practicing unremitted love disqualifies an institution as religious. Christians remain divided over teaching authority, whether it is scripture and tradition, or scripture alone (sola scriptura ). Recently, HHS settled this argument in favor of the government alone (sola governmum ), deciding what constitutes a Christian charity and a Christian institution. Whatever our faiths, on Oct. 28 Christians need to unite in saying that Christianity's teaching authority is definitely not from HHS. Bill Cardenas Valrico It's not their fault Regarding Mitt Romney's comments about the 47 percent not paying any income tax: The 47 percent do not pay income tax because of a tax code they did not write. Romney should not blame those people, because Congress made the tax laws. The tax code that Romney laments is the same tax code that allows him to pay 15 percent on millions of dollars of capital gains while someone making $25,000 a year pays a bigger tax percentage than him. Further, 30 American corporations that made a total of $160 billion did not pay a dime in taxes the last three years because of the unfair tax code. I never heard Romney say he was going to stop corporate tax loopholes carved out by a politically corrupted Congress so those corporations have to pay their fair share. The average tax-paying American making $55,000 paid more in taxes than the 30 corporations combined. James Wisner Tampa Romney's job description Mitt Romney did not go far enough in his statement, "My job is not to worry about those people." Would he please rephrase that and include me and a big chunk of liberty-loving people? You see, I don't want him to worry about me. It's not his job to worry about me. That's my job. Romney's job, if elected, is to worry about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Leave me alone and let me be free to fail and succeed according to my own ability, wants, needs and desires. It's called liberty. It is not Romney's job to create jobs, either. The only jobs a president can create are government jobs. It is our job to create jobs. Get out of our way. Cut taxes, regulations and government and let the free market rip. Then go play a round of golf where I'm sure he and Barack Obama can reminisce about how big government used to be. Rick Mellum Seffner
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