Schools should treat tobacco like alcohol, drugs
Even though the Howard County school board has changed its smoking policy to suspend students and have them attend Saturday school the first time they are caught smoking and to expel them the third time they are caught smoking, they have done nothing to make it easier to catch students in the first place.
Under current policy, students have to be caught smoking a lighted cigarette to be charged with smoking on school grounds.
Tobacco and smoking should be included with the school's alcohol and drug policy. The first time students are caught using alcohol or drugs and/or in possession of them, they are suspended and have to attend a licensed addiction counseling class.
If tobacco and smoking were included in this policy, students would be suspended and made to attend a smoking cessation class the first time they are caught smoking or in possession of cigarettes.
Making it easier to charge students with smoking on school grounds would send the message that smoking is as unacceptable in school as drugs and alcohol.
Allow tax deductions for stop-smoking fees
There is a matter that can affect the lives of many Americans who have been smokers but have come to realize the danger of getting cancer. These smokers need to be encouraged to participate in programs that will help them to be able to stop smoking.
At the present time, the Internal Revenue Service does not allow any expenses of a "quit smoking" program to be considered as a medical deductible expense. This government policy is the exact opposite of our government's policy policy of not allowing minors to purchase tobacco products.
If the Internal Revenue Service was sensible, it would realize that it would not lose a single dollar by eliminating its present policy. Whatever fees are charged by the providers of no-smoking programs would be income they receive and would be required for them to pay for whatever taxes would be due on their profits.
Our government should do everything possible to help smokers save their lives. A cancer victim will no longer be a taxpayer if he is under ground.
'Severe' sentence for a vandal?
I was struck by the reaction of Geraldine Falk to the sentence imposed on her 23-year-old son after his conviction for vandalism. She was shocked by its "severity" (a mere 60 days in jail, with no fine, no payment or restitution, no community service).
She complained, "It's not like he raped somebody." She whined that "Columbia is supposed to be such a nice, friendly community, but I don't think that's true anymore."
Her reaction is astonishing, considering the thousands of dollars the community must spend to clean up graffiti.
Columbia is "nice" and "friendly" only to the extent that its citizens refrain from defacing public property. Graffiti destroy a community's sense of decency, its self-respect and well-being.
Elizabeth A. Fixsen
Evolutionists push God from equation
In her Aug. 6 commentary that appeared in The Sun, Barbara Yost made some unflattering comments about Christians who resist new evidence and modern science. She professes pity for those who "cling to scriptures as a textbook when contemporary theories fly in the face of beliefs 2,000 years old." She also seems to think that the faith of Bible-believing Christians is being shaken once again by the Mars exploration and other reent discoveries in science.
I'm not certain at whom Ms. Yost was directing her arrows. Although I do not call myself a fundamentalist, I'm a Bible-believing evangelical. The recent scientific explorations and discoveries do not disturb people like me one whit.
As for Darwin and his followers, the only thing that concerns many of us about their work is the frequent attempt to push God entirely out of the human equation. Most evolutionists have substituted blind chance -- "The Blind Watchmaker" -- for a creator; but if you study their mechanistic theories and the supporting evidence very carefully, you will find that the Darwinian edifice bears a striking resemblance to Swiss cheese.
This is not to deny evidence of evolution; it is only to deny many of the conclusions drawn from the evidence. For most evolutionists, evolutionary discoveries must fit into their belief in a purely mechanical development of species, including man. But for me and those who believe as I do, evolution can only be viewed as a superficial glimpse at the mechanics of God's creation.
Ms. Yost ended her column with a plea for enlightenment, and it reminded me of how the French erected their altar to reason at the same time they greased the guillotine. As the Bible says, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight."
Edwin S. Jordan
Pub Date: 8/17/97