LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Criticism of Hubartt’s Ten Commandments column unfounded

On March 18 News-Sentinel editorial page, Roy Speckhardt responded to a column written by the former editor of The News-Sentinel, Kerry Hubartt, entitled “Ten Commandments still resonate.” The title of Speckhardt’s letter, “Ten Commandments not foundation for being a good citizen,” suggests that Hubartt’s editorial is less than accurate.

Actually, when I read Hubartt’s editorial, I thought it was right on target in regard to our national understanding of morals, ethics, and values. Speckhardt lists respect, reason, ethical understanding and compassion as values we all should embrace. Basically, I agree with him, but I would ask, “Where did those values come from?” It would not be difficult to trace their source as coming from the Ten Commandments.

Speckhardt’s list of values suggests he is a religious man, even when he denies it. He has “faith” in humanistic values, or the Ten Commitments, so they define his religion. He seems to believe they are more worthy of being used as the foundation of moral and ethical behavior for our nation than the Ten Commandments. If that is what he believes, then the issue is not which set of values does an individual like best, but rather what did the Founding Fathers expect our nation to follow as the guide for determining “right” from “wrong”.

Those Founding Fathers came from a variety of religious belief systems, but they all believed the Judeo-Christian foundation for proper behavior within our nation was found in the Bible and started with the Ten Commandments. That is obvious when you read their writings and note that the Ten Commandments, at the time of their administration, were publicly displayed in almost all public buildings, such as courthouses, court rooms and schools.

The Ten Commandments do not in any way violate our Constitution if you properly understand the First Amendment. That Amendment does not suggest that the United State is a secular nation with no agreed-upon foundation for morals, ethics or values. Rather, it states that we have no national religion. All religious belief systems are allowed to exist, even Speckhardt’s Humanist Association. But our Founding Fathers expected our laws to be based on Judeo-Christian morals, ethics, and values; thus the Ten Commandments still resonate, as Hubartt stated.

The Rev. Allen J. Schlatter

Fort Wayne

Banks overlooks Trump’s missteps

In the News-Sentinel section on March 14 there was a long editorial contribution by our erstwhile Congressman Jim Banks. In it he goes to great lengths to compare China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic with the Soviet Union’s handling of the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, calling it another “communist bureaucratic failure.”

I find it interesting that he is so concerned with what the Chinese government did and didn’t do, but not a peep about what the Trump administration did or didn’t do. It seems our most immediate concern is what is happening right now in the U.S. Of course our abjectly sycophantic congressman wouldn’t for a moment say a word that would question Trump’s handling of the coronavirus spread here.

So let’s take just one quote from his piece and look at its relevance to what has happened here. “China let the virus spread unchecked for weeks. Systematic efforts to downplay its threat eliminated the possibility that we could contain the virus and instead we only can hope to mitigate it.” Does any of that sound familiar?

Four weeks ago when there were 15 reported cases of the virus, Trump stood in front of cameras and said that in a few days it would be less than 10 and a few days later it would be gone. There was nothing to be concerned about; it’s less threatening than the flu. When CDC officials raised an alarm, again Trump and his staff downplayed the importance of the virus. Now four weeks after that first uninformed comment, the president has been forced to declare a state of emergency. In the interim, nothing was done to get a hold of the problem and we find ourselves woefully underprepared with test kits that would help determine the exact scale of infection we are facing, not to mention ramping up the medical infrastructure that will be needed to treat those affected.

So, quoting Banks in reference to China, “Systematic efforts to downplay its (the virus’s) threat eliminated the possibility that we could contain the virus and instead we only can hope to mitigate it.” That is precisely where the dithering of Trump and his cohorts has placed this country. It seems to me that Banks should not be wrapped up in making pronouncements about the culpability of China, but rather should direct his attention to the inadequacies of our government’s response.

David Oberstar

Fort Wayne


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