Letters to the Editor

   Written by on April 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Senate bill takes America a step backwards

Over the past few weeks, many Americans have heard a great deal about Indiana’s Senate Bill 101. Also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), it was signed into law by Indiana’s Governor, Mike Pence. As a Christian, I value and cherish one of the founding principles in America, religious freedom; but the RFRA is a step backwards for us all.

In short, the law is designed to protect individuals and businesses from litigation that refuses to provide services that are deemed immoral to one’s religious beliefs. Opponents suggest that this law is a form of discrimination. For example, a baker under RFRA would be protected for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage, solely because of the baker’s religious beliefs.

There are two fundamental problems with this logic: 1) History has shown us that we as Americans often use religion as a mechanism to discriminate unjustly. Less than 50 years ago, many people used religion to deter and prohibit interracial marriages. Judge Leon M. Bazile, even stated, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” I’d argue that Judge Bazile’s sentiments are archaic and shared by very few today. However, laws such as RFRA allows individuals and businesses to deny services to interracial couples, simply because they do not believe that an interracial union “is Godly.” 2) I, Taikein Cooper, can have religious beliefs. I can have political ideologies. However, my business cannot. This was one of the underlying themes in the 2014 Hobby Lobby case (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby). Hobby Lobby thought it was unconstitutional for the Affordable Care Act to mandate that “it” provide some of the family planning provisions to employees. Hobby Lobby is a corporation. It is not an individual. It does not have religious beliefs. But the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.

Laws such as RFRA blend those lines of church and state even more, an act that is to the progress of America. It is 2015. The settlers came to America seeking religious freedom; we are founded on the principle of separating church and state. We are supposed to be moving forward, not backward.

Taikein M. Cooper

Farmville, Va.

Barksdale Cancer Foundation Thanks Public

The Barksdale Cancer Foundation would like to thank you for your support and for your sponsorship of our recent 31/Vera Bradley bingo. It was a tremendous success, netting our group over $6,000.

We would also like to thank all the players at our bingo-about 150-and a big thanks to our product sponsors, The Sleeping Bee of Farmville and Amy Spurlock, “31” independent consultant.

A huge debt is owed to businesses and individuals throughout the county who donated numerous raffle prizes for the event. There was truly “something for everyone” at the fundraiser.

The Barksdale Cancer Foundation has given out, since its inception in 1999, 176 grants in the amount of $104,250 to cancer patients in Charlotte County. In addition, the foundation will again this  year award a $1,000 scholarship to a county student who is pursuing a medical career, preferably in the field of oncology.

The foundation is also able to provide Ensure to its patients at a drastically reduced price and can help those who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments be fitted with a wig of their choosing, free of charge.

Several organizations in the county have joined in the battle against cancer by providing “care bags” which are delivered to our patients with their grants. The bags have proven to be very helpful to our patients, and they are quite grateful that their friends and neighbors care so much about them.

If you or a loved one needs any of the services of the Barksdale Cancer Foundation please call 434-735-8196 or 434-735-8540.

Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to help us with our mission of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” may do so by mailing a check to Terri Jones, Treasurer, Barksdale Cancer Foundation, 3676 Jeb Stuart Hwy., Red Oak, Va. 23964. Every penny received by the foundation is given to a cancer patient in Charlotte County…maybe even someone you know!

Again, thanks to all who helped to make our fundraiser such  a success. We could not do the work we do without the help of every one of you.

Wendy S. Lankford, President

Barksdale Cancer Foundation

Help For Cancer Patients Needed in Prince Edward County

This letter is in response to the recent news release in your paper about Longwood University’s “Relay for Life” team raising half a million dollars for the American Cancer Society since 2003…over $64,000 this year alone. That is an incredible fundraising feat and they are to be commended for their efforts on behalf of their community.

However, I have to wonder if those funds, or at least a part of them, could not be better utilized in Prince Edward County. Unlike the counties of Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Pittsylvania, Prince Edward has no grassroots organization to help support cancer patients within the county.

While the American Cancer Society does admirable work, there are no programs in place to assist those in the localities from which the monies are raised, and a lot of the counties raise upwards of $100,000 each year. Therefore you have people in those very counties, which are so generous to the ACS who cannot afford to drive to treatments for 30 days, or who cannot buy groceries, have money for their children for school, or pay their mortgages.

I feel compelled to bring this subject to light because just two weeks ago a lady called me for assistance. She had been given contact information for the Barksdale Cancer Foundation. This lady has lung cancer and depends on breathing assistance and therefore must have electricity. However, her electric service had been cut off because she could not pay her bill. The company would not reinstate her service despite a phone call from her MD, who begged the utility to reconnect her electricity and try to reach an agreement concerning payment. Her only son is unemployed and therefore unable to help her.

I had to tearfully tell this lady that our foundation could not assist her because she lives outside of Charlotte County…she lives in Prince Edward County. Worse than that, I had to tell her there is not an organization such as ours in her county. My most heartfelt desire is that someone will read this and will be moved enough  to organize a cancer group of some sort which can help these patients.

Perhaps someone will talk with Dr.  Maureen Walls-McKay, who is advisor to the student committee, which organizes the Longwood Relay for Life. She would probably be a valuable asset in helping to establish such an entity. Dr. Walls-McKay comments in the article that “the entire community comes out every year in a stunning display of support.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that support could be reciprocated by helping cancer patients within the county?

I certainly don’t want to have to tell another cancer patient that the only thing I can do is pray for him or her. I am happy to do so,  but I would love to be able to refer them to someone who could also give them financial assistance. Fighting cancer is hard enough without having to worry about your lights being disconnected or wondering where your next meal will come from.

Wendy S. Lankford, President

Barksdale Cancer Foundation

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