Canceling for this year

Dear Editor:
As Houstonians know, the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey to the Texas Gulf Coast was catastrophic. Kingwood, home to Golfers Against Cancer (GAC), was among the areas heavily affected. Countless families in this area, including several GAC board members, as well our supporters, suffered heavy damage to their homes and property from this storm. As with any crisis, it takes time to understand the depth and breadth of its effects. Over the span of the last few weeks, those of us in the Kingwood area have witnessed firsthand the misery and suffering placed upon the community and its residents. The GAC board toiled long and hard over the decision of what options to take. After painstaking discussions, it is with heavy hearts that the board of directors of GAC announces that it has canceled all of our customary November activities, including the dinner and the Sunday and Monday golf tournaments. This board continues to be steadfast in its dedication to the mission statement of eradicating cancer from our society. As the community heals, the GAC family is already making plans for a strong comeback in 2018. We remain resolute in our determination to fight cancer, and will continue to encourage donations directly to the cause at golfersagainstcancer.org. We also continue discussions with doctors regarding their research projects and hope to make additional distributions to them with the funds we do collect this year. We wish to thank all the sponsors and supporters who have stood by us in these trying times. We hope you will join us again in 2018 to continue our efforts to eliminate this dreaded disease.

Brian Clary
Golfers Against Cancer

 

Science and religion

Dear Editor:
Religious pedagogues teach their students to believe religious theory. Science teachers teach their students not to believe but to test scientific theories and to think logically. Such a test derives from the theory and initial conditions to an observable prediction. If that prediction is realized, then we conclude that the theory may be true; otherwise, we pronounce the theory false. Whenever possible, we should apply to religion science’s methods. That is, whenever possible, we should test religious claims. Three tests of the power of prayer are: First, James 5:15 says, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” That statement is not restricted to a particular person, time or place, so it applies to “every sick person.” Several ill children have died as their parents prayed for the child to get well; so James 5:15 is false. Ergo, the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy also is false. Second, surely many of the 6 million or so Jews who perished in Hitler’s concentration camps prayed for help. Prayer failed them! Third, a very religious married couple I know lives in Kingwood’s Fosters Mill village. Surely they prayed for Hurricane Harvey not to flood their property. Sadly, they got water 5 feet deep inside their home; their cars also flooded and were ruined. Prayer also failed them! Conclusion: Prayer is futile. As the James 5:15 case shows, blindly believing religious doctrine can have dire real-world consequences; so open your eyes, observe the world, and draw logical conclusions from those observations.

Bill Bailey
Kingwood

 

Here for the long haul

Dear Editor:
We have a long road ahead of us, but I want to remind you that Precinct 4 is here to serve you. We have come a long way, but the task before us remains enormous. Harvey’s record-setting floods impacted almost 11,000 homes in Precinct 4 alone!

It took us three weeks to complete the first pass after the Tax Day Flood last year. Right now, Precinct 4’s Road and Bridge crews, in conjunction with our contractors, removes about the same amount of volume in two days. We are well past the halfway mark of making the first pass of three. Take heart and be encouraged knowing your Precinct 4 team works tirelessly to remove storm debris and restore parks across the precinct. As we transition and resume normal operations, we’ll continue relying on the dedicated volunteers who’ve helped clear trails and remove trash from our green spaces to return them to their natural beauty. The camaraderie amongst neighbors in the aftermath of Harvey will never fade or be forgotten. I’m as proud as ever to serve as your commissioner.

Jack Cagle, Commissioner
Harris County Precinct 4

 

An act of pure evil

Dear Editor:
“It was an act of pure evil.” – President Trump
“But what caused the massacre in Las Vegas? What was the motive? The key right now is to determine the motive.” – CNN reporter
Six or seven decades ago, our wonderful country was considered to be a God-fearing nation. But we lost the moral restraint in the taking of human life, be it from a hotel in Las Vegas or from the womb of an expectant mother. The word of God tells us, “From the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil.” And as long as we as a nation continue to turn from the Lord God almighty, and give him little more than lip service at Christmas and Easter, we will continue to do that which he considers wicked and evil. We will continue to disregard his perfect moral law. We will ignore the 10 Commandments, make up our own gods, lie, cheat, steal, blaspheme the Lord’s holy name, commit adultery, encourage homosexuality, look at pornography, covet that which doesn’t belong to us, and of course, take human life. I wonder what the preachers of the land will do now? Will they return to teaching the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, or will they continue on the wide path of destruction? I sincerely hope that we as a nation will finally realize that God is holy, righteous and just, and it is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that there is power that can change the human heart so that men will depart from evil. But for the nation that turns from the Lord, “When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you...”

John Lister
Humble

 

FBI dropped the ball

Dear Editor:
The liberal Democrats and their supportive media are wringing their hands and asking what laws we should pass to prevent these types of crimes from being committed. Of course, their first idea is to ban weapons all the way up to abolishing our Second Amendment. We have a system in place that should have identified this problem if only it would have been used properly and the lives that were lost could have been saved. One more time, government agencies are not doing their jobs and not coordinating the information they are provided. The Las Vegas shooter bought 37 guns in multiple states during the last year. He filled out the paperwork for background checks on each of these purchases as per the existing law. Many of these guns were rapid-firing rifles along with several pistols. If the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system was properly set up, it should have set off an alarm when someone purchased this many assault rifles in such a short period of time in several different states. An investigation should have been put in place to find out if this person was an arms dealer or a possible terrorist. We have a terrorist task force that is active in the U.S.A., why were they not alerted on this? If the “system” worked as it should have, investigators would have surveilled this person when it was found he wasn’t an arms dealer and noticed the stockpile of weapons, ammunition and explosives he was gathering. This tragedy could have and should have been prevented! FBI clean up your act and do your job before the next terrorist strikes!

Sid B. Nice
Humble

 

Where is the money going?

Dear Editor:
Several weeks ago, I saw online a number of celebrities shown with the cars they drive and what those cars cost. Among them was Joel Osteen, shown with his Ferrari 458 “Italia” with a $200,000 plus cost. That struck me as unusual for a local preacher. The Houston Chronicle last year stated that Pastor Osteen takes in approximately $80,000 per weekend. I sent an e-mail to Osteen and two follow-ups seeking confirmation, but got no responses. On Sept. 25, I called Lakewood Church and asked for confirmation but was told such was not known, but I’d get my call returned with an answer. No call has been received. The Chronicle reported early last month that Osteen’s wife and co-pastor had launched her own line of cosmetics and had resigned her co-pastor ministry. Then I really got to thinking about all that revenue ($320,000 a month) at tax-exempt Lakewood Church and where all that money is going. Hmmm, it would be interesting to know.

Name withheld by request

 

Taxing on Harvey

Dear Editor:
What could be worse than having your home damaged by Hurricane Harvey? Getting a tax bill for the full pre-flood value of your home. That’s adding insult to injury. We have all heard that death and taxes are certain. Taxpayers can be certain that the 2017 property tax bill will arrive in your mailbox in the next 30 days. Those tax bills will reflect the appraised value of your home as of Jan. 1, 2017. And for those whose home were damaged that value will be assessed at the value before flooding, not after. That is wrong and it must be fixed. The Texas Property Tax Code allows taxing jurisdictions like the county, city and school district to have property reappraised following a disaster and an emergency declaration by the governor. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. No one could think it was fair to make a property owner pay taxes on the full, pre-disaster value of that property. No one could think it was right to force a property owner who is already struggling to recover from a disaster to pay taxes based upon what their home used to be worth – before it was damaged. No one. Now is the time for jurisdictions to step up and do the right thing. It is time to conduct disaster reappraisals on all properties that were flooded. Each and every taxing jurisdiction should contact HCAD and begin the reappraisal process immediately. Waiting until next year’s appraisals and tax bills will be too little, too late. I’ve called for disaster reappraisals before, and now I’m calling for them again. The people whose homes were flooded are my neighbors, people that I go to church with, and people that I have worked hard to represent over the last 12 years. So, to all taxing jurisdictions – disaster reappraisals are the right thing to do, and they should be done now.

Mike Sullivan
Former Harris County Tax
Assessor-Collector; Houston City Council Member