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We must continue to strongly enforce separation of church & state

To The Daily Sun,

Some writers to this newspaper in recent weeks have been using various forms of Christian beliefs to demonstrate the basis of their thoughts. In this country, certainly one has a right to these thoughts and, yes, they can be respected. While many of our Founding Fathers did have a Judeo-Christian background, most of them also strongly encouraged the separation of religion and the government. As CNN points out, "The Founding Fathers lived in a world that was fundamentally different from our own. It was a world in which there was one largely only one religious game in town, Christianity." (7/3/2015)

This now brings us to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence. In contrast to many writers to this paper, two things must be made clear. The words "God" and "Christian/Jesus Christ" are not in these documents, nor are there any references to the same. It is quite clear that the Founding Fathers' purpose was to protect the rights of all religious groups and beliefs which is specified and protected in the First Amendment, the freedom to worship as one chooses. The closest reference to a supreme being are the words reflected, "Endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights." Therefore when writers claim that the Christian faith is the basis of our country's development, is not true at all.

CNN did an excellent job to summarize Thomas Jefferson's thoughts. "Jefferson explained his support for religious freedom in practical terms: "it does me no injury for my neighbor to believe in 20 gods or no gods. It neither picks my pocket or breaks my leg." This then provides protection to those who are atheists, Jewish, Muslim, Quakers, Buddhists, and so forth to ensure their safety in their places of worship as well as their families. This protection must be maintained to ensure our history continues as defined by the Constitution. Whether one has any religion or not, does not impact on the overall common good of the human race. Religion must remain separate from the government.

One can appreciate these writers' expression. Their viewpoints are also a given protected right also under the First Amendment, under the Freedom of Speech clause. These thoughts offered may have a different personal basis of their own, and it is within their rights to express these. They are enriching to help us gain a better appreciate the concepts within the U.S. Constitution. As such, while different in thought, these writers might want to research this article in CNN on July 3, 2015. Hopefully these writers might have an open mind as they read the article.

It is critical to note, as CNN points out, "Meanwhile, in the text of the Constitution, religion was deliberately kept at arm's length from the state. In radical departures from the era's norms, there would be no religious tests for federal officeholders, no establishment of any national religion and no congressional interference with individual citizen's free exercise of their own faith. This was no accident. Despite their respect for religion and their belief in the divine origins of human rights, many of the Founding Fathers worried that religion would corrupt the state and, conversely, that the state would corrupt religion."

Given the reported corruptions within religions in the past, it is quite apparent even today, such fears could potentially be realized again. We must continue to strongly enforce the separation of state and religion today. The Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 further stressed this point. Created by the signers of the U.S. Constitution (per CNN): "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

One of the purposes of the Founding Fathers in creating both the Declaration of Independence as well as the U.S. Constitution was a hope for tolerance for all peoples regardless of their faiths. Future authors in subsequent amendments also sought this same tolerance for all races, creeds, and now the recent Supreme Court ruling granting same sex marriage is constitutional.

The cause to promote the welfare for the common good as well as tolerance is strongly protected. This actually makes sense. If your neighbors are a gay couple, of a non-Christian faith, what they enjoy in the privacy of their own lives does not impact on your own welfare and safety.

The conservation of our rights to the pursuit of happiness, life, liberty, and property are clearly defined. The protection of these rights is the purpose of our government. These protections include taking care that religious institutions and beliefs are respected. So in a sense, tolerance is mandated by our Constitution, not the contrary. It is the law of the land.

Even as this is typed today, the U.S. remains the only country in the world that more people want to come here than leave it. The Constitution is designed to protect all people regardless of their faiths, their communities, race, sexual preferences. Even in this invasive time of high tech industry, this Constitution is powerful and appropriate to all our needs today. We need to continue to encourage this to make us a better and stronger nation.

All of our blood is red.

Robert T. Joseph, Jr.
New Hampton

Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2015 08:22

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New Horizons Band concerts are free; musicians welcome to join

To The Daily Sun,

I'm wearing my "Clarinet Karen" hat today, and on behalf of the New Horizons Band of the Lakes Region and conductor Mary Divers, I'm writing to thank Vint Choiniere, Russell Weeks, and the Meredith Parks and Rec Department for inviting the band to once again play the pre-fireworks concert in Hesky Park this year. The kids were dancing, the people clapping, and the musicians had a lot of fun playing wonderful pieces for a great crowd.

The band will continue summer concerts in Gilford on July 21, Sanbornton on July 25, Bristol on Aug.t 20, Center Harbor on Aug. 22, and a possible Laconia date on Sept. 1. Performing year-round, the holiday concerts will begin in November and December at the Veterans Home, the Belknap County Home, the Taylor Community and other locations around the Lakes Region. In the spring there are exchange concerts with several other New Horizons bands across the state.

Our concerts are always free to the public and the band welcomes musicians of all skill levels. New Horizons bands have been created around the world for those musicians who are over 50, with the slogan "Making Music for Life." However, the New Horizons Band of the Lakes Region welcomes musicians of many ages. Practices are on Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m. and/or Saturday afternoons from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Music Clinic in Belmont. More information can be found at newhorizons-lakesregion.org.

Hope to see you at a concert soon, and thanks again Meredith Parks & Rec.

Karen Sticht


Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2015 08:18

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When state taxes more, people & businesses consume less

To The Daily Sun,

The governor's veto of the New Hampshire budget is one of the most harmful acts within the chief executive's prerogatives. When the governor vetoes the budget, state agencies are thrown into turmoil. Without an authorized spending level they cannot know what level of activity they can support. As a result of this increased uncertainty (risk), restrictions on spending must be put into place reflecting the range of potential budget outcomes. The governor's decision making is ignorant of the basics of economics. Further, it illustrates a lack of capacity to grasp the harm inflicted on the people and employees of the state.

The state budget exists as a component part of New Hampshire's economy. To the extent that the state budget grows the other three components of state gross domestic product (GDP) are restrained. When state government spends more, the state must tax more because New Hampshire's constitution requires the budget to be balanced. When the state taxes more the people and businesses of the state have less money in their pocket to spend for the things they desire to consume; they have less money available to produce products for export and they have less money available to invest in their future.

Of the component parts of GDP, investment is the most important. It drives GDP both when the investments are made and as a multiplier effect in future periods through improved productivity. Each of the other components have an effect in the current period only. Investments in new enterprises are a catalyst to new hiring which boosts consumption through wage payments from investment profits. Impediments to investments, which a veto of the state budget is, are a drag on the economy. The fiscal unknowns as a result of the uncertainty of the state budget ripple through the spending of all businesses and personal budgets.

Marc Abear

Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2015 08:15

Hits: 133

See you at Sanbornton Old Home Day on Saturday, July 25

To The Daily Sun,

The Sanbornton Old Home Day Committee invites all community members to attend the Sanbornton Old Home Day festivities on Saturday, July 25, starting at 9 a.m. in the Sanbornton Town Square.

This year's events cater to all ages and interests, including a car show, various demonstrations such as maple syrup making, blacksmithing and wood cutting, local homemade ice cream and other food vendors, Mohawk Trail Riders equipment display, and more.

As part of its summer reading program, the Sanbornton Public Library will also be hosting famed storyteller Odds Bodkin in the Town Square at 11 a.m. Be sure not to miss the Old Home Day Parade, starting near the library at 3 p.m.

There's something for everyone at this day of family-friendly events. We look forward to seeing you there.

Audry & Justin Barriault


Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2015 08:11

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State has paid home health agencies the same rate for 6 years

To The Daily Sun,
It is universally acknowledged that care at home is preferable and far less costly than care in a facility. In New Hampshire, the average cost of maintaining a Medicaid recipient in their own home is about $18,360 per year while the average cost of care in a nursing home is about $44,000 per year. So, keeping Medicaid-eligible people at home in New Hampshire makes economic sense. The formula works as long as there are willing home-health providers in the community. And that is where the problem arises.

Community-based home health agencies have been paid the same rate to provide service under the Medicaid "Choices for Independence" (CFI) program for the last six years — and even longer for some types of service. This has occurred in spite of the fact that the state was ordered to review and amend rates yearly following a legal settlement. Nevertheless, the rate revision has occurred only once — in 2009. Since then, agency costs to provide care have risen steadily. The increasing difference between agency cost to provide care and the state payment for care has caused a number of New Hampshire agencies to question whether or not they are financially able to serve CFI clients.

Some agencies have already elected to discontinue serving the CFI program altogether because they simply cannot afford to lose so much money and continue to service the broader needs of their communities. Many more are considering this option.

As the state budget debate commenced, home health agencies learned that the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services reported significant unspent funds in the CFI line item that should have been used to fulfill the state's obligation to its Medicaid population. Instead, these unspent funds were planned to be used elsewhere. Ultimately, home health professionals worked with the budget committee to appropriate a portion of those funds — $1.8 million — back to the CFI budget line. This portion was earmarked for a retroactive supplemental payment. Additional funds were appropriated for a 5 percent prospective rate increase to service clients under CFI — consistent with state rules.

The current state budget impasse places these appropriations in limbo. While the budget debate continues and the state engages in its "continuing resolution", agencies are faced with the question of whether or not they can afford to continue staffing or accept new CFI clients at a financial loss.

The irony is that every case that does not get picked up by a home health agency ends up in a far more costly health-care facility at higher expense to the state. That is wildly inconsistent with our economic interests and our stated values concerning home-based care. The clock is ticking. But nothing in this debate is helpful to individuals in need of care. When the Legislature and the governor meet again to negotiate the budget, we want this issue to be in their minds.

Margaret Franckhauser, RN, MS, MPH
Executive Director

Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 09:10

Hits: 118

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