A religious freedom issue

The letter from Sheila Whitesett on Feb. 23 about Sweet Cakes was disappointing. She opines that Sweet Cakes declined to sell to homosexuals, and that is incorrect. Sweet Cakes has served the gay community on a regular basis. It was only when they were asked to make a marriage cake for a lesbian couple that they declined, and for religious reasons, not bias.

The issue here is the Christian belief that marriage outside of one man and one woman is not God's will, and for that reason they did not wish to participate in the event. It was not the fact that the couple were lesbians, but rather the actual event they wished Sweet Cakes to help them celebrate.

Paul in Ephesians explains that marriage is an expression of love and submission between a man and a woman and is a model for the relationship between Jesus and his church.

Clearly, this is not bias but a religious freedom issue. The first amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..." — Mike Potter, Central Point

GMOs hurt agriculture

The failures of GMO crop technology have made U.S. agricultural exports less attractive to our trading partners. Some 60 nations have placed limits or embargoes on the importation of GMO crops from America, including countries in the EU, Japan, Peru, Mexico and China.

When genetically modified crops that contain the bacterial insecticide "Bt" were first developed, the promise was that farmers could use fewer insecticides to control the pests of Bt corn, Bt soy, Bt cotton, etc.

But now scientists from Iowa State University, Universities of Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona and Missouri have documented evidence that five species of the European corn borer and corn rootworm pests have developed resistance to the Bt toxin found in Bt corn. This development is distressingly similar to the way that super-bug diseases in people have become resistant to antibiotics. This forces farmers to apply ever more powerful and toxic chemical pesticides in an effort to control these Bt resistant pests.

GMO crops are not living up to promised benefits, and we and our American farmers together are paying the economic price.

Please vote yes on measure 15-119 this May, and protect our local farmers. — Donna Breedlove, Medford

Credit card nightmare

Last week my credit card was compromised. I want to know how our country got to where you can't do anything without a credit card? I have had one full week of frustration, arguing and trying to get my bills paid with my debit card.

You try and talk to someone at these big companies, and all you get is computers. When you're finally lucky enough to get a person you cannot understand them.

I like technology, but it's taking over like a sci-fi/horror movie.

The people who get your credit card number from cyberspace have it out of the country very quickly and start using it. I would like to see these people hung up by their feet and beaten.

When they steal from the stores, when the banks have to pay out for the charges on these credit cards, we are the ones paying in the long run. I know the police work hard to stop all of this, but there are only so many of them and lots more criminals. I don't know the answers to this, but I wish we could do something like lock them up and throw away the key. — Judy Westcott, Talent

Nature understands

In regards to Wayne Packwood's letter of Feb. 22, in which he states, "An unborn fetus is not a breathing occupant of the planet," a little story: One day a man came out of his house, and walking down the road came upon an acorn. Looking at the acorn he remarked, "It doesn't have roots or take in water, and it doesn't produce leaves to shade me with, so what good is it?"

With that, he stepped on the acorn and crushed it. Walking on, he said, "An acorn is not an oak tree."

Moral of the story: Nature has always understood the wisdom of its own design, and callous men never will. — R. Caster, Medford

Support freedom to marry

As a person of faith who supports everyone's freedom to marry the person they love, I was pleased to read the Feb. 24 Mail Tribune article that announced Oregon United for Marriage has collected an amazing 160,000-plus signatures to put its initiative on the November 2014 ballot.

The article highlighted personal stories of love and commitment that make this campaign so meaningful. I have collected signatures as a volunteer for several months. Each time I have gathered signatures in Medford, I've met many diverse and wonderful people from faith communities who support the freedom to marry.

I am concerned, however, about the effort, also mentioned in Monday's article, to put a counter initiative on the same ballot. Opponents of the freedom to marry are gathering signatures on an Arizona-like measure that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers in some distorted view of religious rights.

Treating people differently based on who they are is discrimination. The Just Peace Ministry Team at my church, the Medford United Church of Christ, has chosen to support the freedom to marry and oppose discrimination because of our religious values. We urge all people of faith to do the same. — Rich Rohde, Medford

Bitcoins are a Ponzi scheme

Bitcoins are not money despite what some people may tell you. In essence, they are another great Ponzi scheme. Those who got in at the bottom ... you know the story.

Why is it not money? Because money, such as the U.S. dollar, has a stable value. We can go to sleep with our dollars in our wallets or bank account and know the next morning those dollars will have essentially the same value in terms of buying power.

This is not the case with Bitcoins. Bitcoins have been around for about four years, entering the marketplace for somewhere around a nickel apiece. As of this response to the Sunday Mail Tribune article, they are hovering around $600 each. That's a 12,000-percent increase in four years!

Would you be spending your dollars if you knew one of them could be worth $12,000 four years from now? I don't think so. In fact, 2013 showed Bitcoin went from $13.50 to $1,200 in value before taking a dramatic plunge. Bitcoin is not a monetary system. It is a highly speculative form of digital commodity trading. I'll keep my "dollars" in the bank, thank you. — Steven Wall, Jacksonville

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