Preaching on moral issues is not playing politics

Re: "Tax-exempt churches shouldn't engage in politics," From Readers, Sept. 4

I agree with Jason Ramage that tax-exempt religious organizations should not be telling congregants for whom to vote. However, if a passage from a religion's holy scriptures can legitimately be correlated to a contemporary political controversy, it should be perfectly legitimate to preach on that topic without surrender of their tax-exempt status.

For example, the Holy Bible tells us, "Thou shalt not kill," so Christian pastors should feel free to preach against abortion, and to condemn President Obama's politics of envy by citing "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions."

And quoting Jesus Christ ("That which God has joined together, let not man tear asunder"), Christian pastors should feel free to condemn America's 50 percent divorce rate and its quick-easy divorce laws from the pulpit.

Cleaning up and reclaiming America goes far beyond the mere politics of having the "right" people in office and the "right" governmental structures in place. Let us always remember: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive them their sins, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14).

Lawrence K. Marsh


Montgomery County only cares about the cash

Re: "New developments crowding Bethesda," Aug. 30

"New developments" have been crowding Bethesda since the 1980s.

I dined at a restaurant in Potomac in the early 1990s whose owner told me that they had first opened in Bethesda. However, no one had informed them that there would be no place for potential patrons to park. So the restaurant closed -- and then successfully reopened -- in Potomac.

The Montgomery County government cares about only one thing: allowing and even encouraging any establishment which they believe will bring in more tax dollars.

So your term, the "Manhattanizing" of Bethesda, is accurate.

Martha Lewis


Struggling veterans face rising health care premiums

Re: "Downward mobility in Obama's jobless recovery," Aug. 25

Of those in the middle class who continue to struggle thanks to the sluggish economy, the growing number of veterans often face the worst challenges. They're more likely to be unemployed and disabled and face stigmas about mental illness.

Yet government policies designed to cut the budget will make their lives harder, not easier.

For instance, top Pentagon officials have proposed raising veterans' health care premiums by more than 300 percent. Is this how we say "thanks" for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, by demanding three times as much for slow medical care as they face the toughest job market in decades?

America's warriors are used to sacrifice, and we understand that everyone has to do their part to reduce the deficit. But why should veterans bear the brunt of these cuts when the Pentagon is spending enormous sums on programs like the Joint Strike Fighter, a trillion-dollar jet that is twice as expensive as originally planned and years overdue?

Experts say the Pentagon's own broken bureaucracy is responsible for these wasted taxpayer dollars. Before kicking veterans to the curb, shouldn't leaders in Congress try to fix the cause of government waste?

Retired Air Force Col. Rosanne M. Greco

South Burlington, Vt.