I normally do not feel compelled to write in response to opinion pieces that appear in Stars and Stripes but Rev. Richard Cizik’s submission on evangelicals raised my ire (“Not all evangelicals in lock step with tea party goals,” Nov. 14).

Like most social gospel promoters Cizik veils his preference for socialist/marxist thought with the skillful use of agitprop while conveniently ignoring the facts of evangelicals and charity. The Bible is very clear that Christians should do their giving in private lest it honor the giver and not God. Additionally the notion of free will has at least a small part to play in the Christian walk. Cizik conveniently ignores the millions of American evangelicals who donate millions of dollars to charity. He fails to acknowledge that when one cuts out the “middleman” of the government, those dollars go farther in helping those in need.

Evangelicals embrace the tea party precisely because they know the needs of their communities better than bureaucrats in D.C. Taxing people for failed social programs, stripping off huge overhead for those programs and then rerouting the scraps back to those in need is hardly in concert with Christ’s teachings. In fact Christ very clearly distinguished between what a government does and what believers are supposed to do. Rome was hardly a charitable place. Libertarian notions of free will and personal responsibility are not anti-Christian; they are the essence of Christian behavior. Cizik’s coercive brand of socialism, veiled in the mantra of “but it is for the kids,” is decidedly not.

The United States remains the most charitable nation on Earth. It used to have an extensive network of Christian- and Jewish-based hospitals that treated the poor for free. That was until the social justice “do-gooders” determined that faceless bureaucracies and regulations would deliver a better product. Now, in order to access care one must essentially become a “ward of the state.” Where is the human dignity in that? Physicians cannot even adjust pricing for fear of being charged with insurance or medicare fraud.

We have experienced the immense waste that laundering money through D.C. creates before it gets to those in need. Americans, when given a choice, invest efficiently to directly meet needs — be they a struggling family or a Habitat for Humanity Home. They quickly identify those who seek to abuse charity and those who truly need it. Socialist pastors who preach a distorted gospel and wealth-redistributing bureaucrats do not share the same track record.

Todd Fredricks

Camp Buehring, Kuwait

Aid GIs’ transition to the calm

We all have the upmost respect for those who serve in our armed forces and for those who serve overseas in harm’s way. They deserve special respect and benefits, since they are the only ones who stand between us and those who wish to do us harm. Now in addition to Veterans Day this month we have another unique opportunity to act and put our words into action. To really honor our service people who have survived and sacrificed, we are the ones who now need to do them a service. We need to help them with the many problems that have been plaguing our veterans on their return.

Unemployment for veterans is at least 2 percent higher than for nonveterans. Twenty percent of returning veterans have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and PTSD raises the risk of domestic abuse. Prescription drug abuse has soared and suicides have outnumbered combat deaths in the last two years. Even one-third of children who have parent deployed in a war zone are at higher risk for psychological problems and, a new study says, violence is more common among kids of combat veterans — and that includes the daughters.

It seems clear that not one group or institution could handle these problems all by themselves. We are now all going to have to pitch in to make sure they all have a soft landing. I cannot think of many adjustments bigger than coming from an environment where there is violence to one where there isn’t. We can never know what they went through and I’m sure they don’t want us to go through it and find out.

If we want America and its forces to continue to be strong, and we want America to continue to become more peaceful, then it is time for all of us to do our service personnel a service and give then the special attention and consideration they deserve in areas big and small. This goes not only for the ones who will be returning but the ones who already have. This would not elevate them above the rest of us but only ensure that they can enjoy a normal life like the rest of us. This is probably the biggest gift we can give them, that despite their sacrifice they are still an equal member of the American family and the American dream.

Douglas A. Wain

Founder and executive director Win The War! Against Violence

Lexington, Ky.

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