Letter to the Editor

Legislators Carve out plan for forests

Since 2005, logging in our publicly owned state forests has quadrupled.

Unlike Indiana’s state parks, our state forests, established in 1903, were created, in part, to provide quality, hardwood timber to Indiana’s lumber market, along with providing recreational areas for current and future citizens.

But starting in 2005, the Indiana Division of Forestry has been moving from funding itself from tax revenues to logging income. In the 1980s, about 40 percent of Indiana’s state forests were protected from logging. That number now stands at 3 percent. Half of the DOF’s budget now comes from logging Indiana state forests.

The DOF has approved logging in biologically important, old-growth areas and directly on the Knob Stone Trail in Clark State Forest.

It’s good to support Indiana’s lumber market and the DOF needs to be fully funded, but the logging has gone too far and is now damaging important areas of our state forests.

Two amendments will be voted on to SB 363 in the Indiana Statehouse this Thursday. The amendments would set aside 10 percent of our state forests’ most important areas from logging. They would also establish a commission of Republicans, Democrats, preservations groups, recreation groups, foresters, the timber industry and the Department of Natural Resources to develop a plan to better balance the uses of our state forests between logging, recreation and preservation.

Funding our Division of Forestry is important, but doing so by cutting down parts of the very forests it’s supposed to preserve is wrong.

There is a better way to manage our state forests, a way that balances logging with our responsibility to preserve the best of what nature has created for future generations of Hoosiers.

Passing these amendments is an important first step toward taking that path.

— Garry McCandless, Jeffersonville

Bible teaches Christians to love, not hate

Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, ... ; they shall be put to death; ... “ Note: Neither one of these verses mention a lesbian relationship.

The book of Leviticus was composed during the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people near the end of the sixth century BCE by “the priestly writers.” Leviticus Chapters 17-26, commonly called “the Holiness Code,” was written for the purpose of not allowing an intermixing of their culture with the Babylonian culture.

Male to male sexual relations were very common in ancient cultures, but not as a loving committed relationship. This situation was used to establish social hierarchy and in wars, as treasures of the victorious over their captured victims. In the ancient world, deeply misogynistic attitudes were the norm and women were considered property.

A reading of Leviticus 3,11,13 and 19 will show us ridiculous rules that are obviously not followed today. But, they were necessary for the “priestly writers” for the non-intermixing of cultures.

Of course, the death penalty for the homosexual today is ridiculous. The death penalty, applied to other requirements, were severe; prostitution (Leviticus 21:9), cursing (Leviticus 24:6), disobedient children (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2) and charging interest on a loan (Ezekiel 18:13). All of these rules were also for the purpose of maintaining Israelite order that was paramount due to the threats of starvation, disease, internal discord and attacks from other tribes.

A study of Romans 7:1-13, Galatians 3:21-26, 5:22-23 and I Corinthians 13, books most Biblical scholars believe were actually written by Paul, has Paul talking about Jesus’ resurrection and grace as a replacement for the law; the law’s purpose was to point out the believer’s sinful nature. These Scriptures also include “the gifts of the spirit” and the beautiful description of love. With love, I believe it is inappropriate for “Christians” to show hate for those who do not believe the way they do, to hurt innocent people, to defy the separation of church and state and to force their morality on others.

Resources

1. “God and the Gay Christian,” Matthew Vines, pages 78-93.

2. “The Sins of Scripture,” Bishop John Shelby Spong, pages 121-126.

3. “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality,” Dr. Daniel Helminiak, pages 43-54

4. “The Good Book,” Rev. Peter Gomes, pages 149, 153-155.

5. “Unprotected Texts,” Dr. Jennifer Knust, pages 140-150.

6. “Formations Learner’s Study Guide,” January-April, pages 67-72 (my Bible study class study guide).

7. “The New Testament,” Dr. Bart Ehrman, page 287.

— Larry E. Farr

Jeffersonville