The presidential foot race has been off and running for a number of months now. Barack, Hillary, Mitt, Rudy, McCain, and some I've probably missed. One thing I've missed is the information on any of the candidates religion. Anyone but Mitt Romney that is.
I know the Kennedy's are Catholics, but I don't know specifically which religion the Bush family is. I've seen them outside churches many times but I've never focused specifically on their religion.
I am glad they are a reverent church going family. I suspect many of our presidents have all been God loving, God fearing men. Being a president seems like such a daunting task and getting more formidable all the time.
Without the help of God, the job would no doubt be even harder. Even if you don't specifically believe in God, He helps you anyway, and at some point in your life, He has been there beside you, even pushes you in the right direction when you need it. Especially when you think you don't need it.
Back to Mitt. Mitt is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This doesn't bother me. The slang term for Mitt's church is Mormon. This Mormon moniker is more common that the proper name of the Church.
The LDS Church is still not widely known and if someone has heard of the LDS Church, then often times the information is false, misconceived and down right irrational.
One of the most common misconceptions is the practice of polygamy. The LDS Church hasn't practiced polygamy since the late 1880s. More than 100 years ago this practice was eliminated.
Of course all of those men, I would guess, fulfilled their obligation to these polygamous wives and their families under much persecution, if what I have read about those days is correct.
Another misconception about the LDS Church is that the LDS people have horns. I've yet to see any of these horns growing on Utah Mormons, or Mormons anywhere else for that matter.
Another item I've heard of is that Mormons don't believe in God. I received a video one day at the office from an LDS film company that interviews people across the USA and these people, selected at random off the street, answered questions about the Mormon Church.
The results were often comical and certainly enlightening. They discussed all of the misconceptions I mentioned earlier and others I didn't mention. One underlying theme throughout the video was the emotion of the people as they spoke about Mormon people.
They described them as health conscious, very religious, church going, good moral standards, people who stood out in a crowd, people willing to help out, clean cut and well dressed. One man from Michigan said these Mormon missionaries always want to mow my lawn.
I didn't hear any negative remarks but there are many people with negative opinions of Mormons. No doubt these negative images are caused, too, by church members doing things they shouldn't. Just like the positive comments were caused by church members who have done something right.
I think Mitt Romney did a good job on the Olympics 2002 in Utah. But pulling off the Olympics and running a country are two different things.
I do think Mitt Romney deserves fair consideration for this office. The fact that he is a Mormon shouldn't count against him. In fact, I think it should work in his favor. If Mr. Romney is truly a faithful church member, I doubt the escapades of the Clinton era would ever take place in a Romney administration. At least I would hope it would never take place.
Whatever our religious preferences are shouldn't come into play when we are seeking a public office. The government has spent so much time, effort and money in trying to remove God from government, why does a candidate's religious preference even matter?
I hope Mitt Romney is given a fair shake, as fair as all other candidates. Mormons aren't cult members. Theirs is a very viable, worldwide organization that seeks to do good in this world. This church and its members should be treated with the same dignity and respect afforded other religions.
I'd like to call attention to a pressing issue directly impacting our children's health. Ten years ago, the health and welfare of our nation's children took a major leap forward with the enactment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. This legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support, has provided a vital source of health care coverage to children whose parents work but cannot afford or are not offered health insurance. SCHIP has effectively reduced the number of children living without health insurance by more than one third. While the program covers 6 million individuals, another 9 million children remain uninsured, three-quarters of whom are currently eligible, but unenrolled for either SCHIP or Medicaid.
On Sept. 30, the SCHIP program will expire. As such Congress must pass reauthorizing legislation within the next several months to ensure the program continues to thrive and that no child loses coverage. In Utah, SCHIP covers an average of 47,000 children, yet more than 90,000 remain uninsured.
It is a priority of our state chapter and the national American Academy of Pediatrics to ensure all children have access to quality health care. Uninsured children are far less likely to receive timely care for childhood illnesses, such as sore throats, earaches and asthma, they often end up in the emergency room or hospital due to delays in seeking treatment, and may not have access to well-child visits and needed prescription medications.
Isn't it time for every child in Utah to have coverage? Help ensure our children get the best start in life by urging Congress to properly fund and renew SCHIP as soon as possible.
For quite some time former Vice President Al Gore has been shouting the warning cry of "global warming," and praising the writings of Rachel Carson who wrote "Silent Spring" and "Courage of Earth." One of the most difficult aspects of life is watching the radical extreme environmentalists standing at the foot of the altar of Rachel Carson looking up and praising and worshiping her.
It is mind boggling to find such incredible misguided admiration for a woman whose opposition to DDT and other synthetic pesticides that has led to the suffering and death of millions of people around the world. The final phase of her writings shows that Rachel Carson cared greatly for nature's wildlife and little if at all for mankind. Yet all these animals she claimed were dying because of the use of DDT have been proven wrong by the late G. Gordon Edwards.
Carson's "Silent Spring" resulted in the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Through her actions of making it illegal to use DDT led to the increase in mosquitoes and bed bugs 10-fold.
In the 1950s, bed bugs and mosquitoes were virtually eliminated in the US. At the removal of DDT, both bed bugs and mosquitoes have increased a 1,000 percent. Bed bugs are now coming in by moving vans, storage units, airplanes, ships, and bus cushions. We now read of popular hotels and motels asking for help in controlling bed bugs.
The number of complaints of these two bug infestations has more than doubled in San Francisco from 2004-2006. Since the year 2000, we have had several deaths caused by West Nile virus brought into Utah by the mosquito. Up to that period of time, we had never heard of the West Nile virus.
Some third world countries are now considering using DDT to control the malaria that is causing the deaths of thousands of lives in their countries. Many furniture stores have in the past, sprayed all mattresses they sold with DDT to control the spreading of the bed bug. Now they do nothing.
I was truly saddened recently to learn of the passing away of Joe Kastanek of Schuyler, Neb. I had the honor of working with in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command in the early 1960's in our capacity as Titan- II Missile Propellant Transfer System Maintenance Technicians. Our job was keeping our Titan - II Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles combat ready for America's nuclear defense during the darkest days of the Cold War. I feel that his story is, like many other unsung Veterans and Americans, the story of the true heroes of our time and Country who stayed at their posts serving God, country, and family until relieved of their earthly duty.
I recall his competent, deliberate and quick action saving equipment and lives including my own in the dangerous work of handling hypergolic (self-igniting) missile propellants. Although reserved and unassuming himself, he left behind a true life legacy light-years greater than the modern ersatz heroes manufactured daily by our self-promoting media and politicians in today's world.
His legacy is his successful life of courage and dedication to his God, country, and noble family he had to leave behind to carry on until he sees them again someday. He is proof of the old truism: "There is no failure except in giving up"... and he never gave up.
We needed men like him back then and we need them now - they are the greatness of America. We should learn from his example of hard work, courage and dedication to his family and revere his memory, and the real monument he left behind: his family.
As Americans we must do no less than carry on such a legacy and that of countless others who have faded in the mists of time falling on the obscure battlefields of war and life while building our great country. The soldiers, the fathers, the mothers, the families, who stayed true to their duty, even though they may have faltered,- they are the true heroes of America and we must carry the torch of their sacrifices to the summit of their dreams of a safe and preserved America for all the ages.
For the last 24 years, I have been a teacher at Huntington Elementary School. The school is full of adults who really care about the success and well being of each child.
It has been a great experience for me to learn from and laugh with them each day. I love them and hope the people in the area respect them for the fine work they do.
I appreciate all the parents who shared their children with me-it was an honor, a pleasure, a challenge, and always an interesting experience.
I am not good at saying goodbye, but I want you all to know I will miss you, one and all. You have all left handprints on my heart.