Chapel Hill: Opinion

Your letters, July 17: Elaine Tomberlin Lopez, Sarah J. Shapard and Joe Swain Jr.

Not really marriage

The Episcopal Church has its origins in the Church of England, which was founded by King Henry the Eighth, who murdered two of his wives and many other people including religious leaders. Our founding fathers were Episcopal because their ancestors were basically English, and were forced to accept the English church.

Are Episcopalians (and others) now ignoring what they have been taught from the Holy Bible for many generations? God tells Moses in Leviticus 18, verse 22, “ You shall not lie with a male as with a woman: such a thing is an abomination.” (The New American Bible, 2000 Edition).

The Episcopal bishops and others who approve of gay marriage remind me of the people who approved of the emperor’s new clothes until one little boy yelled, “Look, he has on no clothes!” Gay marriage is not really marriage; that relationship belongs to two opposite sexes. Why not give the copycat celebration a special name, like “Partnership?” Pretending that gay marriage is normal will negatively affect generations to come.

It is just the beginning of the acceptance of abnormal behavior. Polygamy, anyone?

Elaine Tomberlin Lopez

Chapel Hill

CIS funds critical

I write to express our deep gratitude to the elected officials of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County for their support for Communities In Schools of Orange County during the 2015-16 school year. Their support is critical for CIS Orange and for the parents and grandparents who rely on the services we provide during and after school via the comprehensive sites and afterschool programs.

Our parents, who are employed, can feel more secure in their jobs, knowing that their children are in good hands in an afterschool program instead of in an empty house. In fact the CIS afterschool program is not just a place to hang out. The kids get help with their homework and/or are assigned to work with a math or reading tutor if they need additional support. They also get snacks and transportation home, and they engage in a wide range of STEM-aligned enrichment activities led by CIS educators, guest speakers and community partners including, to name just a few, UNC School of Social Work, UNC School of Education Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocates, UNC Art & Life, Reilly’s Tawkendo, the UNC Black Student Movement, My Brother’s Keeper, and Yoga for Youth. Ninety-five percent of the CIS kids were promoted to the next grade level. We attribute this success rate to the CIS model.

In addition to local community support, the CIS programs were also supported by a four-year “21st Century” federal grant. However, this grant is scheduled to be cut by 20 percent this year and next year, and to drop to zero in in 2017. CIS could apply for another 21st Century grant, but both houses of Congress are considering reducing the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. We would be thrilled for folks to let Congress know that the 21st Century funds have been critical for helping 385 kids in Orange County stay in school and achieve in life, and also across the state and nation.

Sarah J. Shapard

Interim executive director/Finance officer

Communities in Schools of Orange County

Show respect for Confederate dead

I was saddened to read the July 6 news article “Vandals deface UNC’s ‘Silent Sam’.” With reports of African-American churches being vandalized, this is not what we need if we hope to have a meaningful dialogue about the persistence of racism.

One suggestion is for a marker to provide context for “Silent Sam.”

My preference is to draw upon a quote from the man who did the most to defeat the Confederacy, Gen. U.S. Grant. In his memoirs, Grant wrote of “a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.”

Grant captured both the injustice of fighting to defend slavery while acknowledging the valor and sacrifice shown by my great-great-grandfather and his comrades, both volunteer and draftee, during the war.

In my lifetime, our country was bitterly divided over the Vietnam War. Some of us saw those who fought there as making the wrong choice on a moral decision; some expressed disdain for returning veterans.

Since then our nation has agreed on the need to respect those who risk their life in war even if we disagree on the rightness of that war.

So it should be for “Silent Sam.”

Joe Swain Jr.