Ebola: Global concerns spur Texas response
Nov07

Ebola: Global concerns spur Texas response

Ebola –– That mysterious African disease that had never been detected in the United States until a couple of months ago and never diagnosed on U.S. soil until earlier last month. It’s the recent culprit responsible for bursting America’s bubble of relative security, protecting its inhabitants from exotic, life-ravaging illnesses. The fresh memory of the death in Dallas and the not-so-distant scare in Belton has Central Texans wondering what their schools, workplaces and government are doing to protect them.   Although the virus is communicable and has been posing a threat from Texas to New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it is not airborne and is difficult to transmit unless a person comes in direct contact with an infected patient’s bodily fluids or a surface that has.   However reassuring this news may sound, many are still paranoid considering that trained medical professionals are still contracting the disease.   Something else feeding the uncertainty and fear is the virus’ 21-day incubation period. People who have come in contact with the disease may not exhibit symptoms for three weeks. This is the reason for quarantine among medical professionals, missionaries and others who have traveled to West Africa are imposing on themselves.   Senior nursing major Kristiana Bohene believes it’s necessary for those working with Ebola patients to think of the common good and quarantine themselves during that incubation period.   “If they were potentially exposed to Ebola, they should be quarantined until they are not showing symptoms. The quarantine of one can be good for all to prevent the further spread of illness,” she said.   A potentially disturbing precedent is the refusal of Maine nurse Hickox to self-quarantine.   Bohene said, “I can’t imagine being in her shoes, but I do think that sacrificing 21 days for the good of others is the right thing to do if she is showing symptoms.”   The state of Maine is working to bring her into compliance.   After the CDC began re-evaluating the health risk to passengers on the Frontier Airlines Flight #1143, from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas, it was discovered that two Belton ISD students, one from North Belton Middle School and one from Sparta Elementary, along with their family, were traveling on the same plane with one of the nurses who cared for Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian.   School district officials cancelled classes for thorough cleaning at those two campuses as well as Belton Early Childhood School because students are bussed between that building and Sparta Elementary.   Many are expressing frustration with the federal government’s seemingly slow...

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Would it rock your boat too much to vote?
Nov07

Would it rock your boat too much to vote?

Political efficacy. It’s a fancy term political scientists use to refer to the idea of people’s participation in government affecting outcomes.   In a democratic republic of more than 300 million people, it’s tempting for some to throw their hands up in desperation, thinking that their votes won’t make a difference.   This is an unfortunate misnomer. Nancy Neuman, former president of the League of Women Voters said it this way:   “Lower voter participation is a silent threat to our democracy…. It under-represents young people, the poor, the disabled, those with little education, minorities and you and me.”   While one individual vote may not seem like a lot, if entire blocks of people stay home from the polls, a sizable portion of the population’s decision making power is wasted.   According to polling data from the 2012 presidential election, only 59.3 percent of the eligible population voted. Slightly more than half of the people in the United States tend to make national decisions.   It is sad that in America, arguably the freest country in the world, so few people exercise the rights they were born with.   Why would citizens not vote when they have the opportunity to express support for interests they care about, while watching a peaceful, non-violent transfer of power ­— a concept many countries in the world are only now barely beginning to discover?   A democracy is only as functional as the people are active. A lack of voter participation underscores a culture of hypocrisy.   People complain about almost everything when it comes to government but seldom lift a finger to change anything even if they do vote.   For instance, according to statistics, people in the U.S. generally dislike Congress, but they continue to elect the same representatives term after term. A cause of this phenomena could be political laziness.   Many times, non-voters and voters alike are uninformed of the issues that matter to them. There’s definitely no lack of opinions.   It’s simply a lack of knowledge — the force that spurs people to action. This causes non-voters to continue their pattern of inactivity and voters to continue selecting the same names on the ballot they always have.   Further, it’s your duty to vote. Brave men and women die and are seriously wounded both physically and emotionally for your right to choose between political activity or laziness. The least one could do is participate in the free form of government their sacrifices make...

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Houston, we have a problem
Oct23

Houston, we have a problem

Houston. That humid, traffic-ridden landmass that swallows up a great portion of Southeast Texas. The country’s fourth largest city is home to more than two million people and a controversy called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as HERO.   A nickname is the “Bathroom Bill.” It reinforces the idea that no one should be discriminated against on basis of race, religion or sexual orientation. Pretty routine, right? Until the reader learns that the city’s bathrooms are now non-discriminatory.   Over the summer, a group of pastors who take objection to their lesbian mayor’s bold move passed around a petition, which gained more than the minimum number of signatures to have the ordinance reviewed.   The city found that a large number of the signatures were “ineligible” and refuses to discuss how it came to that conclusion. Those pastors are now in a legal battle with the city, which took an unexpected turn when the city called for their sermons to be brought before the court.   “Mayor Parker agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastor’s sermons….,” Chief Policy Officer Janice Evans told The Bells. “Neither the mayor nor city attorney … were aware the subpoenas had been issued…. Both agree the original documents were overly broad.”   After that, news reports surfaced about a tweet from Parker’s Twitter account that contradicted this statement saying, “If the five pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?”   So, which is it? Does Parker “agree with those who are concerned” about a breach of First Amendment rights, or does she in fact see the subpoena of sermons as an aid in her legal case?   When Evans was confronted with the contradiction, she responded saying, “We believe the petition process used by the HERO opponents, including the pastors, did not meet the requirements…. That information would be very helpful in proving our case.”   After a similar sentiment was expressed in a news conference, the city did some major backtracking in response to national news coverage and condemnation from politicians.   “The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Christiana Holcomb, the attorney representing the ministers, said.       “Political and social commentary is not a crime; it is protected by the First Amendment.”   In keeping with her theme of non-discrimination, Parker should subpoena an Imam’s sermon. Quranic passages say homosexuals should be killed. Why pick on...

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Red Bus Project brings thrift shop to campus, helps orphans
Oct23

Red Bus Project brings thrift shop to campus, helps orphans

  As students on campus last week attended Homecoming events each day, some of them, in keeping with the university’s spirit of service, volunteered their time and donated clothing to The Red Bus Project, an organization that raises awareness and funds for the plight of orphans worldwide.   The non-profit is represented by a literal red double decker bus from England, which had been turned into a thrift shop that accepts donations and sells clothes at discounted prices.   Andi Hale, a senior mass communication/ public relations major was instrumental in bringing the group to campus. She’s very familiar with the operation, as she spent all of last semester working at its headquarters in Tennessee.   “I’ve followed Show Hope, Red Bus’ parent organization for the past five years,” she said. “I had heard about Red Bus Project through that. After my freshman year at UMHB, I went to China with Show Hope, and my team leader from that trip was one of the guys who helped start this program.”   Hale believes the organization helps involve young adults.   “We are a generation of activists, willing to get behind a cause and right injustices in the world, and let’s be honest, what college student doesn’t love to thrift shop,” she said.   Hale wants people to know that everyone can contribute to the effort no matter how large of an undertaking the cause seems to be.   She said, “I think that many students have it in their heads that orphan care is something that they can’t help with until they are in a place where they can adopt, but there is so much more to do for these children who are still waiting for families. My passion is informing students of ways that they can care for these kids now, rather than waiting until they’re ‘old enough.’”   Hale backs the organization proudly because she believes her internship was a life-changing experience. She knew her passion was real when she looked forward to waking up in the morning.   “I’m a college student. I couldn’t tell you the last time I was actually excited for my alarm to go off. But that was the effect that working for Red Bus had on me,” she said.   UMHB alumna and Assistant Director of Student Organizations Katy Bumpus helped realize Hale’s dream of having the Red Bus make a stop on campus as part of the homecoming festivities last week.   “This was something that I thought would be great to bring to campus to help spread awareness for orphan care,” she said.   Bumpus said the university responded...

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Peace or persecution?
Oct13

Peace or persecution?

During wartime periods in U.S. history, it is tempting for Americans —Christian and non-Christian alike — to tire of conflict. The unfortunate reality is we must continue to wage war against those lifestyles violently opposed to ours so we don’t have to sustain the same bloodshed here in our homeland.   Christians are called by Christ to be peacemakers, not pacifists as some suggest. Sometimes, the way to make peace is to first make war.   What confuses well-meaning practitioners of the faith is the misinterpretation of scripture. Historically, those who advocate against war cite Exodus 20:13, the sixth commandment which reads in most translations, “Thou shalt not kill.”   The original word in the ancient Hebrew for “kill” was “trə•ṣāḥ,” which means “murder.” There is a fundamental difference between killing in defense of self or others versus murdering someone in cold blood.   Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson received criticism from some Christians after expressing support for war against radical Islamists.   He said, “Convert them or kill them…. It’s not like a country with a standing army, and we line up and do battle … we’re going to have to deal with this group way more harshly than we have….”   Proponents of radical Islam are on an admitted mission either to convert or kill infidels (unbelievers) while pointing to passages in the Quran.   Quran 8:12 says, “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”   Some argue Robertson made his comments in direct response to the very real jihadist threat, which is even harsher. If jihadists come here or to any other country with the intent to convert or kill, why would Christians not have the right and responsibility to protect themselves and others?   Also intriguing is the idea that this Quranic verse might be the motivation for the recent beheadings of the American journalists and European government workers by ISIL. How about the ISIL sympathizer who hacked off an unsuspecting woman’s head in her Moore, Okla., office?   Should we lie down and say we’re against war because God is love while innocent people are dying at the hands of Islamic extremists? The motivation for war is not the pleasure of killing, but bringing an end to the murder of innocent people.   Justice in this situation is not the absence of death but the prevention of needless death. The irony is not that Christians would want to kill, but that some would sit by while the precious lives of fellow Christ followers and those of moderate Muslims...

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