Religious displays about politics

I was appalled to read the letter "Applaud the values Tebow represents" (Dec. 19). I am a regular churchgoing Christian who believes that athletes like Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow want to publicly display their piety just as the Pharisee in the gospel of Luke did. They are essentially saying, "Look at me, Lord, I am showing off my piety to thousands and thousands of people. Aren't I good?"

True piety consists of standing at the back of the synagogue, like the Publican in the same parable in Luke who beat his breast privately, and said, "Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner."

The Bill of Rights gives us all the freedom to worship as we please. However, when a person makes a grand public display of his or her faith, that person is making a political statement, not a religious one.

Joseph J. DuBray Jr., Deptford

Celebrate people like Tim Tebow

As I see it, Tim Tebow is great for the NFL and great for the United States. Why? He's a good guy. We are constantly complaining about the guys who shoot themselves in the leg with illegal firearms; guys who are arrested for beating their women; or guys who have been arrested for drugs so many times, they shouldn't be walking the streets - though they are. We finally have a guy who does the right thing, and what do we do? Condemn him. Have we become so jaded that we don't know right from wrong?

There was a time when being a good person was not only strived for, but expected. For example, in the past, to be a politician in this country meant something. Today, being a politician in this country often means you were the lesser of two evils.

I suggest we stop looking for what is wrong with Tim Tebow and instead look for what is right with him. We should celebrate people who strive to do the right thing, act on the good of their neighbor, and restore order to a country that is chaotically trying to find itself.

Jim Ricchini, Richboro, cricchini310@verizon.net

Eagles back, thanks to government

Thanks for the update on the comeback of the bald eagle ("Eagles are back in N.J.," Dec. 20). Please note, everyone, that what is saving the species, which is our beloved national emblem, is a government program. The government bureaucrats in Washington banned DDT! They took away the freedom of the American people to use the pesticide! They interfered with the free-market rights of business! Aren't we glad they did?

Roy J. Roberts, Wyndmoor

Do the right thing on impact fee

The editorial "Legislature dropping ball on drilling fee or tax" (Dec. 18) is absolutely correct.

The fact that even the gas industry has publicly supported an impact fee pushes this discussion into the realm of the absurd. The legislature is incapable of passing legislation to generate desperately needed revenue from an industry that is literally asking to be taxed. It would be laughable if the consequences weren't so serious.

Pennsylvania's Growing Greener program is in desperate need of a new source of funding. Yet legislative inaction on an impact fee means that this program, which protects waterways, open spaces, and family farms, will have to continue without sufficient resources.

For the sake of our natural heritage, let's hope that Harrisburg is able to do the right thing in the new year.

Meredith Meisenheimer, preservation associate, PennEnvironment, Philadelphia, meredith@pennenvironment.org

N.J. farmers not all rich or famous

My consulting forestry work brings me into regular contact with people who have farm-assessed land in New Jersey, and, contrary to what State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R., Monmouth), Senate President Steve Sweeney (D., Gloucester), and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) might think, I do not spend my time rubbing elbows with the rich and famous ("Tax break for farmers gets new look from N.J.," Dec. 6).

U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), and rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are not typical of the farmland owners in South Jersey. My clients are mostly mom-and-pop operations, and about 75 percent are 50 years old or older. They work and struggle to make ends meet like the rest of us. They pay their fair share of property taxes on their homes. Their lands provide habitat for wildlife, clean air, clean water, nice views, and open space that pays more in taxes than it demands in services, really just as the creators of the farmland act and the later amendments envisioned.

Changing the rules of a program that has worked for more than 25 years to punish a few nontypical landowners will harm the overwhelming majority and is a bad idea. Raising the minimum sales requirement to $1,000 would be devastating to woodland owners and unhealthy for New Jerseys forests.

Craig Kane, Alloway, craigkane876@comcast.net

Suggested cellphone ban is too late

The National Transportation Safety Board declares that texting, e-mailing, or speaking on a cellphone while driving is much too dangerous to be allowed, and recommends that all 50 states impose a total ban on such devices while driving ("No driving and phoning," Dec. 19).

It is simply amazing that the NTSB makes this statement now, with millions of Americans using millions of cellphones while driving. This is another case of reacting to a situation that was known to be dangerous to begin with. Yet, now, even if states passed a ban, and promised fines on violators, how many people would stop using their cellphones while driving? How successful will the states be in attempting to enforce such a law? At this point, a total ban would probably have a negligible effect on drivers' behavior.

David M. Levin, Vineland

Embarrassed by gerrymandering

As a Republican, I am embarrassed by the blatant and absurd gerrymandering in the new congressional districts ("Dysfunctional redistricting," Wednesday). Like most partisan governmental efforts, the results defy common sense. As there is little chance this time for the legislature to come to its senses, I'd like to suggest a change for 2021. Create a pool of interested voters, including only those who voted in the congressional races between now and then, and randomly draw five Democrats and five Republicans for a panel to redraw the districts. Allow no lobbying from lawmakers, and make the panel's decision binding.

Stephen Cooney, Pottstown

Checking children's cholesterol

The number of obese children and adolescents living in the United States has tripled since 1980. The new recommendations from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute urging cholesterol checks for children between ages 9 and 11 in children are a necessary call to action.

These recommendations provide the pediatrician, the pathologist, and parents with more information and a clearer picture of the child's health over time. In some cases, this might result in a prescription, while in others it might reveal a new diet and exercise plan for the child or uncover a previously unknown food allergy. Early detection may help to prevent heart disease for these children and help to institute an appropriate diet for a lifetime of health and longevity.

Anna M. Moran, M.D., clinical assistant professor of pathology, laboratory medicine and cytopathology, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia