Jesus urged us

to pray in private

Regarding the Feb. 20 story, "Galloway considers new form of prayer":

According to the Gospel of Matthew, no less an authority on God than Jesus himself advises us when we pray to "go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly." Why then the fervent insistence on a prayer to open the proceedings of council meetings in Galloway Township?

The bleached out, nondenominational prayers being considered are really no different from the Jesus-specific prayers that are endorsed by Councilman Tony Coppola and the Rev. Tom Douglass - who, I have no doubt, are well-intentioned, upstanding citizens. One's relationship with God, however they understand that concept, is a personal, private matter, and any compulsory involvement in public prayer, however innocently dressed, is fundamentally wrong.

Coppola says, "If a council member doesn't want to pray, they don't have to. We're not going to force them to." I think he has it backward. If someone wants to pray, feel free; just do it in private, as Jesus directs us.

MICHAEL L. WILSON

Absecon

Gay marriage

should be legalized

On Feb. 5, the British House of Commons passed a bill to legalize gay marriage. It is expected to become law by this summer.

If England can legalize gay marriage, then so can America. The American colonies broke away from England because they considered the English tyrants. Our country was formed based on the idea that every man had unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Some people's happiness involves having a relationship with someone of the same sex. Just because some parts of society look down on same-sex marriage does not mean our government has to. Limiting the marriage rights of gay people affects more than 10 million Americans. If we take away these rights, we become the tyrants we escaped from so many years ago.

Some people argue against gay marriage because, in the Bible, God says that man and woman should be together, not man and man or woman and woman. News flash: The separation of church and state should make Bible-based arguments against gay marriage void.

Due to the unalienable given rights of Americans and the separation of church and state, there is no reason why America should not legalize gay marriage.

MARINNA PETERSON

Middle Township

Let taxpayers decide

where money is spent

I've read and heard many comments about the "redistribution of wealth" by our government. But the public has no input regarding who, where, why or how much. I demand an individual selection of choices of where my tax monies should be "distributed" each year. Isn't this fair?

Recently, some members of Congress presented a bill to evaluate all federal employees on merit for pay increases - a great idea if they include themselves.

Another possible idea is to make our United States government a corporation, with stock issued to the public, because businesses can function better than a government, and only businesses can create jobs.

A balanced budget is important, regardless of any potential war outbreaks, weather disasters, financial disasters or infrastructure needs. If any of these happen, cut current programs to cover the new costs.

LOU GREEN

Mays Landing

Gun ownership

can be limited

The proposed new gun laws sure have pulled open the woodwork. Some pretty bizarre comments have peppered recent letters in Voice of the People.

First of all, the U.S. Supreme Court decision on outlawing gun ownership (which said that completely banning gun ownership is unconstitutional) did not in any way state that you could own any gun, weapon or armament you wanted to.

We have limits on what kind of guns you can own. You can't buy and own bazookas, machine guns or rocket-propelled grenades. The constitutionality of those limits wasn't changed. All that's being proposed is where to draw the line.

Not being allowed to own an assault rifle or high-capacity magazine doesn't mean you can't own guns. It just means you can't arm yourself like an army.

JOHN F. McGRAW

Villas

Guns should be

'well-regulated'

The Second Amendment is frustratingly nonspecific, but let's look at it as a product of its time.

A war had recently ended with a colonial power. Americans were steadily moving into and taking aboriginal lands from the previous owners, who were angry enough to fight back. Local militias were quasi-governmental groups. Folks got together to protect themselves; they elected leaders, and the local governments supported those efforts. The local government created the well-regulated militia, which brought together the men of the region.

Now look at our situation today. We have a well-regulated militia in our local police and National Guard. We have a free state. If all the folks who wish to own a weapon are to be included in the "militia" envelope, the automatic assumption is that this militia is to be well-regulated. That is part of the deal. If you want to use the Second Amendment, you have use the whole thing.

One of the current proposals in New Jersey would require gun owners to get the same mental screening a police officer goes through. Is this too strict? Too many of the recent acts of violence were perpetrated by people who would not pass such a review. The National Rifle Association has pointed out that mental status should be checked.

I would add that any new owner of a gun should also go through the same training a police officer takes for carrying a weapon, and the new owner should be requalified at least as often as a police officer.

As to carrying a weapon in colleges or restaurants, what a disaster that would be. Alcohol and weapons don't mix at all.

ERNEST TEWS

Little Egg Harbor Township