Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Area Chamber of Commerce meeting

Houston County


November 6, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 12:06 by President Betsy Ligon.

Members present: Betsy Ligon, Mayor Cecil Baggett, Jimmy Lowery, Melinda Conwell, Linda Bratschi, Shannon Kilgore-Harris, Paxton Harris, Sharon Knight, and Bettye McKinnon.
The minutes of the October 2, 2008 meeting were presented in written form by Bettye McKinnon. The motion for approval of the minutes was made by Linda Bratschi and seconded by Jimmy Lowery. The motion carried.
The treasurer report was presented in written form by Jimmy Lowery. Mr. Lowery noted the 2008 Chamber Membership Banquet was not deficit. The motion for approval of the treasurers report was made by Bettye McKinnon and seconded by Linda Bratschi.

Betsy Ligon stated the Membership Banquet at the high school was successful and she had received several compliments on it. She stated she was interested in securing Aaron Wilburn as next years entertainment since he was so well received. Betsy congratulated Shannon Kilgore-Harris for receiving the first Russ James Volunteer Award and thanked her for all her hard work.
Junior Achievement has started and is in the preschool, 1st and 2nd grades. Allen McCampbell is already planning to extend the program to the other grades in the upcoming years.

President Ligon stated the need for a chamber director and she will pursue this issue.
Shannon Kilgore-Harris gave an update on the membership drive, stating it is going well with 111 members renewed so far. She is still waiting on plagues to distribute.
Southernaire Restaurant has been selected Business of the Quarter by the committee. Yard of the month has been suspended until the spring. Kay French is the committee chair.

The Irish Day Executive Committee meeting will meet on November 17th at 5:30. Shannon Harris suggested one person or committee placed in charge of booths and pavilions space, as there was an unfortunate and avoidable conflict last year. Betsy invited Shannon to attend the executive committee meeting. Shannon and Melinda Conwell are Co-chairs of the 2009 Irish Day vendors committee and are sending out vendor applications this week.
Teresa Mitchell has already sent the Irish Day theme contest forms to the schools.
Betsy read Debbie Schmidt’s thank you card and displayed the ornament Debbie sent us.

The 2008 Christmas Parade theme is “We Believe”. The Erin Police Department is organizing the parade. Parade will start at 5:00 on December 6th. Parade participants need to contact the Erin Police Department. Betsy would like for the Chamber to go with a Nativity scene and will check to see if we can borrow one for the parade. She will notify Chamber Board when she has details. There will be bell ringers here for the event however they will leave immediately after the parade. After the parade, Santa Claus will receive children at City Hall. Betsy will contact Diane Lynch about the Ham Give Away.
Jan Posavec has sold all the spaces for the Arts and Craft Show on December 6th. The show from 10:00A.M. until 8:00P.M. is at Erin City Hall. She is donating all proceeds from the show to the Houston County youth program. The Houston County Lions Club will have a gift wrapping booth.

Signature Health Care will honor the health care workers on November 13th at 6:00 P.M.
The Houston County Community Theatre’s “The Homecoming” will be held December 5th, 6th and 7th at the HCHS forum. Call 931-289-2787 (ARTS) for ticket information.

The Houston County Youth Choir Christmas Choir Concert will be held December 9th at 6:00 P.M. Admission is free. (Donations accepted)
The FCE Holiday Tour of Homes is December 14th from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M.
The Relay for Life sponsorship kick off campaign will be held November 17th at Erin City Hall.

Bettye McKinnon read the Governor’s letter of regret to his invitation to the Chamber Membership banquet.
With no further business or announcements, President Ligon adjourned the meeting.
The next scheduled meeting will be held December 4th at 12:00 noon.

Monday, September 17, 2007

U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation

A recent poll by the First
Amendment Center has determined that most Americans believe that the U.S.
Constitution establishes a Christian nation.  55% say that the
founders put Christianity into the Constitution.  Of course, such a
finding is not surprising given the steady drum beat of the various
fundamentalist Christian evangelical leaders and televangelists over the
last two decades.  Unfiltered by the media and traditional mainline
religious groups they declare  that the United States was founded as
a “Christian nation” and that it must be brought back to these roots, or
lose its divine guidance and calling by God to be the new chosen

This theme has reached hysterical
levels in the wake of September 11
th and has
often dangerously borrowed the bellicose language of the Crusades to
declare a holy war against the Muslim world; the same Crusade in which it
was proclaimed ‘to kill a pagan is to win glory, for it gives glory to
Christ.’ With these words came the slaughter of 70,000 Muslims and
Jews.  For contemporary evidence of where such unbridled rhetoric
leads we have only to witness the tragic results of the ill-fated invasion
and occupation of Iraq fueled by the misguided words of some of our

In the words of President Bush,
post 9-11, “This is a new kind of evil and we understand, and the American
people are beginning to understand, this crusade, this war on terrorism is
going to take awhile.”

Lt. General William Jerry Boykin,
former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence who has made claims that
his God is “bigger than theirs,” has repeatedly described from America’s
pulpits that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a “Christian holy
crusade against Islam,” a religion he suggested was aligned with Satan,
who he said wants to destroy us as a nation, and as a Christian

Just for the record, before the
next poll is taken, it should be compulsory for every American to
reexamine just exactly what our founding fathers thought about the role of
religion/Christianity in America.  Having fought to escape religious
persecution in Britain their thoughts should come as no surprise. 

While all the founding fathers
recognized religion’s valuable social role, they cherished the separation
of church and state and so did their government.

All of them emphasized the
supreme importance of individual reason and conscience – not
ecclesiastical authority and dogma.  Author, Bruce Bawer, in his
book, Stealing Jesus, gives us a summary of some of these

Jefferson said that he was not
generally disposed to seek his religion outside the dictates of his own
reason and feelings of his own heart. Jefferson also said, “There is not a
young man now living in the United States who will not die a

Washington could not accept the
conclusions [of religion] on the basis of authority or long-standing
belief; he was no mystic.  “He felt he did not know and could never
know.”  He added that he didn’t care which religion immigrants to the
United States might profess:  “…If they are good workmen, they may be
Mohammedans, Jews, or Christian of any sect, or they may be

Stephen Prothero, professor of
religion and author of the best-selling book, “Religious Literacy,” offers
a wise and well informed warning to those religious Americans who would
put God and country on the same line. He summarizes the case with three
salient points: 

“First, separation of church and
state is not so much a protection of American values as a protection of
Christianity.  Second, instead of being the faith that would change
hearts and minds it has become a religion of exclusivity.  Public
Christianity in America in all too many cases  has become what you
are opposed to, where “the religious dimension of America has collapsed
into the political dimension.”

Because we have so closely
blurred the lines between our nation and our religion we have diminished
both of legitimacy and meaning; we have lost the prophetic voice that can
speak truth to both, and ultimately heal our spirit.  This is what
happens when we put God and country on the same line.

While not a majority, this recent
poll demonstrates that there are still many millions of Americans who
believe that being saved by America and being saved by Christianity is not
one and the same.








Thursday, August 16, 2007



Assigned as reporter/producer and Bureau Chief at the United Nations in 1989 just prior to the Gulf War, Tom Osborne covered the UN for ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH PETER JENNINGS, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, NIGHTLINE, and 20/20, overseeing all editorial coverage for the various prime time news specials and general coverage for ABC news at the UN through 2000.

Elected president of the UN Correspondents Association in 1992, he inaugurated and chaired the 1992 series of international press conferences: "The UN in the Post Cold War Era". Convened at UN headquarters in New York, the conferences provided a forum for international journalists, members of the UN Security Council, the UN Secretariat to discuss UN Security Council forum and transparency; an issue under intense scrutiny in the wake of UN involvement in conflicts in the Iraq Gulf war, and the impending crises in the former Yugoslavia.

Prior to his UN assignment, Osborne covered NE U.S. for ABC News, New York Bureau.

Osborne served as U.S. Director of the Amsterdam-based ANNE FRANK FOUNDATION, 1984-1985, supervising the U.S. opening and national tour of the international archival photographic exhibition: ANNE FRANK IN THE WORLD: 1929-1945, created by the foundation. Osborne later inaugurated the U.S. tour of the exhibition, opening it in 18 U.S. cities. He inaugurated the first annual ANNE FRANK Award for Human Rights in the U.S.

In 1971, Osborne began serving as staff assistant and speech writer for various members of the South Dakota congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. He served in the Washington office of Rep. Frank E. Denholm, D.S.D. as legislative assistant and speech writer.

Thomas Osborne received a BA degree from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D. and completed his Masters of Divinity from Methesco Seminary in Delaware, Ohio. He studied at St. John's College, Durham University in Durham, England where he was accepted as a Ph. D. Candidate in the Department of Theology. He attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. while studying theology with the Paulist Fathers.

Osborne was recently awarded a 2006 Fellowship Award at St. John's College, University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom. Currently he has been teaching "U.S. Policy in the United Nations" at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN, and lectures on the topic "Behind the Bullets: The Failure of Diplomacy". He has been a frequent guest journalist on The Public Forum: The Teddy Bart Show, produced in Nashville.