I read the Nov. 25 article, “Clergy struggle to maintain civility,” by Beacon Journal staff writer Dave Scott. Although the article was nicely written, I find it left more questions than it answered.

Society throws out shock words to stir controversy and debate without proper definitions. The local pastors mentioned the word “civility” without fully describing what it means to be civil.

They didn’t give an example of how, during this recent election, the American people were not civil. The truth is, America was civil in the true sense of the word. The definition of civil is: Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns of government.

Americans went to the polls and exercised their civility by voting. I don’t recall any news stories of cars set on fire or cities in riots, like when a basketball team loses a championship game.

If tough debate via exchanges of strong opinions is uncivil, then may America never be civil.

An exchange of strong ideas is what makes for a healthy debate.

An additional shock word thrown out often is “intolerance.” Again, my question is, what do the pastors think intolerance means?

Bishop Johnson states, “You don’t have to do it, but tolerate it.” I have much respect for Bishop Johnson, but would like to ask him, to what degree do we tolerate an opposing moral view? Do we welcome and support morals that many deem are detrimental to the greater society? Does Johnson welcome, tolerate and employ those whose lifestyle is against scripture and Judeo-Christian values?

I wonder how tolerant Dietrich Bonhoeffer was in Germany.

It is easy to throw out words and label those who hold to moral standards as intolerant. Conservative moral people have the civil duty to speak out against what they believe is the decay of absolutes.

Johnson also stated that “fundamentalism is an extreme reaction to modernism.”

Theology aside, without fundamental values, all society is left with is a church and a people without standards and a God of pluralism. I only hope that Johnson could elaborate more on this issue.

Those who preach tolerance don’t simply want their beliefs stated but want a stamp of approval by those who oppose their beliefs and lifestyles. It isn’t enough for those who preach tolerance just to pass a law; they want the whole of society’s blessings.

For those who stand their ground, well, they will just be demonized with the label of intolerance.

By the way, how tolerant are we this year of the manger scene in public? I suppose it’s a one-way street with no room in the local inn.

Ken Loughney

Lake Township

Move on

I have to say that I was not surprised but was still extremely upset by Marla Ridenour’s Nov. 25 article. (“Tressel steals spotlight on day that belongs to Meyer”).

The Ohio State Buckeyes had just completed an undefeated season, had beaten Michigan in “The Game” and all she could come up with is how Jim Tressel stole the spotlight?

For those of us at home watching the game, we saw maybe 15 seconds of recognition for the 2002 National Championship team, hardly stealing the spotlight.

If it lasted longer between quarters at the game, I guess the 107,000 people who stood on their feet and cheered didn’t feel as vindictive as Ridenour was.

Every quote from current players was positive. Why must her focus be so mean spirited and negative?

There were so many positive parts of the day and season about which she could have chosen to write.

Does she really think Urban Meyer was upset?

Yes, there is no bowl game. We have all moved on. Can’t she?

Mark Wisberger

Akron

Undemocratic?representation

It’s really a shame State Issue 2 failed. An analysis of U.S. House races confirms what was expected after Republicans drew new district lines last year: 12 Republican seats in Congress to the Democrats’ four, a 75 percent share despite Republicans getting 52 percent of the vote.

That 23 percentage-point difference is even larger than 2010, when Republicans scored 16 percentage points higher in seats than their share of the popular vote, the result of their redistricting after the 2000 census.

At the state legislative level, it’s just as bad. Democrats running in the 99 Ohio House races received approximately 60,000 more votes than the Republicans (out of 4.8 million cast), according to unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office.

Yet Republicans could end up with a 60-39 advantage, a supermajority, after recounts in two races.

It’s the same at the national level. Democrats running for Congress received about a half-million more votes overall than Republicans, yet John Boehner’s caucus will have at least a 35-seat advantage (even if Democrats win two undecided races).

This should sicken anyone interested in democratic representation.

Representatives are picking voters instead of the reverse.

Unable to gerrymander in statewide or national races, Republicans turn to voter suppression, registration drive restrictions, fear-mongering and lying, aided by unregulated cash from their corporate sponsors.

This time, at least, it largely failed. Against enormous odds, the Democrats retained the presidency and added two seats in the Senate, but because gerrymandered districts let the House remain Republican, Republicans are predictably saying: OK, you won, now here are our demands.

Whatever problem voters had with Issue 2, anything would be fairer than what we have now.

It seems unlikely Statehouse Republicans will agree to change the redistricting process that has been so generous to them.

The only way to get this done is through the referendum process. I hope proponents of fair representation will persist and draft a new approach that can win voter approval.

John A. Denker

Twinsburg

Looking to 2016

Is there any doubt that by the 2016 election, the Republican Party will continue to defend its core values and current leadership, which defined the 2012 platform?

In other words, nothing will change in four years.

Go Hillary!

David Milkovich

Akron

Tax cuts ?and increases

Obfuscation, distortions and lies typical of 2012 election campaigns are now contaminating discussions about how to address the alleged “fiscal cliff.”

Among the most obnoxious concern federal income tax rates.

First is the issue of exactly how higher-income taxpayers would be affected by President Obama’s proposal to retain existing tax rates for those with incomes below $250,000 per year while raising rates for those with incomes above $250,000 per year. As pointed out on MSNBC’s The Last Word on Monday evening, every current federal income taxpayer would benefit under Obama’s proposal because all income up to $250,000 per year would remain taxed at current rates, regardless of an individual’s total income level.

Only income above that figure would be taxed at a higher rate.

Second is the issue of what tax rate each of us actually pays. Regardless of what may be done in the short term to cope with the “fiscal cliff,” immediate adoption of a requirement that each taxpayer calculate his or her actual federal tax rate should eliminate this confusion.

Each taxpayer’s actual federal tax rate can easily be determined by dividing “total tax” (line 35 on the 2011 Form 1040) by “total income” (line 15 on the 2011 Form 1040) — 8.2 percent for me.

The IRS should also be required to calculate this actual tax rate for representative samples of each taxpayer category and publish the results.

These data should help guide a reasoned public and congressional discussion about the merits and means of reforming the tax code in ways that sustain or increase federal revenues while simplifying tax forms.

J. Howard Harding

Akron

Stick with ?the Electoral College

Steve Chapman’s Nov. 16 column, headlined “Democratic and undemocratic Electoral College,” recommended that our presidential elections be decided by popular vote.

Unfortunately, such a system would lead to endless recounts and accusations of vote-counting fraud, especially in the larger states.

Even if the totals were entirely accurate, three of the largest states would dominate.

This year, California had a 2.5-million vote majority for Obama; New York, a 1.5-million vote majority for President Obama; and Texas, a 1.25-million vote majority for Mitt Romney.

There would no longer be any need to appeal to the political center.

Under the current system, many states are ignored because their preferences are predictable.

But under a popular-vote system, states would be ignored merely because of their small populations.

Chapman’s cure would be worse than the disease.

Richard V. Levin

Fairlawn