The Madison County Journal
October 25, 2000
Drug counseling program
should not receive government money
The first clause of the First Amendment to the United States
Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof...." It is this clause that creates the principle
of separation of church and state.
Several questions arise from this simple statement. By "Congress"
does the rule prohibit only the U.S. Congress, or does it apply
to all legislative bodies, including state legislatures and local
boards? Does granting of funding, or contracts for services to
a church-based organization violate this rule?
Answers to these questions apply to the legality of the Madison
County Board of Commissioners funding a church-based drug treatment
program. I believe that they do.
The board of commissioners cannot directly contribute funds to
any private organization. They can sign a contract for such organizations
to provide service to the public. For example, each of the 11
volunteer fire departments receives county funds. In return,
they have a contract to provide fire protection to the county.
The board agreed to a contract with a local drug abuse organization,
which has now been returned. One of the arguments against this
effort is the religious basis of the organization. Now some people
involved with the effort are trying to divorce it from direct
I think there is a better way. I like the statement that charity
begins at home. That means to me that the federal government
has no proper role to play in providing personal services to
the public. State and local governments have only a minimal role
to play. The majority of efforts to help those in our community
who cannot help themselves should fall on faith- and service-based
We Americans are a generous people. When we have an opportunity
and the means to do so, we will make sure that anyone needing
help will recieve it.
The problem today is that government takes far too much of our
income in the form of taxes. A large portion of this tax money
is used to build massive, inefficient bureaucracies that spend
far more on staff and offices than they do on the needy.
The best way to provide services to our unfortunate citizens
is to get government out of the welfare business, eliminate the
taxes used to pay for these wasteful programs and allow the citizens
to support those private programs that prove by their efforts
that they deserve support.
Local volunteer agencies have the ability to determine who needs
help and who is trying to rip off the system. They can function
with few overhead expenses, allowing them to devote nearly all
funds to helping others. They do not have to deal wth destructive
In an ideal world, every person would have the ability to take
care of themselves and their families. They would not need to
beg for charity in order to live. Most of us, given the opportunity,
can do that. The few who cannot deserve our help and support.
But that help should come from family and community, not government.
One way to restore and preserve our freedom is to return to us
the responsibility for our lives and those of our family and
neighbors. Freedom cannot exist unless government is limited
to its essential duties, and we are allowed to be responsible
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net.
The Madison County Journal
October 25, 2000
In Other Words
I'll admit, my "Raider glass" was "half-empty"
as I rode to Danielsville Friday night.
And while I've never been accused of being an eternal optomist,
I felt Madison County's unbeaten record warranted some serious
concern as I sped down Hwy. 29 before the Raiders were set to
tangle with also-unbeaten Wesleyan - one of the most intriguing
homecoming matchups in Danielsville in years.
The foe - 6-0 in a region schedule, ranked seventh in class A,
with 67 players - boasted a lineman who will have his bags packed
for Tallahassee next school year, the land of Bobby Bowden's
"Not like anything these boys have seen this year, no sir,"
I thought to myself, pre-analyzing the game as the stadium lights
As a sportswriter, you always have to look at things with a skeptical
Well, maybe my skeptical eyes need some contacts. The men in
red and gray proved Friday that while they can wipe the floor
with the patsies without breaking a sweat, they can also dispose
of the big boys and look darn convincing doing it.
While I don't want to call Madison County's 28-18 triumph over
the private school from Gwinett County monumental in Raider history,
I do think it was a defining moment. Defining the character of
the team, defining the goals of the program. Madison County knew
they were going to win that football game (in my opinion at least).
Why were they going to win? Because they did it seven other times
this year. It's amazing what winning can do for your psyche,
no matter who you beat. And that was my main knock on the Raiders
While I definitely thought this year's bunch was a greatly improved,
solid group of tenacious, hard-hitting guys with a down-to-earth
blue-collar mentality, I didn't really believe they had the credentials
to knock off Wesleyan. Who had they played?
First-year programs Apalachee and Union Grove were basically
glorified JV teams; 0-8 North Hall probaly had to add a third
digit to their score board to count all the points their opponents
were ringing up; Jackson County is well, Jackson County; 0-7
Warren County gave the Raiders all they could handle; and the
Raiders had a tough go at it with 2-5 South Forsyth.
The thrashing of 5-2 Class A Jefferson was the lone feather in
the cap of the 2000 season thus far. The wins were nice and good
for morale but some seemed to lack substance.
However, they built an air of confidence in a program so used
to losing to squads with dominant numbers. And the substance
showed Friday night.
The Raiders played like a possessed team on a mission. They ran
right at the ranked squad, pounded the ball between the tackles,
held their blocks longer, hit with more force.
They knew that they would fight harder and the scoreboard would
smile down on them in the end because this was the formula that
worked all year.
And it did, much to the suprise of sports-writers like me who
never played a down of football and study records and compare
scores to assess a game - haven't we learned games aren't played
For the Raiders this was a steppingstone game for the program.
Had they lost, people in the area may have dismissed them as
forging their way to an eye-catching record with a bunch of pushovers.
I'm sure Madison County proved more than one person wrong when
they sent Wesleyan home with a notch in the loss column for the
first time this year. I didn't predict that my alma mater would
lose, I just had a lot of doubts and the Wesleyan game would
provide me with answers.
Well I don't have any more questions.
May the Madison County football program continue to prove me
wrong in the future.
Ben Munro is a reporter for The Madison County Journal.