Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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The fight to keep religion free

George Foster - October 20th, 2005
Do you ever get informational mass emails from friends that sometime seem like a chore to read… if you even bother? Recently, I received an article written by radio personality Paul Harvey from a well-meaning Christian friend who probably didn’t expect anyone on his email list to actually reply. He sent me an opinion piece about Harvey’s outrage leveled against a court decision that disallowed organized prayer before one town’s high school football games.
Since I also need to fill space for this column, here was my friendly email response:

Dear Sam:
Thanks for the email, but tell that dim-witted Paul Harvey he might be welcomed in Iran by the Ayatollahs if he wants to live in a nation governed by a national church.
Thankfully, our founding fathers mentioned religion in our Constitution only once - with a reference prohibiting the establishment of religion by government. That way, individuals have the right of prayer and church preference OF THEIR CHOICE.
Freedom of religion is for everyone, not just the group that has the greatest numbers. When groups or governments are able to dictate their denomination’s prayers before football games, on City Hall’s walls, and in classrooms - that freedom is eroded for you, for me, all of us.
Before you start jumping up and down about taking away your prayer time, what is wrong with praying silently? I recall several references in the Bible when Jesus admonished those who appealed to God while “beating their chests” in public for appearances’ sake. In this country, we each have the right to pray silently anywhere, anyhow, and anytime we want.
Furthermore, as a Christian, I resent other Christians or groups dictating prayers for me on some perfunctory schedule and with words of their choice. As all of us do, I have my own relationship with God and I don’t need Paul Harvey or anyone else butting in. Mind your own business... GOOOOOD DAY.
Your old buddy - George

On a related note, the fiasco surrounding President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Harriett Miers, has reduced politics to a new low. Bush has justified Miers’ nomination by emphasizing that she is a member of an evangelical Christian church.
Bush’s emphasis of religion may be astute politically, but this is a first in my lifetime that any president would openly trumpet religious affiliation as an important rationale to seat a justice. It is obvious that the president is trying to appease his conservative base – but at what cost to our Constitution?
In the past, the opposite extreme was sometimes the case: membership in some religions was unofficially considered to be a disqualifier for a seat on the bench. If
the most capable person available were a Jew or Muslim, would the president
be emphasizing the candidate’s religion? Not likely.
I thought the idea was to pick the nine best lawyers in the country as Supreme Court Justices What ever happened to being an expert in constitutional law? Isn’t past experience and accomplishments as a lawyer and judge just a little important?
Americans have been taught that the freedom to practice any faith was a cornerstone in the founding of this country. It would not be surprising that, if present today, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, et al would be dusting off their muskets once again in response to an awakening of the Church of England and religious intolerance.
There is nothing wrong with Harriet Miers being religious. We should all be outraged, though, that her denomination now seems to be a prerequisite for this job.




 
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