Recently Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has been in
trouble with the law because of a stone monument he has installed in a court
house. He has been ordered to remove the Decalogue because nothing in the
United States Constitution gives him the right to display it.
American law is not based on the Ten Commandments as Mr. Moore and friends
would have you believe! American law is generally viewed as having secular origins. Our laws are based on English common and statutory law, Roman law, the civil law of
continental Europe and was also influenced by the Magna Carta, the Federalist Papers and the writings of William Blackstone, John Locke, Adam Smith and others.
It‘s NOT against the law to have or worship other gods, or make a graven
image or take the Lord‘s name in vain. It‘s NOT against the law to not keep
holy the Sabbath. It‘s NOT against the law not to honor your mother or
father. It‘s NOT against the law (nowadays) to commit adultery. It‘s NOT
against the law to bear false witness (the Religious Right does it every
day). It‘s NOT against the law to covet thy neighbors goods or wife.
The only two commandments that apply to the law are killing and stealing,
and a long time before the Hebrews came on the scene, the Egyptians,
Babylonians, Sumerians, the Mesopotamians, etc., had laws against killing
In the United States you can call God by any name you like, and you may
worship in any way you like, so long as you harm none. You may sing or chant
or dance or sit in silence, you may even roll on the floor and handle
snakes. You may speak or write your beliefs without fear and you may
persuade anyone you can to come and believe with you.
The only thing you cannot do is use the law to force your beliefs on those
who do not share them.
You can be Wiccan and worship a Goddess. You may be Puritan or Roman
Catholic or Anglican or Jewish.
You can observe the Passover or the season of Lent. You can be Muslim and
celebrate the Hirja and look forward to the birth of Muhammad. You may
follow Shinto or be a Buddhist. You may seek help from a Navajo shaman. How
good it is that we in the U.S.A. have the freedom of religion without fear!
If Chief Justice Moore had carved in stone the “Bill of Rights“ and placed
them in his courthouse perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Baptist
Joint Committee on Public Affairs, the Commission on Social Action of Reform
Judiaism, the Interfaith Alliance, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the American Jewish Congress, the
Arab-American Anti-Defamation League and several other legal scholars,
historians and others would not have found it necessary to file suit in the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District.
This is our Republic if we can keep it. We are not yet a Theocracy!
Rev. Robert F. Donaldson East Jordan
A war based on lies
When I was in Vietnam we were told that we were fighting for democracy and to
liberate the Vietnamese people. History has shown that the Gulf of Tonkin
incident and the war were based on lies. Over 68,000 American troops died.
Hundreds of thousands more were wounded - physically and/or mentally. We were
treated to Agent Orange and denial and benefit cuts by our government.
Our service people in Iraq are facing a much worse fate. Our government is
using depleted uranium to tip all of our shells and bombs. The explosions
generate microscopic particles that contaminate everything, including the air.
This substance infects the body and never goes away. It results in cancer,
deformed children, and other yet unnamed malfunctions. We used depleted uranium in
the first Gulf War and over 300,000 troops are suffering. Our government
The government/media encourage us to wave the flag and “Support The Troops.“
They are killing our troops. I say “Protect The Troops“ from a
government/military/industrial/media complex that only cares about money.
Arnold Stieber Grass Lake, MI
An end to the strike?
It is my wish to put into fresh perspective the current crisis at Northern Michigan Hospital and its likely outcomes. There are uncanny parallels between
our situation here and a recently settled strike at Nyack Hospital New York. In brief:
In 2000, 460 nurses organized and eventually went out on strike at Nyack Hospital in pursuit of better quality patient care and better working conditions for nurses.
Nyack Hospital pursued a similar “hardball“ strategy as Northern Michigan Hospital, utilizing the services of the now familiar strikebreaking agency
U.S. Nursing Corporation.
Nyack Hospital hit financial bottom when it reported a $34 million loss in 2000, at least $19 million of which was due to strike-related expenses. (Recall NMH is now seeking approval from the State to borrow $10 million dollars “due to circumstances out of our control.“
Nyack brought a lawsuit against U.S. Nursing Corporation to recoup dollars it said it was overcharged.
After a six-month strike, the hospital finally reached a three-year contract agreement with its unionized nursing staff.
Immediately after the strike, a new hospital management team was hired at Nyack as part of its uphill struggle to bring the hospital back into financial health.
What can we learn from Nyack? Not only is “playing hardball“ to union-bust your nurses costly and damaging, but it is likely to end in failure. In order to get such a damaged hospital back on its financial feet, a clean sweep is often needed of the management team responsible for the damage. Such reclusive and unaccountable management teams often become the subject of federal and/or state investigations regarding their use or misuse of funds.
Should we trust the reassuring words of NMH management? Recently Tom Mroczkowski, NMH‘s COO wrote in his guest editorial: “I must say that I felt a deep
pride when we met with the Governor‘s Blue Ribbon Panel.“ He made no mention that under his leadership management had previously stone-walled the panel, or that some currently employed NMH doctors who wished to testify at the hospital‘s closed door meeting were told by management “you are not invited.“ These doctors subsequently wrote a letter to the panel protesting having been shut out of the meeting. Nor
did he mention that on more the one occasion his employees had to be reprimanded by panel members for insulting the Blue Ribbon Panel and the whole information gathering process (this is a matter of public record - you can obtain the full NMH testimony by contacting www.Mash406NMHNurses.)
What does NMH management have to hide? Why did it require a “private meeting“ with the panel, and then deny some of its own doctors the right to testify? NMH
management is now asking the State to approve an additional $10 million loan, but they have not been forthcoming with the public about how much and where they‘ve been spending our precious healthcare dollars over the last 10 months. Let the public beware.
Jim Norgaard Petoskey