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This is very well written, Mr. Osterman. Here is a link to a Washington Post article describing a recent Yale "meta" study showing what we already knew, which is that 97% of published scientific articles that take a position argue that human activity is causing our climate to warm.
The point of the study is not so much that 97% of climate scientists are in agreement. Rather, it is that half of Americans believe there is a 50/50 dispute within the scientific community. Yes, there are questions about how bad it might get and what should be done about it, but there is virtually no credible dissention on the primary assertion that global warming is happening and we are the primary cause.
Mr. Zehr wasn't missing the point; he was disagreeing with it.
...And Hitler might not have ever risen to power if the victors in WWI had shown the kind of mercy described in the above letter - thereby - perhaps - avoiding the need for such noble service and sacrifice in WWII as you describe above. Hitler didn't emerge in a vacuum. There was a context.
I read where the Boston bomber left a note saying he wanted to avenge the deaths of Muslims by killing Americans. Then I've read Facebook posts and viral emails that speak of the "dangers of Islam" and the need to keep Muslims out of "our" country. I find both sentiments to be offensive.
Bad things will happen and bad people will keep showing up, but a more forgiving, less tribal world would help, both on the global stage and in our own lives. It isn't easy to do in either place.
It's hard to know where to start in responding to such a letter as this.
When you are trying to get more people covered with health care and your efforts step on the toes of one branch of Christianity (the Catholics) on an issue (birth control) where most American Catholics disagree with the church leadership, THAT doesn't constitute hatred of Christianity. It just shows why politicians have ignored the health care crisis for decades: it's not easy.
When you recognize a group of citizens (gays), many of whom are in long-term partnerships and who suffer from the lack of being seen as equal under the law, taking action to make their lives better is NOT an attack on the Christian church. Yes, it can get complicated, but it is not done out of hatred. (I have a number of gay Christian friends, by the way.)
Over the course of four years in the White House, when you look at who has visited (which is a new transparency) and find 10 people you don't like on that list, that is not proof that Obama has "surrounded himself with...racists." (To the contrary, I think Obama has been amazingly race-neutral during his time in office.)
It is possible to disagree with policies without turning your opponent into Satan. For those of us who have followed the very moderate course of this president, and who have been frustrated by his repeated attempts to work with a Congress that has rebuffed him at almost every turn, this letter shows a real lack of understanding of those whom it is attempting to characterize as hateful. It just isn't true.
Mr. Filan writes of an "Edison Deception" and says "excess millions were spent without voter approval." Here is the text from the Edison bond that voters approved:
"... This proposition authorizes the district to replace Edison Elementary with a new elementary school and pay for other capital improvements; issue $19,500,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within 13 years ..." (bold emphasis mine)
Clearly and unambiguously, the bond that voters approved authorized the district to pay for other capital improvements, which is what the Board did, thus following the will of the people. Those other capital improvements had not yet been identified, but the Board was given the authority to pay for them once they were determined. There was no deception here.
Because I think there is a legitimate perspective that wasn't being represented by the comments. I don't see everything in black and white. I think the law should protect groups from discrimination, but at the same time I know people like Arlene, for whom I understand how difficult this issue might be.
Is it wrong to be able to see both sides?
I don't think we have to worry about heterosexual couples being denied services, but I do think the religious angle is complicated. On the one hand, the South did use the Bible to justify their pro-slavery beliefs...and there are passages in the Bible that seem to support that point of view. On the other hand, while the Bible doesn't spend a whole lot of time on homosexuality - and says nothing about lifelong, monogamous gay relationships or gay marriage - what it does say about homosexuality is not positive.
So, religious freedom allows churches to decide their own positions on gay marriage. That is as it should be. The challenge comes in the public sphere when someone runs a business open to the public or a non-church (like a Catholic hospital) hires employees and then wants to deny service and jobs to a whole group of people based on personal religious convictions.
Unless a win-win can be discovered - like having Catholic hospitals supply the basic insurance and then the insurance companies add the contraceptive coverage separately - someone is going to lose out.
namvet, I will admit this situation is more cloudy for me, but there are parallels.
Gay marriage isn't possible? Huh? Is the only thing that makes a marriage a marriage if the male part goes into the female part? What about heterosexual spouses who no longer have sex? They are not "married"? What about heterosexual couples who can't conceive children? Not married?
(You don't know many gay people, do you...)
As for the wording of R-74, here is how it appeared (see below). How is this misleading? It summarizes the main points of the bill that is being challenged:
"This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.
Should this bill be:
Approved [ ]
Rejected [ ]"
Not too long ago, if you were an African-American family from Texas who wanted to take a family vacation to Florida, you had to think hard about the logistics of your trip. Where would you stay along the way? Where would you eat? Where could you use a restroom? Most motels and restaurants along that route were owned by whites and wouldn't serve them. Those of us who are white can hardly fathom what that must have been like to even have to think about such considerations.
It became clear at that time in our history that when someone opens a business to "the public" - and takes advantage of the public roads and signs and police protection and other publicly paid for services - that those business owners have an obligation to open their businesses to the whole public. We can't say "No Jews" or "No Negroes." Today, a majority of WA citizens believe we can no longer say "No Gays" either.
Yes, absolutely, it IS your business and you get to make 99% of the important decisions about your business because you earned that right when you created it. But you still have to obey the law, which includes not discriminating against whole groups of people who have been protected by law.
Do I equate Arlene in Richland with the segregated cafes of the old south? Not exactly. I understand that for the older generation of Americans, they grew up when the American Psychiatric Association still listed homosexuality as an illness, and for many, this new acceptance of homosexuality seems to be coming way too fast. But Southerners also grew up thinking God ordained a separation between the races, so what are you going to do? It has to stop somewhere. I do sympathize with Arlene, but people need to be treated fairly under the law.
Last login: Thursday, May 16, 2013
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