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Issue Home April 12, 2005 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

What A Wake Up Call!

Following is a message we received from a friend we thought might make for a good read in the County Transcript.

Dear God:

Why didn’t you save the school children at Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96; Bethel, Alaska 2/19/97; Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97; West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97; Stamps, Arkansas 12/15/97; Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98; Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98; Fayetteville, Tennessee 5/19/98; Springfield, Oregon 5/21/98; Richmond, Virginia 6/15/98; Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99; Taber, Alberta, Canada 5/28/99; Conyers, Georgia 5/20/99; Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99; Fort Gibson, Oklahoma 12/6/99; Santee, California 3/5/01; and El Cajon, California 3/22/01? Sincerely, A Concerned Student.


Dear Concerned Student, I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God.

How did this get started? Let’s see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare complained she didn’t want any prayer in our schools. And, we said, OK.

Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says “thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbors as yourself.” And, we said, OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And, we said, an expert should know what he’s talking about so we won’t spank them anymore.

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they  misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty  member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued. And, we accepted their reasoning.

Then, someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won’t even have to tell their parents. And, we said, that’s a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to do it anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school. And, we said, that’s another great idea.

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And, we said, it doesn’t matter what anybody, including the President, does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good.

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And, we said, everyone’s entitled to free speech.

And the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex. And let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And, we said, it’s just entertainment, and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.

Undoubtedly, if we thought about it long and hard enough, we could figure it out. I’m sure it has a great deal to do with… “We Reap What We Sow.”


Gary Gray

Ararat, PA

The Right To Die With Dignity

Thank God for husbands like Michael Schiavo. He remained true to his beliefs and his wife's wishes, even under scrutiny from so-called religious do-gooders and the entire nation. He quietly carried out her wishes. Shame on this president and congress and Senator Rick Santorum for using this tragedy for political gain. Shame on the so-called religious leaders and the family who spewed their venom on national news. No wonder Michael couldn't be around them. They were "closed minded". No matter what Michael would have done, they would not have been satisfied. This choice happens to thousands of people every day and it is not an "easy" choice. We don't live forever in body, and I would certainly think that religious leaders would realize this more than anyone.

I am really tired of these people. They're people not God, spewing their venom on the rest of us who don't happen to agree with them. And, who is Randall Terry? Is this the same religious guy from Binghamton, NY who doesn't pay his taxes and who disowned his son because he's gay? This is, in a roundabout way, a beginning of a new debate on abortion and a government that wants to cut 40 billion from Medicare; you can't have it both ways. If you ask me, these religious beliefs are just as detrimental to our society as Islamic fundamentalists. I really don't see any difference. I thought Jesus tried to teach us to be inclusive and tolerant of each other . Variety is the spice of life, whether they like it or not. Otherwise, we would all have been created to look and act alike. People should really think about this. These beliefs are dividing us and ruining our country. There will never be peace on earth with leaders like this. These types of leaders start wars, cause division and strife from their narrow views. We should be careful who we follow and quit supporting these types of leaders, whether they be religious or government. This country was founded on religious freedom, separation of church and state, and freedom of choice. That way it works for all of us, not just a few. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.


John Hoffman

New Milford, PA

How About “No Kooks”?

There’s been a lot of concern lately about “the nuclear option “ – the Republican assault on our system of checks and balances. The very idea is so characteristic of an extreme authoritarian party, one that resents opposition and craves a monopoly of power, that it’s proper to take alarm.

But it should be pointed out that we wouldn’t have to worry about it at all if Mr. Bush weren’t intent on playing “parliamentary chicken” with his judicial nominees. He insists on sending up the most extreme ideologues he can find, and a lockstep Republican majority in the Senate is happy to rubberstamp them all, totally negligent in their duty. If he would only nominate moderates – jurists who will respect precedent – we wouldn’t have this problem.

But that’s not the GOP game plan. As true reactionaries, they resent much of the past 50 or so years of jurisprudence, and want to stack the courts with judges who may flat-out ignore any precedent that conflicts with their extreme ideology. These are precedents that have expanded freedom and protected our rights against abuses of power.

Now the key characteristic of Judicial Temperament is known as “Stare Decisis,” which means that first and foremost, a judge is bound by precedent. If there’s any decision anyone happens not to like, there’s only one legitimate means to address it: Constitutional Amendment. It is not a legitimate option to stack the judiciary with ideologues to shred decades of settled case law.

Rightists feel entitled, however, to make this dastardly end-run around precedent. They’ve complained for years about the scourge of “activist judges.” But as the Schiavo matter showed, such complaints are hypocritical malarkey. There, Rightists were upset that the courts failed to be activist. They exercised restraint, followed proper procedure and precedent, and did not deliver the outcome the Right Wing demanded. Congressional Republicans seemed to think that the courts were obliged to do whatever they instructed, but as an independent, co-equal branch of government they aren’t and must never be. The expectation runs counter to the notion of checks and balances; and any system where the courts are the lapdogs of the Executive or the Legislature would tend toward the tyrannical.

The plain fact is, the Republicans want judicial activism, just like (contrary to their rhetoric) they believe in big, intrusive government. They merely want such activism to achieve right-wing objectives: conformity, limited freedom and rights, and favoritism for the big money interests that line their pockets. And I caution people that this is an agenda they’ll continue to push aggressively as long as they continue to rubberstamp Republican candidates.

Divided government would make our rights a lot more secure.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

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