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Fr. Bill Carmody would do well to acquire more accurate recollections of history, decades- as well as centuries-old, on church-state separation ("No separation," Letters, Nov. 20).
He accuses JFK of "dismissing" his Catholic faith in order to win the presidency in 1960. On the contrary, what JFK said in his speech to the Houston Ministerial Association was that he would specifically not disavow his church in order to win the election, but that he also considered the presidency a great office that must not be humbled "by making it the instrument of any one religious group."
Regarding his religious convictions and his respect for democratic principles, he went so far as to say that if the presidency should ever require him to choose between violating his conscience or violating the national interest, he would resign the office.
Thus he was fundamentally in accord with the ideals of church-state separation embraced by our founders. Said Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence: "Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions," and there should be a wall of separation between the two. James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution (and, it can be noted, a minority voice in opposing anti-Catholic prejudices in his time), said using religion to guide civil policy amounts to "an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation."
The fact is, Kennedy in 1960 articulated well the bedrock church-state separation convictions our founders fought for. It is unfortunate that 53 years later, we've regressed from those convictions, as operatives in the spheres of religion and politics continue colluding to impose selective faith tenets on us all, regardless of our individual beliefs, abetted by the kind of misconstrued and amnesiac history Fr. Carmody has shown.
— Ken Burrows
The bigger lie
I am perplexed about the outrage over the stuttering start of Obamacare. The president told people that if they liked their insurance plans, they could keep them. This has turned out to be untrue for about 5 percent of the population. Of that 5 percent, some may be able to get a better deal. Hard to know how many of that 5 percent would have had their plans canceled anyway.
But I guess he lied. Get out the pitchforks and torches!
Turn on any news channel or open any newspaper and share the outrage! Watch his descent in the polls! He also told all of us when he was running in '08 that we could have a government-funded public option health insurance. He was elected on that premise, among others. Keeping that promise would have avoided all of these train wrecks.
Shortly after being elected, he made it known that the public option would be bargained away. This was a betrayal and a much bigger lie. The response in the media? Ho hum.
I guess if you want to deceive everyone and get away with it, you should go big.
— Steve Milligan
I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Abbott's letter about the cost of freedom (Letters, Nov. 20). I find it interesting that the same people who complain about a "curtailment of their freedom" by being mandated to buy health insurance are not complaining about having to pay for homeowner's insurance, auto insurance, etc. The same principle of cost-sharing by all applies in both instances, thereby providing protection from catastrophic events.
— Rhona Fletcher
A veteran's lament
The title of Charles H. Guy's essay ("We mortals should hate war," Your Turn, Nov. 6) drew me in like a moth to a light.
I served in the United States Army, and I made that decision to change my life and make a difference. I went into the military not too long after 9/11, and at a period in which we had no idea what our next step was going to be. I went to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and it was a life-changing experience on many different levels.
We lost one soldier in our company that year, a young man that still had so much of his life to live. Some may say that our company was lucky for only losing one person, and I say that it is one person too many.
The day that he died, I looked out over the desert horizon, and thought to myself. Why are we here? What are we doing? If I died right now, would I feel like my life was lost for something important and that mattered?
That day was a big wake-up call for me, and my thoughts on the war changed drastically. We wasted money on things like sod — yes, that's right, we tried to grow grass in the desert. I also believe that we lost precious lives on a war that started in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Thank you for this article, and know that there are veterans that feel the same way.
— Cat Thomas
Protected by law
Yes, I did feel a shudder while reading the New Mexico Supreme Court opinion that Whitney Galbraith ("An American gulag," Letters, Nov. 6) so helpfully referenced. However, my shudder was for the twisted logic that claims "an excruciatingly tortured and highly discriminatory rights ideology" for the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA).
Contrary to Mr. Galbraith's misleading claims, the case regards discrimination by a public business. The photography business is incorporated as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) in New Mexico. Any services an LLC provides to the public must also comply with the NMHRA, including non-discrimination against persons solely for their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
The decision was against the LLC, not the photographer. The opinion was quite readable and very clear on the applicability of the NMHRA to the business, and, also, on the questions of potential infringements of the photographer's rights.
It pointed out the subtle distinction that providing a service does not necessarily construe endorsement of a client's beliefs or activities. Nor does complying with the law necessarily reflect the views of the owners of the LLC, which is a pretty standard disclaimer to display, and is also fairly well understood.
The photographer was not prohibited from free association, nor compelled to think, believe, or speak any government doctrine as was insisted by Mr. Galbraith.
Sorry, Mr. Galbraith, but bluster all you want, as is your right, but history is littered by war and violence driven by racism and bigotry, and you won't find those practices enjoying protected status by law.
— Dan Marvin