Readers comments 7.25.12
We the people
Some people may have been surprised at my recent reference to “the intolerance and bigotry of some people from the radically secular left.” In that regard, however, consider a letter published in the Saturday, July 21 COURIER, “Council urged to stay neutral on religious events,” from 3 apparent lawyers who appear to represent an organization called “Americans United for Separation of Church and State.”
In their letter, they specifically object to the city sponsoring an event where a Catholic church might conduct mass, with invocations and benedictions, and yes, even to non-denominational prayers. And, unless our city meets their demands, naturally, they threaten to sue.
Intolerant and bigoted? Well, as the saying goes, if it walks like a duck...
Further, they write, “the Establishment Clause prohibits the city from including prayers at its events.” This Establishment Clause prohibition to which they refer originates in a very flawed Supreme Court decision, which space here does not allow us to explore. Suffice it to say, though, that our Founders intended to guarantee us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
Governments are administered by people, and people are flawed. Our Founders understood this very obvious reality and, for that reason, created what is to this date still the single greatest written document of established rules, and what to us as Americans is our highest level of established rules:?our national Constitution.
As individual citizens—intending to live freely and preserve our liberties—we must always be ready and willing to evaluate for ourselves the actions of all our governmental bodies, whether the Supreme Court, Congress, the federal government, a state or local government, or a school district, to assure ourselves that they are playing by the established rules.
The Founders hoped, by drafting a written Constitution, to avoid the situation where ‘we the people’ would become subject to the capricious whims of individual people who don’t want to play by any rules but their own.
Finally, I challenge the aforementioned letter-writers to cite to us the exact wording in the Constitution that prohibits even non-denominational prayers at a city-sponsored event, and then to explain to us—in their own words—how that wording logically supports their position.
Here is today’s headline from Iraq: “Attacks kill 106.” Does this lead to 24-hour continuous TV news coverage in the United States? Constant interviews with the survivors, friends and families? Showing that the victims are just like us? Showing that American lives are not more important than other people’s lives? You know the answers!
But what if we could say even a partial “yes” to these questions? Might that not begin to change our perceptions of violence, much of which is brought about world-wide by our own American imperialist policies? You don’t believe we are imperialist? Then why do we have over 1000 military bases in almost every country in the world?
Claremont mapping project
First, I want to thank the COURIER and Beth Hartnett for the excellent overview of my neighborhood research in the article “Defining Claremont neighborhoods.” It was a well written summary of the research I have done to date concerning neighborhoods. My having lived in Claremont for the past 15 years has only added to my interest in and appreciation for how neighborhoods and community operate.
Secondly, I wanted to take this opportunity to explicitly highlight one point: I am trying to raise the costs for doing this study—$3000 to cover the printing of surveys and the postage to mail them —from the community. We are about halfway to that goal, and have 2 weeks to reach it. I am using the Kickstarter. com website to see if community (those of us who live in Claremont) will fund community-based research of Claremont.
Of the close to 50 backers so far, most have pledged between $5 and $15. Many small pledges will make this project succeed. If you are interested in helping out, there are some wonderful enticements such as posters, t-shirts or perhaps a personalized report of your own neighborhood.
Please visit Kickstarter.com, and search under “Claremont” for the Our Neighborhood Mapping Project. Thank you.