- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Establishment Clause and ‘God-talk’

How did the establishment clause — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” — evolve into the state shall not allow the practice of religion within any of its environments or by any of its employees while working (“The role of ‘God-talk,’ ” Editorial, Friday)?

These lawsuits would take the chaplain away from our troops, the priest away from the convict who is facing the death penalty and remove all moral foundations, including our history, irregardless of religion, away from all government entities. Our government system requires balance. Separation of church and state is a heuristic judicial interpretation, not a constitutional and agreed-upon right. The citizens must enforce their right to redress judicial interpretations through the legislative process. Just as the citizens who voted down a school bond because the school would not allow Christmas, they should demand a referendum to redress all judicial interpretations that are deemed unconstitutional. If they don’t, the state will continue to eradicate First Amendment rights. We will end up with an elite group of “alpha-plus” intellectuals interpreting their relativistic immorality into momentary justice without values. The rule of law will become the rule of the exception.


Peyton, Colo.

Christmas tree, not ‘holiday tree’

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert recently presided over the lighting of something called a “Capitol Holiday Tree” in Washington (“All lit up,” Metropolitan, Dec. 10). The more I thought about it, the more Mr. Hastert’s act reminded me of the Clinton impeachment.

Life’s twists and turns are what they are. Of course, Bill Clinton’s view as president was a little different. He suggested things depend upon what “is” actually is. Apparently, so does Mr. Hastert.

I always thought the lighted trees in my house and community this time of year were Christmas trees, not “holiday trees,” and would have thought that after the November election there would be no doubt about it. After all, it would seem that the moral-value tent would include Christmas values, especially at this time of year. Apparently not.

When lighting the evergreen and calling it a “holiday tree,” Mr. Hastert was trying to say it belongs to us all. True enough. But isn’t it really a you-know-what?



For a national ID card

I don’t agree with your editorial that national identity cards are not required (“National ID in Britain?”, December 7). They would not cause America to become a police state. The only people who are afraid to tell the world who they are are illegals and criminals.

I, for one, am proud of my name and who I am. I think the average Joe six-pack feels the same. Photo identity is currently done by driver’s license. Currently we have 50 different sets of driving laws and methods of obtaining identity for the license.

A national identity card could be as little as a Social Security card with a picture on it. It could also be a lot more involved: Green markings for green-card holders, or, say, orange for guest workers if and when President Bush’s proposed temporary-worker program ever becomes reality.

Our borders seem to be like a sieve. Let’s not forget that more people were killed on September 11, 2001 than were killed at Pearl Harbor. It is a historical fact that people will give up some of their liberties in times of emergencies.

I am not ashamed or afraid to tell the world who I am.


Ocean Pines, Md.

Against ‘gangster’ mentality

I am a conservative Republican who (hopefully) thinks independently of any platform, and Deborah Simmons’ column Friday (“Speak up, speak out,” Op-Ed) struck a chord with me. I am a high-school teacher in Stafford County Public Schools in Virginia with the program “Turning Point.” Most of my students are “at risk,” and their last opportunity to succeed is in this program. We consist of two teachers and 60 to 90 enrolled students. We teach high-school subjects to complete the requirements for a diploma, and we also have classes in GED preparation. My students have a hard time being successful in a school setting because, in my opinion, they have adopted a “gangster” mentality. This is not limited to any race or economic level. Students elevate stupidity and crudeness to new levels. It is cool to be a thug. The mass media has honored this subculture.

This attitude is a stumbling block to achieving success in school. When are people with integrity and honor going to stand up and point out that the king has no clothes? When are we going to recognize intelligence and achievement in our children, and condemn ignorance? Teachers are bailing out of the profession in droves. Who wants to be abused on a daily basis? Who stays in teaching? The answer is, people who learn to overlook the obvious, people who will not challenge the trends of modern society for the good of their students and at their own expense.

Once I get over the hurdle of purging the “gangster,” these students prove to be wonderful people with unlimited potential. I love my job and the kids that come here.


Orange, Va.

Think twice before moving

As an American who has lived in Canada for the last 13 years, I enjoyed reading Wesley Pruden’s column “The long goodbye by the soreheads” (Nation, Friday). It will be a shock for American escapees when they learn that many Canadians are just as rude as anyone else. In my little corner of Toronto I’ve had to deal with, among other things, my children being shoved, the local cold-fish style of neighbors and waiters, and road-rage encounters. Rarely seen is a door held open, and good luck getting out of a parking lot into heavy traffic.

On the other hand, I have met some of the nicest people on Earth, just like back home in Texas. So if soreheads want to flush themselves north, do it because of a preference for one-party state autocracy with its lack of true constituent representation and local governance, or some other more accurate reason.


Mississauga, Ontario

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