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News arrow Opinion arrow Letters to the Editor arrow Letters to the Editor published Saturday, September 24, 2011

Letters to the Editor published Saturday, September 24, 2011 Print E-mail
Written by The Curry Coastal Pilot   
September 23, 2011 09:37 pm
Exact wording of the First Amendment
Editor:
In response to Ms. Malone’s letter in the September 21, 2011, issue of the Pilot she states, “our First Amendment guarantees separation of church and state.” That is incorrect. 
The exact wording of the First Amendment is: “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.”
Nowhere in the Amendment are the words or term “separation of church and state” used. This term was used by Thomas Jefferson in a personal letter to a church group.  
I love her thinking in that “it approaches an infringement of this right.” Apparently it is not an infringement in her mind, so what’s her point?
In my opinion, our students, schools, cities, states and nation need all the help and prayers they can get!  
Allan W. Stewart
Brookings

Public prayer doesn’t infringe on any laws
Editor:
Really? Walking around the school and praying for safety, against drugs, against bullying, for financial support, for a successful school year, for honorable leadership is a problem in any way shape or form? We also have the right to ask our God for godly leadership, not the government.
Yes, we pray in our homes and churches. There is a Scriptural purpose to the walking around the grounds. I don’t expect one who has little or no knowledge of Scripture to know that, hence the comment, “… could have served the same purpose of prayer for schools within their churches.” You are free to not know as I am free to know.
The First Amendment says the government can’t establish a state church or stop me from taking part in my religion. (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 assembly, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.) That is the separation that was created. 
To even suggest that to be seen in public praying at a school infringes on any law is … unconstitutional.  And, yes, you have every right to walk around the school with signs declaring separation of church and state. (We had no signs.)  
I hope you are as respectful as we were to do that when school is not in session.
Laurie Reynolds
Brookings

Questions about county park proposal
Editor:
After clearing my work schedule, I was able to attend Commissioner Rhodes presentation for job creation by developing Oregon State Park Natural Area Floras Lake/Blacklock and the airport.
The promise was made that new aspects of the proposal and questions would be answered that had not previously been addressed. Questions about what kind of living wage amount would be created, would all of Curry County’s unemployed be eligible for these jobs and how would employees be transported to the area?
What about the soil in the area? Have studies been done for suitability for building? What about the holes that were dug there, was that for research?
Golf courses need fertilizer, insecticides, and other chemicals to keep them polished. How will the freshwater fish and birds and folks with wells and the cranberry bogs be affected?
All the income and employee data shown were from the Bandon Dunes Course. How is it similar to the Port Orford area development? In terms of the high winds and fog, will the winter storms and wind shut the place down for six months of the year?
How are the three courses in Bandon, the Gold Beach course and our Salmon Run doing financially?
Who are the Unnamed Potential Developers who will have lease control for 99 years?
The Floras Lake State Natural Area is to be cherished and protected for the citizens of Oregon for generations to come. It is one of the most beautiful, private on the Coastal Trail, our heritage.
Deborah Crawford
Brookings

A right to free exercise of religion
Editor: 
When one quotes the Constitution it would help to have read it. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
There is nothing prohibiting a group of clergy from the free exercise of their religion by walking around a school and praying. That is their right under the Constitution.  If you don’t like it, don’t participate; that is your right under the Constitution.  
It is not your right, however, to demand that they pray only in their church. Nothing in the Constitution gives one the right of selective hearing and/or selective seeing. 
Thomas Jefferson’s test of the Constitutionality an act was given in the letter to the Danbury Baptist ministers. He stated that there should be a two-pronged check. First, is the act an establishment of a state religion. Secondly, is it enforced by a federal penalty for non-compliance? As an example, look at the words “under God,” in the “Pledge of Allegiance.” It is not an attempt to establish a state religion, and there is no law that says you must say the words, part of the words or the whole pledge. There is no federal penalty for refusal to say the words. Thus, according to Thomas Jefferson, it would be totally Constitutional.  
Did any of the ministers in question demand of the school any participation in the walk? Did they demand that the school and all in it join their religion? Was there any federal penalty for not participating? Did the F.B.I. come to your home and arrest you for not participating? 
This is a Constitutionally protected, “Free Exercise of Their Religion. 
Dom Petrucelli
Brookings
New taxes won’t magically fix things 
Editor: 
DMV was closed last Friday ... something about funding or budget cuts. 
Hey! I've got an idea! Raise the taxes on the rich in Oregon! Er, wait ... didn’t we just do that a few years ago? 
By golly, we need to do something about our crumbling infrastructure. We need more revenue. 
Noticed a funny little sticker on the fuel pump last time I filled up. Showed how much money per gallon went to state and federal governments. I bet when they enacted that it was a lot lower and with a promise that it would stay that way. 
Don’t be a sucker! Your life won’t magically get better by taxing some other fella. They just want your vote.
Mark Thomas 
Gold Beach

Doing the same old thing isn’t working
Editor: 
As we all know, from the news that all of Curry County is struggling financially, and perhaps, going bankrupt. 
Einstein said, you cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result (paraphrased). It does seem like our county and city people keep doing the same things and getting farther toward deficit spending. 
For example: Why is the sheriff flying helicopters around the county looking for marijuana? One hour in a larger helicopter is probably a $1,000 per hour, plus men and equipment on the ground to pull up and destroy plants. Take that cost to several days a month level. ... Is that a judicious use of taxpayers’ money? I don’t think so! Marijuana is here to stay. 
What about consolidating the three police forces and eliminating the sheriff’s department and its bureaucracy? How about lowering the number of county and city highway construction men seen leaning on shovels talking from four down to three? Why was the money spent on a questionable new clinic not used to refurbish Curry General Hospital? 
Finally, why isn’t the Tea Party protesting the county going after federal money and grants? I haven’t heard any outrage over local government rattling their sabers for more taxes, either. ... 
Mike Schrum 
Brookings 

Misunderstanding the Constitution
Editor:
Recent letters to the paper show some basic misunderstandings about the Constitution of the United States in general, and the Bill of Rights in particular. It would be beneficial to all of us to get our own copy and read it …  read it thoroughly, read it slowly, read it out loud, read it alone, read it in a crowd. …
As you read, you might be surprised to find that certain words are not there – words like “separation” or “guarantee.” You will find phrases like “Congress shall make no law, …shall not be infringed, …  shall not be violated, … without due process of law, … shall be preserved. ...” Perhaps it would be more meaningful to think of “The Bill of Rights” as “The Bill of Restrictions” to keep the government from interfering with our rights.  
So, “Where do our right come from?” you ask. May I direct you to another, and equally important, document, “The Declaration of Independence,” which explains the origin of our rights. The source of our rights may surprise some, but they could not come from any more High an Authority.
As Americans, we enjoy freedoms that few other countries have, but we must always remember – “Freedom is not the right to do or say as we please, but the opportunity to do as we should.”
Roger Liles
Brookings

Abandon county park proposal
Editor: 
For more than a decade, I have made annual escapes to the pristine beaches and forests of Floras Lake, Blacklock Point, Cape Blanco and beyond. 
Not only does this area have incredible sentimental value, but it contains some very unique natural attributes, and the views from Blacklock Point, the beaches and the towering sandstone cliffs are unsurpassed. The opportunities for solitude, recreation and overall enjoyment here are simply not available elsewhere along the coast. 
Turning a one-of-a-kind natural area of unmatched beauty into a homogenized golf resort would do very little to help solve the county’s monetary challenges. It certainly would not merit the destruction of this singular stretch of Oregon Coastland that is currently part of the state parks system. To take something that belongs to and can be enjoyed by everyone and destroy it so that a handful of golfers can putter around a course with nice views of the Pacific Ocean is a lopsided and galling proposition. On top of all of this, the county’s proposal doesn’t even appear to qualify for approval under Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission policy. 
For these and other reasons, I whole-heartedly oppose Curry County’s proposal for the land between Floras Lake and Blacklock Point. I strongly urge Curry County to abandon this proposal, and I strongly urge the OSPRC to reject it should it be formally submitted. 
This amazing and absolutely inspirational area is far too beautiful, far too environmentally valuable, and far too unique to lose. Ever. 
Jon Bell 
Lake Oswego 

Speed killed deer on Brook Lane
Editor: 
Shame on you.
I have never written a letter to the editor before. A friend and I were walking down Brook Lane, this morning, and we discovered a very young deer, dead on the side of the road. Someone killed it last night, as yesterday, it was not there. 
The speed limit on Fifth and Brook Lane is 25 mph. All the law-abiding people on these streets know who the people are that speed all the time. They are from all age groups. Many people will go up the hill and down Brook at up to 45 mph or more. 
As was told to me that if people were going the speed limit, there is no way a deer would be hit by a car and killed, unless someone purposed to kill it, or were breaking the law. 
These are neighborhoods where there are children. Will a child be next? We have been told to get license numbers of cars speeding, or description of cars, and report law breakers to the police department. We do know the cars, but we do not know who killed our neighborhood deer. 
You know who you are. 
Joanne Murray 
Brookings

Welcome sign is a sight to behold
Editor: 
Driving down 101 and into town seeing our new “Welcome to Brookings” sign on the north side is a very nice and an appropriate sight to behold! 
It really makes me feel proud ... and I’ve always been proud to live here. The sign is that “something” that’s needed, I feel, and I bet it makes Brookings locals smile inside as well I’m sure. The finished product is to look forward to. 
Then there’s that old Winnebago that resides there in the turnout for the past year, off and on for a week or two at a time, next to our new sign ...? Hmmmm. 
That old RV is just as much a landmark as the new sign will be. It could use some sprucing up, too! I don’t know of our zoning laws for “squatting” along the Oregon’s highways but I bet this Winnebago is in violation. I could be wrong. 
When the landscaping and lights are in it all will be a sight to behold. 
Kevin West
Brookings

Quit trying to rewrite history
Editor:
First, let me commend Scott Graves on an exemplary column (Sept. 17, 2011) concerning the “Separation of Church and State.”
Secondly, for the benefit those who have a misguided belief of what our First Amendment actually says, I’d like to submit its actual verbiage.
“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.”
How did the people praying in public for our school children “... approach(es) an infringement...” of others’ rights? By their actions did Congress make a law respecting a specific religion? Of course not. Would prohibiting the free exercise of those praying be a violation of their rights under this Amendment? It certainly would. Was the peaceful assembly of these prayerful people a violation of the First Amendment? Absolutely not!
How, then, can anyone make the nexus between the peaceful, prayerful conduct of these folks to spawning tyranny and oppression? I would respectfully ask these misguided folks to actually read their American history along with the First Amendment to our Constitution. 
What they'll find is, as accurately noted by contributor Warren Roepke (Letters, Sept 21, 2011), this country was founded by Christians on godly principles. 
Let’s all quit trying to rewrite history.
Mike Wiley
Brookings 

Need line between religion and the law
Editor: 
I might agree with your column of Sept. 19, 2011, but I’m confused by your description of the free exercise clause. 
The Westboro Church’s right to protest at military funerals is protected under freedom of speech and peaceable assembly (not religion). Your statement: “Should a church ... be treated differently from a family, business, sports organization ...(etc)”" bears this out. First Amendment protects them (true!), but not by freedom of religion. Separation of church and state has no bearing. (editor) “ ... if any religious group wants to host an activity at Azalea Park, they can. If I don't like it, ...” I’m sorry, but this is wrong. 
Can a polygamist perform illegal marriages at Azalea Park? Can religious groups perform human sacrifice? In 1878 the Supreme Court stated: “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices.” 
(Editor) “... one person may view a day of prayer at a public school as unconstitutional, yet doesn't think twice about swearing on a Bible ...” Some might find aversion in swearing on the Bible, (Quakers, Muslims and atheists) have rights to affirm rather than swearing on the Bible under Article 6 of the Constitution: “ ... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” 
“Does a line need to be drawn?” Yes Mr Graves, a line does need to be drawn between religious belief and the law. The words of our Founding Fathers make this clear. 
Stephen Hagerman
Harbor
 

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