I am lifting my voice as a father to support the freedom to marry. I know there is no substitute for marriage. Marriage is a legal, recognized commitment of two people to each other to love and support each other.
As a religious person, I believe all are God’s children and need to have the opportunity to express this love and commitment in an equally honored and respected way. As a citizen of Ohio and our nation, I believe each couple and family should be respected and treated fairly and equally by the state.
Why does marriage equality matter to me? Because marriage inequality affects my daughter and the many friends I have made during the years of educating myself since she came out.
Today, Ohio denies my child the freedom to marry the person she loves. It gives her neither the rights nor responsibilities of marriage. It makes her a second-class citizen.
Marriage inequality says that one family is not worth the same care and respect as another, that it’s OK to treat people unfairly because we do not agree with them. It encourages them to take their talents and leave our state.
Our son jokes that it’s an older generation’s problem — that once my generation dies off, all will be fine — but I know it’s not that simple. Those in the LGBTQ community have been waiting a long time to be treated fairly. They need to be treated fairly and equally under the law, now.
Rules for reducing carbon pollution
I am pleased that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally announced regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rules the U.S. Supreme Court said in 2007 they should issue, but things didn’t work out that way.
The EPA says, with the aggressive energy efficiency measures expected when states comply with the rules, that there will be an average decrease of about 8 percent on electricity bills nationally because people will be using less energy.
And in the first year of the new standards alone, 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be prevented.
With such clear benefits, it’s a no-brainer: Cutting the amount of carbon pollution from our power plants is the right thing to do.
Instead of a thoughtless freeze, Ohio should have continued with its renewable energy and efficiency standards. We would be on the way to meeting our state’s share of a worldwide problem.
Incompetence at Veterans Affairs
In regard to the Veterans Affairs scandal, the inability to recognize incompetence is tragic and criminal. In defense of Gen. Eric Shinseki, I suspect that if he had had a noncommissioned officer on his staff and one less bureaucrat, the situation would be different.
Which proves the axiom: We get the government we deserve.
Religion and the Founders
The newspaper made some cogent points when discussing the Supreme Court’s decision on public prayer and Cuyahoga Falls City Council meetings (“Time for prayer,” May 12). I wholeheartedly agree that the U.S. Supreme Court should have gone even further than it did.
Our Founding Fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the creator of our Constitution, greatly valued freedom of religion; thus, it is part of the First Amendment.
The First Amendment prohibits one religion from being favored over any other religion by our government. That is what made America so special. All other countries at that time had state-sponsored religions, but not us.
Our Founding Fathers had a firm belief in the protection of religious minorities, so that intolerance of religions would be avoided. So when the Supreme Court leans toward Christian prayers as being acceptable, as it did in the recent case, where in the Constitution did the justices get this?
James Madison interpreted the free exercise of religion to mean no penalties or privileges on account of religion. This means the Supreme Court should have realized that no special preferences might be given to any one religion.
Thomas Jefferson clearly felt that faith was a necessary predicate to liberty. That is why Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that human beings have certain unalienable rights endowed by God.
There is no right or wrong or acceptable or unacceptable religion in the United States. However, the Supreme Court has muddied the waters of religion to the point of insanity.
The establishment clause was never intended to ban the invocation of God in public forums. It never was intended to create a wall of separation between church and state, which, by the way, was not written in our Constitution.
Is it any wonder that with the forced disappearance of faith and God in our modern world, values and societal standards are all but gone?
The conservative right has always taken it for granted that it is the movement of common decency. But the argument can be made that it is one of the main contributors to the decline of decency in society. Its contribution seems to be the idea that the poor and suffering are a drain on society and that the successful are the only ones who contribute.
Examples can be found in supply-side economics, under which the more you reward the wealthy, the more society as a whole will prosper. The conservative right also shows contempt for the poor when it despises people who won’t work for a living.
Then again, it despises the poor who do work because “they won’t get a real job,” which means the working poor don’t have well-paying reliable jobs with good benefits. Under those assumptions, is there any poor person for whom we should have compassion?
The conservative right will point out that it believes in compassion for the poor, but it will then say it believes in personal responsibility. Let’s face it, that is a good way not to have much compassion.
I feel that if a person has caused far more suffering to themselves than to others in the mistakes they have made, they deserve compassion. I believe that part of compassion has to do with forgiveness.
I have to ask myself, should the main principle in determining right and wrong be success, or is there room for compassion and respect for what many consider to be the losers in society, the poor and suffering? If the former, we will live in a world where only the most successful prosper and where the majority will be the losers.
Impeach Obama? Look to the past
When I read the June 7 letter “Unchecked power,” I was torn between amusement and disgust.
The idea of Congress impeaching President Obama (and calling his actions treasonous) due to the swap of Guantanamo prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — even with the controversy of why Bergdahl left his unit in the first place — was ludicrous.
The past administration (led by a president who avoided Vietnam with daddy’s help and a vice president who took five deferments) set up the Guantanamo prison, where detainees have been held without a trial for the past 12 or more years.
The same administration trampled all over the U.S. Constitution with the Patriot Act and invaded a sovereign country (Iraq) that had not done anything to us. If anyone needed impeachment, it was the past president and vice president.
The writer’s comment that the five terrorists “killed thousands” pales in comparison to the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq due to our intervention, along with the tens of thousands of dead and wounded U.S. military personnel.
The “worst for liberty” tag belongs to the past administration.