Prayer before public meetings should be permitted because it is the wish of the Christian majority, according to recent letters (“Decision for the majority,” May 24 and “Minority rule?,” May 25).

According to recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings and your contributors, it’s now OK to oppress Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and nonbelievers because they represent a minority.

That means we’ve come full circle on that issue because some of the biggest proponents of the First Amendment were Baptists, Quakers and other minority Christian sects who, in the 1770s, didn’t want to be under the power of the Anglican Church. Ironic.

With this decision, we now also have a back-door religious test to see if candidates are fit for public office, one not used since the 1600s, when the Church of England sought to oppress Catholics.

But what is not a settled issue — and which is the more troubling thing about recent letter writers’ positions — is their one-dimensional view of majority rule.

History shows it can be a pretty bad thing, unless there are some qualifiers.

Modern democracies, and all enlightened governments, protect the rights of their minorities, if for no other reason than to prevent mob rule.

Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address said, in part, that “though the will of majorities in all cases is to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect and to violate would be oppression.”

President John Adams and Federalist Paper No. 10 both spoke of the potential “tyranny of the majority” over disliked ethnic, religious and racial groups under the guise of majority rule, and how it must be avoided. In modern times, even far-right poster child Ayn Rand said individual rights “aren’t subject to public vote.”

The Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the labor acts, the child welfare acts, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Bill of Rights and at least seven additional amendments to the U.S. Constitution all happened because the strong ignored or tried to oppress the weak.

Oppression shouldn’t happen — especially in the name of religion.

Jeff Davis

Akron

Food truck fee ?hard to swallow

I wholeheartedly agree with Christina Walsh’s May 17 commentary citing the city of Akron’s unjust food truck fee (“No recipe for success in Akron”). What is happening with the fees is indeed unconstitutional.

The fee of $1,975 for certain downtown areas is through the roof and screams “sour grapes” on the part of brick and mortar establishments and the power that be on the political end of things.

The food truck industry cannot be compared to brick and mortar establishments in any way, other than they both serve food to the public.

Brick and mortar eateries have the advantage of perhaps offering alcoholic beverages and entertainment. Some people choose to relax and enjoy their meals. Only a brick and mortar restaurant can offer that dining experience.

Food trucks serve an array of quickly prepared foods, with little or no time to dine. In addition, they have to travel to different locations, in effect recreating their restaurants. They also serve food for a limited amount of time. Fuel is a part of running such an operation, and everybody knows fuel is not cheap.

Chef Michael Symon suggested that the city of Cleveland charge food vendors a minimal annual fee of under $300 so food trucks could operate in the city.

He has several brick and mortar establishments and encourages culinary entrepreneurs. He welcomes the vibrant competition food trucks provide.

The resurgence of these food trucks provides jobs in the recovering economy. That fact alone should be reason enough not to discourage the idustry by imposing such a hefty fee as Akron has enacted.

Food truck vendors have plenty of overhead expenses. Akron shoud welcome the food truck revolution rather than see them as a threat and impose unrealistic fees. Competition and diversity in eating options should be encouraged.

J. J. Howser

Hiram

Ohio pulls plug ?on energy standards

After Gov. John Kasich signs the newly passed bill to freeze the 2008 renewable energy standards, Ohio will become the first of 37 states that have passed similar standards to take such action.

Republicans have decided to do this in spite of economic and environmental successes, in spite of a large majority of Ohioans who support renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and in spite of the support of large industries (such as Honda) for the standards.

The goals of 12.5 percent renewable energy by 2025 is not an unreasonable one for Ohio. The U.S. already has over 13 percent renewable energy.

Germany has over 25 percent and is on course to have 35 percent by 2020. Jobs related to renewable energy in Germany grew from about 160,000 in 2004 to 370,000 in 2012. In addition to this, Germany is phasing out all its nuclear plants by 2022.

Ned DeLamatre

Akron

Thanks for UA’s ?scholarship limits

Hooray for Jim Tressel and UA’s decision to put limits on scholarships. Scholarships are meant to help a student pay for college, not buy a car, clothes and other items.

My daughter graduated from high school in 2003 with a 4.2 GPA. She was in the marching band, worked on the yearbook and managed to work 20-plus hours on a part-time job.

A few of her friends got full rides to colleges because of their SAT scores.

Still, they proceeded to go after every scholarship they could possibly qualify for, and since most scholarships look at GPAs and SAT scores, even those like my daughter didn’t stand a chance.

Of course, these children earned their scholarship money. But education is not a job that pays you an extra $10,000 a year.

If UA puts an end to writing checks for extra cash, maybe those with a full ride will back off procuring all scholarships and allow them to be available to others in need. Then all scholarship money will be used for its purpose: to help pay for school.

Christina Hiner

Cuyahoga Falls

Painful practice ?on horses must end

The federal Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would end a cruel and unethical training method used on Tennessee Walking Horses.

A soring tactic is the deliberate inflicting of pain to a horse’s pasterns (forelegs), causing it to achieve an unnaturally high-stepping gait (the “Big Lick”) in competitions.

Such tactics include the application of caustic chemicals to the pasterns, filing down the natural hooves and attaching weighted shoes and using chains on the legs to further irritate the area.

Ohio horses are included in this concern, as many participate in these competitions. Just this past April, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Science saw fit to sponsor a seminar on the practice of soring.

The proposed PAST Act (S. 1406, H.R. 1518) would end the ineffective horse industry self-policing system, ban devices associated with soring and strength penalties to crack down on this abuse.

I urge Ohio’s congressional delegation to support and co-sponsor this legislation.

Linda E. Bunyan

Akron