Letters to the Editor for May 9, 2014

Religious right should take responsibility

To the Editor:

Jeff Baumann (Be careful what you wish for, April 11) makes some easy dodges as he fails to answer my letter. The Arizona bill was incompetently written and deceptively defended by the religious right, as my letter noted. Mr. Baumann would do well to not deflect my criticisms onto unrelated Christians. The religious right needs to take responsibility for its actions.

Everybody fights for their version of morality. My morals are informed by objective harms to people or the environment. The religious right, however, struggles instead to defend their religious doctrines from public contradiction. They use laws to enforce their doctrines.

It’s an obvious assault on the religious rights of others.

They use a variety of gimmicks to conceal their attempts at religious domination. The four most common ruses are bogus science (Regnerus, Reisman, intelligent design, abortion-breast cancer link), bogus history (Christian nation, Jefferson would support the religious right), bogus law (no separation of church and state) and empty assertions (gay marriage will destroy the institution).

When society rejects their claims, it is evidence that Christians (they represent all Christians, don’t they?) are being persecuted and denied their religious liberty by an intolerant world. Yup, the best defense is a good offense. Remember the Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas farce? According to them, Christians were under attack, not the views of the religious right.  Again, nice dodge.

More symbolic attempts at domination can be seen in their fierce support for school-directed prayer in public school, in the religious reference in the Pledge and the “In God we trust” motto.

Mr. Baumann claims to be acting only to support the message of Jesus. Did Jesus resort to deception or laws to advance his views? Did he hound sinners into submission or refuse contact with them? Frankly, I don’t see the message of Jesus in the actions of the religious right. I see only the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and the drive to enforce conformity.

The religious right is very much about control. Their goal of dominance over society is limited only by our refusal to surrender our own freedoms.

Rod Kuehn

Running out of water?

To the Editor:

Today I read something in the Andover May/June 2014 newsletter that made me laugh.

“A sketch plan of 99 residential lots for Winslow Woods is on the table. It is east of Hanson Boulevard NW and south of Crosstown Boulevard NW and west of the railroad tracks. The sketch plan is being developed with hopes of starting this summer.

“Still another plat has been submitted for the Catchers Creek development. This is a plan for 70 lots and near the Coon Creek and south of Andover Boulevard NW.

“The third plat is an 18 lot development near Prairie Road NW and just north of Bunker Lake Boulevard NW, called Carson Ridge.”

“The City has in place watering restrictions that will allow everyone to water their grass and shrubs and maintain an adequate water system.”

“The Coon Creek Watershed District (CCWD) has seen a trend in declining surficial groundwater, those aquifers located within 100 feet or so of the surface. We are concerned about potential impacts on wetlands, lakes, and streams and their ecosystems. This decline is one of top 3 issues in our 2013-2023 Comprehensive Management Plan. It’s Up to You to Help! Go to our website, cooncreekwd.org, to find the short article on what you can do to help replenish our groundwater.”

Let us hope the developments will be using septic systems so we can recharge the aquifers. However, I will go out on a limb and guess someone somewhere decided it is a good idea to hook these developments up to city sewer and water and cover them in concrete and asphalt.

Every year I tell my representatives to get rid of the Met Council, yet it still exists. Not sure I can do much more, but the CCWD is welcome to tell me what else I can do.

Eric Kohnke

Homeless youth in our own backyard

To the Editor:

What would you do if you saw a child sitting on the street disheveled and hungry? Would you stop and try assisting them or would you think someone else would see them and deal with it, you don’t quite have the time?

In Minnesota there are over 10,000 homeless individuals on any given night. Of that 10 percent are youth. There are over 750 homeless youth not in some crazy or big city, but in our own backyard. That’s right, over 750 children who don’t have a stable home in the Anoka County area. There are children who are sharing the housing of other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship. Due to the lack of adequate accommodations, some are living in motels, emergency or transitional shelters, are abandoned in hospitals, awaiting foster care placement, living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodations for human beings, living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations, etc.

Although the McKinney-Vento Act does a good job of getting youth education and supports within the school, there is still a link missing. There has to be more done to help these youth and get them the proper resources. There are a number of agencies and drop in centers in the cities, but very few in our area. The question is when are we going to notice homeless youth don’t just live in the cities?

What are we going to do to help the over 750 homeless youth right here in our neighborhoods? We need to step up and support these youth. There needs to be a roof they can sleep under and basic resources for them to acquire.

What can you do? Contact your local school and see what resources they may need, donate at a local food shelf, look up and see if there is a drop-in center in your area and volunteer or donate, advocate for these youth. You may only be one, but you are one. Help these children see they aren’t alone and they are important.

Mallory Xurvein

Union rights, reputation more important

To the Editor:

A recent letter-writer (me) is concerned that many teachers are being vilified for the actions of a few teachers.

It is true that any large number of people will include some bad apples. It’s also true that the uproar would have been avoided if the offenders had been removed. Instead, unions protected the criminal teachers and moved them from one school to the next.

The unionized employment rights of the teachers and the union’s reputation were more important than the welfare of the children.

Union officials then viciously attacked the complaining victims as anti-union. The union continues to protect the offending teachers.

Now the union claims it has no control over the teachers and is therefore not criminally or financially liable for their actions.

While defective teachers are an obvious problem, I can’t help but think that such behavior was widely known by the administration and by the fellow teachers. Why did no one speak out? The worldwide nature of the problem and the administration’s uniform response strongly suggest that these outrages are an integral part of the institution.

The teachers union has done many fine things but has also caused incredible suffering. Its credibility and moral authority has been obliterated.

Please do not support the teachers union and its hideously immoral behavior by suggesting that only a few miscreant teachers are to blame.

This was in response to a letter from Rod Kuehn. I just changed a few words.

Mark Jensen

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