Letters to the editor on school shooting, casino, church and state, giving
12/16/2012 12:00 AM
12/14/2012 5:48 PM
Address problem of mass shootings
How much longer are we as Americans going to tolerate the growing number of mass shootings? Politics aside, we must find a way to pull together and address this growing problem.
The children gunned down Friday probably started their day thinking about the pending holidays with family and friends. Now those families and many more have been torn apart.
These innocent victims, their teachers and community have fallen for reasons that might have been preventable.
It seems to me that after the first mass school shooting, our leaders would have found ways to minimize the chances of this ever happening again. At that time we were in shock. Then we mourned. Then we debated and discussed, only to have it happen again and again and, now, again.
As people of freedom in what is supposed to be the greatest country on Earth, we must act together regardless of political beliefs and solve this problem. Do it for our children.
I was disappointed in the one-sided article “Casino’s first year a real winner” (Dec. 9 Local & State). In 11 months, the Kansas Star Casino took in $158.8 million. How much of that money came from people in Sedgwick and Sumner counties, Mulvane and other Kansas communities? How much of that money should have been used to buy necessities or pay for utilities, home mortgages, car loans, college savings plans or retirement plans? How much would have been used to buy furniture, cars, meals at local restaurants, tickets for shows and symphony concerts, memberships at health clubs, or donated to the Salvation Army and the Kansas Food Bank?
That money could have supported many legitimate businesses and needs in south-central Kansas. Instead, precious dollars were lost by people trying to beat the system to get rich.
Because the state supports this fleecing of the public, 25 percent of the money goes into state and local coffers. Invest this money wisely, because as time goes on, the negative effects of this new cash cow will become more readily apparent, and Kansas will need more income to replace taxes lost by legitimate businesses, foreclosures and repossessions, and more people on welfare.
Calls to prayer
It is unclear, based on the storied history of prayer in America, why the Kansas branch of Americans United for Separation of Church and State was so hypercritical of Gov. Sam Brownback’s participation in a prayer event in Topeka last weekend. What Brownback did was not misaligned with what great leaders have done for decades in America.
There have been numerous presidential calls to pray in our nation’s history, including President Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation. Additionally, if Thomas Jefferson had intended the separation clause to mean that an elected figure cannot speak about, promote or join in prayer, he would not have allowed for Christian church services to occur in the U.S. Capitol (he personally attended services there). This year President Obama opened the National Prayer Breakfast in February with the following words: “It is good to be with so many friends united in prayer. And I begin by giving all praise and honor to God for bringing us together here today.”
These calls to prayer have been made for all people to pray in whatever context they express their faith. These are not violations of any constitutional clause.
Gov. Sam Brownback proclaimed Dec. 8 as a “Day of Restoration,” exhorting all Kansans to “repent” and pray to a “Holy God.” This official proclamation by our sitting governor cannot go unchallenged, as our great constitutional republic is built on the foundation that religion and government should be separate.
Some say that people who object to government displays of religious texts, symbols and proclamations shouldn’t take “offense” so easily. This has nothing to do with taking offense; it’s about a clear understanding of the fundamental dangers to our constitutional republic when religion and government are mixed. Our history is replete with examples of what happens when government and religion are not kept separate.
Our society is and always has been pluralistic, and our founders made clear that respect for all religions, and no religion, would be the law of the land. If our founders could read Brownback’s religious proclamation, I am certain they would hang their heads in shame.
Why I give
Regarding “What motivates Kansans to give?” (Nov. 25 Eagle): I recall the way our family was boosted in a difficult time.
I was 5 years old and had five brothers and sisters when my dad was seriously injured while cutting wood. Then my mother fell down the basement steps and broke her leg.
Gracious people from the church came Christmas Eve and brought a gunnysack of food, and $100. That’s why I like to share with others.
ANNETTE VAN BLARICUM
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