Letters to the Editor

March 21, 2013

Letters to the editor on legislative forum, Southeast, global warming, abortion, Kapaun

It is with such a heavy heart that I read the morning Wichita Eagle. Each day proposals appear before the state and national legislatures that would damage the poor, the black and brown communities, our educational system and our health care programs.

Express concern about Legislature

It is with such a heavy heart that I read the morning Wichita Eagle. Each day proposals appear before the state and national legislatures that would damage the poor, the black and brown communities, our educational system and our health care programs.

I did take a bit of heart in the selection of the new pope. Although not a Catholic, I recognize the power of his message that instructs millions. In Pope Francis we have an advocate for the poor, one who speaks out against globalization and its impact on the disadvantaged and jobless.

Gov. Sam Brownback, as a vigorous Catholic, should learn from Pope Francis on matters of the poor. He needs to consider his passion when faced with proposals to cut food stamps and funds for schools, extend a sales tax that regressively burdens the underprivileged, and expand Medicaid.

From 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex, I and many others will ask questions of our representatives and senators appearing at this public forum. I hope Eagle readers will come to express their concerns.



Save schools

Turning Wichita Southeast High School into a technology magnet would be the best thing that could happen to that neighborhood. Offering lower-income kids a chance to receive vocational training in high school could change the demographics in a positive way.

Building a new school at Pawnee and 127th Street East would cause increases in transportation costs. Students who walk to school will be forced to ride the bus, adding at least one hour to their school day. There are no convenience stores, fast-food restaurants or other student lunch sites close to the proposed site. Kids who drive will have to go farther to and from school on roads posted with higher (up to 55 mph) speed limits. More carpooling will occur to save gas, but more kids in a car equals more distraction for the driver and an increased chance for accidents.

The school board needs to hear from taxpayers. Its decisions are affecting our children, our neighborhoods and our pocketbooks. Make your feelings and ideas known, and help save what’s left of our neighborhood schools.



What evidence?

Years ago I became concerned about our environment when my father showed me abandoned oil wells from the 1950s, and I remain concerned. That said, I am more concerned about the politicizing of environmental issues by special-interest groups, politicians and especially the academic community. We need to balance the needs of the people and the self-interest of academia and politicians with good public policy.

Scientists are supporting man-made global warming, and politicians claim they have the answers to prevent any further damage and even reverse the man-made damage. What does the evidence really show?

I recall a college history class that mentioned multiple ice ages, each ending with the warming of our planet. Why did the Earth cool and warm with or without our interference? I examined some sites online and found that there are other theories and even “scientific” evidence that deals with just that question. They have charted the past changes, correlated them with the movement of the Earth and without man-made events.

I find it curious that politicians and the science and education communities, each with a vested interest in additional funding, claim to understand man-made climate change but cannot understand the principles of finance and budgeting.



Imposing religion

All religions make both theological and empirical claims that can’t be rationally validated. (That is why faith is so important for religion.) The fact that all religions require some unverifiable claims is grounds for religious modesty, and many religions recognize this. However, some religions and some individuals do not. Instead, they are prepared to impose their religious views upon others. In our society, the most serious of these unjustified impositions lies in the area of abortion.

Modern medical knowledge and procedures clearly justify some abortions, such as those necessary to save the life of the woman or in cases where it is known that the fetus is so compromised that at best it will have only a brief and miserable life.

The fact that some abortions are clearly justifiable raises the question of which abortions are justifiable and which are not. This is an extremely complex issue, but clearly it cannot be answered by reference to merely denominational beliefs.

The Roe v. Wade decision is a democratic, rational attempt to deal with this complex issue. Current attempts to curtail it, by the Legislature and other organizations, are based upon religious ideology, and are both dangerous and undemocratic at their core.



Focus on Kapaun

I hope Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and former Rep. Todd Tiahrt will have the courtesy to distance themselves from the Medal of Honor ceremony for Father Emil Kapaun. That honor should be reserved for those who served with the priest and who rallied for 60 years to get him the recognition. It should be no place for political profiling.


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