Tea partiers are onto something
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently stated on the Senate floor that tea party members are anarchists who eschew violence but kind of hide that they do not believe in government in any level. Such partisan generalizations are always misleading and largely untrue. But they are strong evidence of the growing perceptual gaps between the political, economic and religious visions of different groups of people.
In the face of deeply rooted human diversity, some propose dialogue to resolve major differences with major compromises. But this approach too often results in major monstrosities that make everybody unhappy. The other option is compulsion, in which the “strong” subjugate the “weak.” But that leaves the weak (and even some of the strong) acutely aware that justice has not been served.
The only remaining alternative is more personal freedom with localized government in which social compromise is limited to the most essential issues on which nearly everybody seems able to agree that communal action (beginning from the lowest level) is wise.
Perhaps the tea partiers over the centuries have been onto something after all when they advocate more personal freedom with localized government, reducing the need for major compromise and the self-reinforcing compulsion.
Federal District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled on April 15, 2010, that the 1952 statute establishing the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May was unconstitutional because “it is an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.” Crabb wrote that “recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic.” In 2011, Crabb’s ruling was overturned by a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals without commenting on the constitutionality of the statute.
Prayer is personal, and as Crabb stated in her ruling, that is exactly why the government must not use its position of authority to try to influence citizens concerning matters of conscience.
Politicizing religion is good for neither religion nor the state. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State opposes a government-led National Day of Prayer. The Great Plains Chapter of AU is encouraging Wichitans and AU members to give blood at the Red Cross between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursday as an alternative to this call to prayer.
VICKIE SANDELL STANGL
Great Plains Chapter
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
The worst droughts are in seven states. Four of them are Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. All of Nebraska is in severe drought. Kansas is next with 96 percent of the state in severe drought.
The water shortage is not just in Wichita or even Kansas. It’s likely we will be in a drought for several more years. Cheney Reservoir could run out of water in two years, and the Equus Beds wells may not be far behind. We need to do something now, in May, and not wait until the end of summer.
Outdoor usage is about 25 percent of our demand. That could be reduced by 30 percent with “smart controllers.” They cost and will need regular maintenance.
We should require “smart controllers” on all new lawn irrigation systems and provide a reward for installation on existing systems. We, and our families, need to learn to practice water conservation.
To understand the Southeast High School situation, you have to understand how governmental groups like the Wichita City Council, Sedgwick County Commission and Wichita school board function. They see their role as one of spending the maximum public dollars they can get away with.
When an opportunity to spend public money occurs, they first turn to their consultant buddies to come up with a plan. The consultants’ plan will maximize the distribution of public money to their buddies, the builders. The governmental agency approves it. After all, it must be right – consultants studied all aspects of it before making their plan.
Then the money is approved and the consultants get their cut. Any question that the Southeast High solution will be a new, high-dollar school project, rather than a more cost-effective solution?
WILLIAM E. BROWN
Be a mentor
Wichita Compeer Mentoring, a program of 27 years at the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, matches qualified volunteers with adults and children in need of caring friendships to support them in living healthy and productive lives. Compeer mentors work to improve the quality of life for the people served by reducing the isolation and loneliness associated with having a mental illness. We know from both research and experience that mentoring changes lives.
Compeer celebrated National Volunteer Month in April by honoring our dedicated, caring mentors and hosting an awards luncheon. Please consider becoming a mentor for a youth or an adult. Compeer also offers other volunteer opportunities, such as providing baked goods or snacks for our outreach social programs. For more information on volunteering with Compeer, please call 316-652-2541.