Letters to the editor anti-gay bill, concealed-carry, mentally ill

02/17/2014 12:00 AM

02/14/2014 5:42 PM

Attempt to codify discrimination

Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, stated that the “religious freedom” bill “protects those on both sides of the marriage debate” (Feb. 13 Opinion). I assume he thinks the one paragraph (Section 4, paragraph C) in the bill that says it does not discriminate somehow “balances” the other 19 or so paragraphs in support of discrimination.

He emphasized that services must be provided “promptly” but ignored the next line that says “if it can be done without undue hardship to the employer.” Who decides what is undue hardship? If no clerk at the driver’s license office is willing to serve someone, will he be forced to return another day and roll the dice? Will the undue hardship on the patron be considered?

Brunk referred to religious freedoms being stripped away. Wrong. No one is being forced into gay marriage. Anyone may worship in the way he chooses. But business and religion are separate things. Religion is governed by the conscience and various churches, and business is governed by the state and laws. And the U.S. Constitution forbids discrimination.

Brunk said that states with legalized gay marriage have “enacted specific protections for religious liberties” and that this bill is consistent with those protections. House Bill 2453 includes private businesses under its “protections.” That would mean that any business owned by someone opposed to same-sex marriage could discriminate. That seems far broader than any definition of “religious institution” that I have ever heard.



Pasta freedom

Thank you, Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, for so clearly explaining the purpose of House Bill 2453, the Religious Freedom Act (Feb. 13 Opinion). I, too, have deeply held religious beliefs and refuse to do anything that might be counter to the teachings of my creator. As a longtime practitioner of Pastafarianism, I absolutely could not support any marriage that was conducted without the requisite use of spaghetti, both cooked and raw, and the traditional wedding garb, full pirate regalia.

I am grateful that Brunk and other supporters of HB 2453 are vigilant in protecting my religious freedom. Keep up the good work.



Where is danger?

“Reconsider vote on concealed-carry” (Jan. 20 Letters to the Editor) stated that the Wichita City Council’s recent decision to allow concealed-carry of firearms in most public buildings was somehow endangering children. How? Licensed concealed-carry holders have to undergo a class and an in-depth background check before they are granted a license. How is this endangering children?

The first three words of the Second Amendment are “a well regulated” and the fourth word is “militia.” The entire amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Notice it doesn’t say “the right of the militia.”

The City Council’s decision was based on state law that required the city to change its policy, or else it would be in violation of the law. Maybe the letter writer needs to contact his legislators. Good luck. This state is run by Republicans.



Care for mentally ill

I appreciated “Treat mental illness” (Feb. 9 Eagle Editorial). Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter deserves the community’s thanks for the county jail’s new mental health pod, a humanitarian response to the cruel defunding of community services to the mentally ill by the governor and Legislature. This lost funding helped pay for big tax cuts for the wealthiest Kansans.

Community mental health services by nonprofit organizations have proved to be the most cost- and outcomes-effective means of management of this population, a fact that will increasingly be realized in Topeka. It ought to be a major issue in this election year.


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