Are we heeding Jesus’ words?
Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” We make it legal to carry a gun and even kill in self-defense in the heat of the moment.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We lead the world in arms exports.
Jesus was a friend to the sick. We prefer a system in which the sick are not able to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, and the poor are unable to get anything other than care in the emergency room.
Jesus was a friend to the poor. We do not have to pay a full-time employee a living wage. It keeps prices low for the rest of us.
I don’t claim to know the mind of Jesus in every situation. But perhaps we all need to think a little more.
Food, not war
According to the U.S. Census survey of U.S. families, the number of U.S. children relying on food stamps for meals soared to more than 16 million in 2014. This equates to more than 1 in 5 children living in poverty and needing food stamps to eat, which far surpasses prerecession levels of 1 in 8 children, or 9 million, living on food stamps.
Consider that last year Congress proposed $40 billion in cuts over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The farm bill that passed and was signed by President Obama cut $8.6 billion from SNAP, affecting benefits for more than 850,000 people.
Then, please carefully consider that more than half of discretionary spending now goes to the military (war) budget. More taxpayer dollars are devoted to the Defense Department than to the critical needs of our citizens, including affordable health care.
Also carefully consider that the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier cost more than $13 billion – a 22 percent increase since construction began in 2008. The Pentagon expects to build three more carriers at a projected cost of $48 billion. Currently our Navy has 11 carriers prowling the globe.
MARY McDONOUGH HARREN
Information provided by The Eagle several years ago on the salaries of USD 259 employees was shocking when one considered the numbers of certified personnel who had no student contact in their positions.
Now that the elections are over and the incumbents have been returned to the Wichita school board, it is time for the board to fulfill its responsibility of establishing policy. The first and most pressing responsibility is to return concentration to the classrooms and reduce the expenditures on excessive nonclassroom personnel.
Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, believes that “unions just don’t have the place in our society that they once had” (“Senate committee advances bill on public-sector unions,” March 20 Local & State). As a life member of the National Education Association and Kansas-NEA, I say she’s wrong.
Many issues arise between public service workers and administrators that require negotiated settlements. One reason NEA was established was to ensure that women teachers were paid as well as men. Up to that point, women were considered to be working for “pin money,” even though they may have been single mothers supporting a family. Without union representation for workers, administrators would once again be able to play favorites with employees.
Wagle, who is taking her marching orders from the anti-union, Koch-connected American Legislative Exchange Council, knows little about unions or the work that public servants do. Further, she and her Republican colleagues have little faith in their constituents’ ability to decide for themselves how to handle their own payroll-deduction decisions.
Public service is not a marketplace, nor is it a profit-making endeavor. The profit in the public service arena is that children are educated by teachers who care that they learn, and citizens are protected by firefighters and police officers.
Not us, them
Some current politicos thrive on the cosmic war that they believe, or profess to believe, is being waged between good and evil. It colors every decision and creates a “them” and “us” worldview.
This split view is anything but inclusive, understanding or accurate (not to mention “fair and balanced”). It seems never to occur to these folks that they are someone else’s “them,” or that decisions made from only one point of view only work outside of democracies, even if you claim you are doing it for “freedom and liberty.”
Politically, it causes decisions to be made on the basis of belief, regardless of the evidence. This clouds the playing field, leads to replacing and suppressing those who disagree with you no matter how reasonable they may be, and to a good deal of blustering and self-righteousness.
If you are attempting to govern, your premise cannot be – as anthropologist Vincent Crapanzano wrote in his book “Serving the Word” – that “we are possessed of truth, virtue, and goodness and they of falsehood, depravity, and evil.” But it helps to explain the current climate.
It is not clear to me why jihad-motivated terrorists who are indicted and tried in U.S. federal courts seem never to be charged with violation of the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The law was signed with no small amount of fanfare and explicitly cites “offenses involving actual or perceived religion” that cause bodily injury as being crimes to which the law is applicable.
These crimes are intentionally perpetrated against those who either are not members of the terrorist’s religion or, if Muslim, do not meet the ideological purity or practice demanded by the terrorists. Either way, the terrorists are generally motivated by their specific, if dubious, religious beliefs to target those who are of other religions or sects.
I have never heard a good explanation as to why hate-crime charges are not applied to these terrorist acts.
BRUCE W. THOMAS
A domestic violence incident occurred in Kansas every 22 minutes and 24 seconds in 2013, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. There were a total of 12,607 arrests for domestic violence in 2013. Currently in Kansas, individuals must be charged with a felony before their history of protection orders can be reviewed by a judge, prior to sentencing.
House Bill 2024 would allow judges to review offenders’ previous protection orders and use that information to determine the most appropriate sentence. This bill would likely increase offender participation in batterer intervention programs. Research shows that offenders who participate in such programs are less likely than those who don’t participate to commit a subsequent act of domestic violence.
HB 2024 has not yet been brought before the House for a vote. We, as a community, must tell our legislators that we will not stand for this. Every day in the United States, more than three women are murdered by a husband or boyfriend. If we act, we can ensure offenders get the necessary intervention to help prevent batterers from re-offending. Contact your local House representative and demand HB 2024 be brought to the floor for a vote.
Regarding “Stealing culture” (March 12 Letters to the Editor): Gov. Sam Brownback is not only stealing the health care that many low-income Kansans need but also the tools to keep children off the streets. We say “no child left behind,” but how are we helping children move forward? We want our families and children to stay in Kansas, but we need to make Kansas the best it can be, and that is by giving our children, families and community the tools they need in order to survive.
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