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Court has interpreted Constitution clearly, properly on religion

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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Court has interpreted Constitution clearly, properly on religion

Frank Elfland’s recent excellent letter [Jan. 5] regarding the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s inclusion of contraception is well-reasoned, and points out the dangers of imposing the church’s dogma on employees who do not subscribe to those views.

Dave Dankanich, in his Jan. 9 response, takes Mr. Elfland to task for interpreting the Constitution as a liberal, then proceeds to do the exact same thing from his narrow right-wing viewpoint, giving no quarter to others’ interpretations.

Mr. Dankanich is apparently ignorant of a certain institution, namely the U.S. Supreme Court, the members of which can and do interpret that majestic document, and then hand down their opinions. Specifically, as noted in Mr. Dankanich’s letter, nativity scenes on public property, to the exclusion of any other religions’ representation, violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment (Allegheny County vs. ACLU). We are not a Christian nation, sir.

There are more than several Supreme Court opinions regarding religion in the public schools, all of which violate either or both the religious freedom and establishment clauses. To wit: McCollum vs. Board of Education; Engel vs. Vitale; Abington Board of Education vs. Schempp; Stone vs. Graham, just to name a few.

The Constitution is a secular document in which religion is mentioned only twice: Article VI, whereby no religious test is required for public office (tell that to the Bible thumpers!), and in the First Amendment.

The Catholic Church has had an ugly history of torture, violence and religious repression ever since its founding. Remember the Inquisition? Remember that it took until 1992, yes, 1992, for the church to formally decide that Galileo was correct. Giordano Bruno also believed that the Earth orbited the sun, and was burned at the stake as a heretic. There was a lot of that back in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, all at the behest of the church fathers. I find it astoundingly hypocritical that this hierarchy is now whining about its religious freedom being “compromised.”

Shame on them for wanting to force their backward “natural laws” of contraception on others (aka Vatican Roulette). Women, not the church, should be able to plan their families. Prescriptions for birth control also can be used to control serious medical problems, i.e., ovarian cysts, to name just one condition. Contraception costs are out of reach for many women, hence unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

One would think that the church would see the direct relationship of the use of contraception and fewer abortions, but church dogma trumps common sense every time. However, I’ll bet Viagra and Cialis are covered!

Cynthia Swanson


Pedestrians don’t have unconditional right of way

A widespread and dangerous misconception exists that pedestrians have the unquestionable right of way at all times and places when crossing in front of traffic.

More and more people think that they can simply blunder out in front of oncoming traffic with the full expectation that all vehicles will come to a safe stop. Obviously, and legally, vehicles must be under control at all times, and every effort must be made to avoid a pedestrian collision. However, with today’s increasing amount of distracted driving, this practice is not only rude, but also foolish.

New York state law states that at intersections without stoplights, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians — within a crosswalk. At intersections with stoplights, pedestrians must wait until the light changes, crossing only when pedestrian signals indicate it is safe.

The law also states that any pedestrian crossing a highway at any point other than within a crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection “shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

There are a few stipulations concerning the blind, overpasses and tunnels, but these refer largely to common sense. The bottom line is and has always been the wisest advice — look both ways and cross when it’s safe.

Jim Baker


If McFarland retired, he shouldn’t still be working

Re Elaine Neumann's Jan. 11 letter, “Something doesn’t add up in Glenville supervisor’s office”: To me, retirement means cutting the cord.

If James McFarland wanted to continue with his duties as director of operations, he should have remained in his position. I wholeheartedly agree with Neumann’s view of Glenville’s recent full-time supervisor appointment.

Although I do not disagree with elimination of the director of operations position, with a full-time supervisor absorbing the duties, I take exception to the appointment of an additional position (deputy supervisor) at additional cost to the town when there are four fully capable council members who could/should assume those duties.

Virginia Graney


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January 15, 2014
12:40 a.m.
-2 votes
jjhehir says...

The Little Sisters of the Poor are in no way preventing their employees from using contraceptives. They just don't want to pay for them.

January 15, 2014
9:27 p.m.
-2 votes
wmarincic says...

You anti religious liberal try to make up the Constitution and continue to lie. What the 1st Amendment says is " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" it does not say that there is a separation of religion from the state it only says there is no state religion. The framers said this because of The Church Of England was the established church there. Learn your history and quit the foolish lies. Atheists, because liberals can't be the only fools.

January 16, 2014
5:26 a.m.
-2 votes
Phils2008 says...

Cynthia, how about you exercise a modicum of common sense, and explain how the establishment clause addresses anything you have to say. It is clear and concise English even for the 19th century. Please point out the law that establishes a nativity scene, because I have yet to see it. That would in fact violate the first amendment. The fact that you and other liberals cant read, want the Constitution to mean what you want it to mean and find ignorant judges to ratify illegal laws does not make your interpretation correct. If our founding fathers had a flaw it was that they never anticipated future generations would play word games with their document, much like they never anticipated liberal clowns would make Government a career.

January 16, 2014
6:49 a.m.
-2 votes
wmarincic says...

Phil, I think they did anticipate all of that. That's why we have the 2nd amendment.

January 16, 2014
1:12 p.m.
+2 votes
ChuckD says...

Oh right, the gun thing. When democracy fails you, you've always got the guns.
And God, I guess.
Oh right, it's not a democracy anymore.

January 17, 2014
5:39 a.m.
+0 votes
Phils2008 says...

ChuckD, it never was a Democracy, but I bet you were never taught that or took the time to actually explore our form of Government. When this country fails, we'll see just how far your whining takes us. My bet is the people with guns save us because God knows cowards wont.

January 17, 2014
6:57 a.m.
-2 votes
wmarincic says...

That's the ignorance of liberals. They believe America is a democracy "mob rule" rather than. a Constitutional Republic.


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