Morality no excuse for overriding the law

*Morality no excuse for overriding the law *Escape should be a wake-up call to state *Ability to pla
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Morality no excuse for overriding the law

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence he made reference to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” claiming that men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The Constitution made no such reference to a higher power; it became the highest recognized legal authority.

It was ratified only with the promised protections of the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Historic extension of rights, including the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage, came about by following the prescribed amendment process.

Proponents of same-sex marriage (SSM) have chosen not to follow such a course but have instead asked the courts to find their cause a civil right under the 14th Amendment. The argument is not that such a right was intended. Rather the argument implicitly rests on the assumption of a higher moral authority that supersedes the Constitution and justifies its re-interpretation to create such a right.

Without this higher authority, the argument would be circular; “SSM is a civil right because it is a civil right.” But drawing on this supposed higher authority the argument becomes “to deny marriage to same-gender couples is morally wrong; therefore SSM is a civil right.”

Belief in this higher moral authority, and belief that such a belief is above the law, does not self-identify as a religion, but it acts as one. It has emboldened Supreme Court justices to speak in favor of and officiate at same-sex marriages, even while an important case involving the same was pending before the court, a clear violation of judicial ethics. It emboldened New York state politicians to pass SSM legislation using a series of unusual tactics, including multiple rule changes.

Not only do adherents to the New State Religion believe that their moral authority trumps the rule of law, they feel justified in forcing any religion not in agreement to bend to their will. Thus politicians, as preachers of the new religion, state that, “…religious beliefs… have to be changed” (Hillary Clinton). And now SSM has become the law of the land.

For or against SSM, the dissenting opinions of four Supreme Court justices are worthy of a serious read. Justice Alito’s final words in Obergefell v. Hodges sum it up. “But all Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue [SSM], should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends.”

Many of the early colonists fled oppression at the hands of the state religions of Europe. Their collective memory led to the First Amendment protections. But now a state religion is here and it has already demonstrated that such protections do not apply to those of other religions. Where shall those oppressed by this New State Religion flee to escape persecution?

Andrew W. Crapo

Glenville

Get facts straight on pope, climate change

This is in response to the June 28 letter by William F. Malec. His letter was well-written, and seemingly cogent, but he mentioned a few items that I feel need correction.

First, he states that he sees nothing in the current pope’s background about his having studied any science. A quick online check verified what I already had heard; the pope received a degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires before attending divinity school. So his statements, while still perhaps not ex cathedra, are still based on educated scientific opinion.

Second, he states that Galileo was imprisoned by the Inquisition “for the rest of his life.” In fact, Galileo was only in prison during his trial; after he was convicted, he was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life, not prison.

While it is true that the Church hasn’t had a “stellar” record on scientific matters, the examples that come to mind are ones in which the Church held fast to dogmatic beliefs, even when presented with scientific evidence to the contrary.

It is noteworthy here that, perhaps because of the pope’s science background, the Church is playing the role of Galileo to the conservatives who deny mankind’s role in climate change.

Third, he states that the north polar ice cap is getting thicker. In actuality, the north polar ice cap has shrunk during the time period from 1979 to 2015 by a bit over 2 percent per decade, when compared to the 1981 to 2010 average. That’s a decrease of over 1.3 million square kilometers, or roughly one half-million square miles.

In terms of its thickness, over the last 20 or more years, there has been very little change in the average thickness. It is inaccurate to say it is getting thicker.

The debate over climate change, and of mankind’s role in it, is only made more difficult when people present “facts” that are incorrect.

Peter Perrone

Schenectady

Escape should be a wake-up call to state

I do believe that the people of upstate New York need to give the a great deal of thanks to all the troopers and police that brought the horror of Clinton Correctional Facility to an end.

Their leadership, commitment and steadfastness was very evident in their quest to finish the job at hand. It is too bad that our prisons do not seem to have the same great leadership. And to put the blame on an even higher level, our state government allows such unthinkable activities to go on in a prison.

The family of the trooper that was shot 22 times and then run over two times had a picture in their mind of a man who was being punished for taking away a very special person in their family. Instead, he is running around all over the prison, making his own meals and getting employees to do his bidding. It is truly a shame upon our state that this is even allowed.

There are troopers who spent weeks of their time, away from their families, putting themselves in harm’s way, slogging through swamps, getting bit by black flies and ticks, all because a prison was being run like a county club. This is what our tax dollars are being used for?

I guess we are all stupid to think that a man who killed his boss and then dismembered him would be kept in a cell forever with no privileges?

If these two men did not deserve this, then what is it you have to do to become a real prisoner in New York state? If this isn’t a wake-up call, then we can expect more of the same. Cuomo, time to put your words into action.

Denise Crisci

Scotia

Ability to play should be all that matters

Re Mark McGuire’s June 30 sports column, “Gay teammate no longer a big issue,” about local ballplayer Sean Conroy, now pitching for the Sonoma Stompers coming out as gay to his teammates, even though he already had come out in high school and college.

Has an athlete ever announced his/her homosexuality, where the public swooned, “We had absolutely noooo idea?” Not these days. I believe most athletes declare, and then just want to get back on the field and play. However, it appears the media is the one who can’t get over it.

Quotes in McGuire’s column after Sean Conroy announced he was gay ran from “not a big deal” to “why are we even talking about it?” Conroy affirmed he was gay, and as Mark McGuire said, “life went on.” But hold on a minute. Josh Levin, executive editor at Slate, stated that saying you don’t care is a new, peculiar form of homophobia. What the … ?

Does any owner, coach, teammate, fan or sponsor care whether an athlete is homosexual or not? They say it’s not a big deal, so why does the media rehash what is known? When any athlete signs on with any organization, is there a box they check indicating whether they’re homosexual or heterosexual? Doesn’t the fact that a person is sexually attracted to women, men or small farm animals fall under the category of “Very Personal Information?”

The public has accepted and cheered for homosexual athletes in all the top tier sports. They’ve bought the tickets and the jerseys and filled the stands and galleries, so there doesn’t seem to be a problem there. The same can be said for heterosexual athletes who have stomped on opposing players, sexually harassed women, possessed and used drugs, mistreated dogs, punched their wives, physically abused their children, and been linked to murder.

As Mark McGuire asks, “Can you play? Can you help the team win?” That’s all that counts.

Oh, wait; there is one intolerable behavior for an athlete. You’re a Christian? Please shut up and keep it to yourself.

Deborah Humphreys

Schenectady

Agree that chief went too hard on officer

I’m with Mary Ann Bruno in her June 22 letter to The Gazette [“Deputy shouldn’t be fired over flip-off case”].

Shame on Chief Greg Veitch for not supporting his officer in the “middle finger” incident. Officer Nate Baker, probably not a constitutional law scholar, may be been unaware of Mr. Adam Rupeka’s right to make a jackass of himself.

Elaine Pastore

Schenectady

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