Letters to editor: Sept. 4

September 5, 2013 

Faith invariably affects policy, as it should

An Aug. 24 commentary argued that religious beliefs should be private practice rather than influence public policy.

First, I sense the column was somewhat disingenuous as it did not appear the author minded when Roman Catholics overwhelmingly supported Democrats (the Catholic Church can be left-leaning on many economic issues so faith played a role).

Second, this is an unrealistic goal. Should we expect Christians never to consider their beliefs when approving particular policies?

Faith will invariably play a part in why people take sides on a given issue (right or left), just as it is part of who believers are.

I do not support theocracy by any means and my views on personal sins tend to be more libertarian. That said, my faith as well as my moral beliefs make me strongly pro-life as abortion (except as absolute necessity to save a mother's life) is nothing short of the willful depriving of life experiences to other human beings.

To expect us to remain private on this issue (whether we are religious or not) would be like asking abolitionists to remain silent on slavery. Likewise just as there can be religious extremism, there can be extremism from those trying to silence religion.

I suggest readers research Mexico's secular President Plutarco Elias Calles who turned to state religious persecution to stamp out Roman Catholic influence in the 1920s-1930s. This included torture and murder in the name of human progress. Is this our future?

Kyle Ritchie

Hazard


Coal beats kids

In answer to an Aug. 8 letter: Yes. I have been to Sen. Mitch McConnell's office numerous times, including the secret one he has in the Capitol, to ask for help.

In each instance, I have asked him to put a stop to killing by overweight coal trucks, and like every other Kentucky politician I've talked with from both parties in Frankfort and Washington, he has refused.

I'll check with the camps of Tea Party candidate Matt Bevins and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes to see if they agree with me that the safety of our precious children while on the highways is an issue everyone should be able to agree on.

Roy Crawford

Whitesburg


We need standards

As an educator, I was surprised and perplexed by a recent letter from a Washington organization criticizing Kentucky education leaders' advocacy of standards.

The letter challenged Bob King of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday's assertion that having clear and rigorous standards for student learning is a promising aspect of education reforms.

Learning standards describe what educators want students to learn and be able to do as a result of their experiences in school. As such, standards provide the foundation for any curriculum or instructional program.

Why would anyone object to being clear about instructional goals? That would be like suggesting travelers begin a journey without any idea of the destination.

Perhaps the objection is not to standards per se, but what those specific standards should be. Not everyone agrees on what students should learn in school.

Some believe students should be taught to follow the rules and fit into society. Others believe students should consider ways to improve the rules and make society better.

To move ahead we need to face these differences and work to resolve them based on the best evidence available.

Only then can some degree of consensus be achieved. Only then can we ensure equity in the quality and rigor of instructional programs, regardless of the school a student attends.

King and Holliday's efforts to bring clarity to our goals for student learning are not a waste of time but an essential prerequisite to success in Kentucky's education reforms.

Thomas R. Guskey

Lexington


Tea for McConnell

I remember well when the Tea Party started, at least for me, in 2009. President Barack Obama had just been elected, and instead of working on the bad economy, he started his health insurance reform, also known as Obamacare.

After five years the economy is not as good as it should be and now health care is worse.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, worked hard to rally the troops in an effort to stop Obama and the Democrats from ramming through that unpopular piece of legislation which gave the government control of one-sixth of the nation's economy.

We were happy to help send Sen. Rand Paul to Washington to join the fight the next year because we knew together they would be a great team. We were right.

Kentucky said no to Obama again in 2012 but, sadly, the rest of the country didn't listen to us and reelected the president.

The saving grace was we still have that great team of McConnell and Paul.

I know a few people now who think that sending somebody new to Washington is a good idea. I and many of my fellow original Tea Party folks think that's a bad idea.

We know McConnell, and like what we have seen. He has been a tireless champion of this great country in the face of overwhelming odds and never once wavered.

Let's keep McConnell working hard for Kentucky.

Bill Marshall

Midway


Citizens not heeded

Nearly 700 Lexington citizens signed a petition requesting a smaller, more context-sensitive Kroger expansion on Euclid than the one being proposed. One that recognizes the need to play nice with the existing shopkeepers and residents.

Opposition letters from 35 people were submitted to Urban County Council. Almost 50 people attended the public hearing, 31 stood and spoke against the zone change. Three spoke in support.

It takes a lot of time and effort to gather 700 signatures. People don't willy-nilly put their name, address and phone number to paper.

Signatures came from neighbors, Chevy Chase business owners, sympathizers and people who understood the significance for all of Fayette County of a radical zone change in this urban setting.

Nearly 800 citizens were disenfranchised and discounted by the outcome of the public hearing. Many were already convinced the issue was another "done deal."

What kind of government do we have where the voice of so many counts not a jot in the face of an agenda-driven council?

Councilman Steve Kay may indeed consider the Kroger expansion "exciting." but there's a multitude who feel marginalized and are disgusted and disillusioned with the process, the project and in particular the zone change.

Euclid Kroger currently has a footprint of 37,594 square feet, virtually the same size as the Chinoe store at 37,800 square feet.

Expanding up to 50,000 square feet could have been done without a zone change. Bigger than Nicholasville Road at 45,528 square feet. Keep the rooftop parking.

It was never about the design, it was always about the size.

Kate Savage

Lexington

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