Rupp's human rights legacy nothing to honorIn researching the black experience in Lexington, I came across the minutes for The Lexington Committee on Religious and Human Rights. In March 1964, they had a meeting with University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, bringing with them 150 letters urging him to integrate the team. It was his decision to integrate or not.
But it would be another five years before Rupp signed Tom Payne in 1969 and then only because UK had suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of integrated teams. You cannot simply blame the times. The university itself had been integrated for 15 years by then.
Rupp was the George Wallace of college basketball, standing in the doorway, blocking the way.
To the recent letter writer who found it disrespectful of Rupp's memory to not have a prominent statue of the man, I'd say many of us find it disrespectful to have the name Rupp hovering over the town. His basketball astuteness does not eliminate the rest of the story.
Never miss a local story.
But like the Transylvania African-American student who wrote that she felt oppressed by the campus building named after the slave autocrat Jefferson Davis, I suppose we have to live with it.
But please, no statues.
Joseph G. Anthony
Black teams were champs too
On March 18, the Herald-Leader published a list of past champions of the Kentucky high school basketball tournament. Of course, they left out many state championship teams. During the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s, Kentucky held two state championship tournaments. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association sponsored a tournament for white schools; the Kentucky High School Athletic League sponsored a tournament for black schools.
The Herald-Leader did not include any KHSAL teams in its list of state champions.
There is strong evidence that the black teams were as deserving of championship laurels as the white teams. Louisville Central and Lexington Dunbar proved that soon after formerly all-black schools joined the KHSAA.
About nine or 10 years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the injustice of ignoring the KHSAL champions. One can hope that the Herald-Leader will eventually acknowledge that teams such as the great Louisville Central teams of the 1950s deserve to be recognized for the championships they won.
Charles F. Faber
Fayette stiffing substitute teachers
The Fayette County school board decided to extend the school day by 30 minutes beginning April 20 to address the snow days, but the pay structure for substitute teachers will remain the same.
Typical substitute teachers make $82 to $100 per day. Those with a master's in education and Rank 1 make $107 daily. Retired teachers with 27 years in the Kentucky education system make up to $147.
This sounds great, but lately substitute teachers are filling in almost daily for other teachers during the planning-period break time. The new issue of adding 30 minutes a day to address the snow days is the opposite of what a substitute would want. Not only are there about 12 fewer days to work, which reduces our income around $1,200, we are expected to work the extra 30 minutes a day without any compensation. I signed up as a substitute to contribute my knowledge to students. It is not fair for altruistic substitutes to be taken advantage of; the police personnel will be paid overtime for their extra work.
Should they tase Larry Webster?
Larry "Tie Rod" Webster's column last Sunday had its usual bashing of everything living and breathing other than his saintly self.
Extremely troubling was his closing comment regarding "the Wildcats returning eight McDonald's All-Americans from Cleveland without them being shot by the Cleveland police." I hope Kentucky law enforcement will take note of this Pikeville goober attorney's negative ignorant comments on his next traffic stop. Is this guy the best the Herald-Leader can do ?
Courts have upheld right to say no
The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, just like the federal law passed in 1993, is under fire from LGBTQ groups, despite the Supreme Court's 2014 Hobby Lobby decision that people of faith can refuse actions violating their beliefs, obviously absent a public-safety issue.
This also exonerated Hands On Originals from liability locally in 2012 for refusing to prepare clothing engraved with symbols violating its beliefs. The U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, ruled in 2009 that a Kentucky Baptist children's home did not violate state or federal laws when it dismissed an employee engaging in homosexual conduct.
In 1967, Kentucky icon Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army, citing religious reasons. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. in 1942, he changed his name in 1964 after converting to Islam.
He was also convicted of draft evasion but cleared by the Supreme Court. Someone else had to take his place and possibly go to Vietnam and possibly be killed. Who suffered the discrimination?
The Indiana case is no different. Ali had the right to tell the federal government no for religious reasons, just as folks whose beliefs are violated by enhancing homosexuality have the right to say no.
J. L. Clark
Gay is the new black
Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and similar laws in other states are a deliberate misnomer, designed to serve as a masquerade to protect discriminatory behavior.
That law is a direct response to courts striking down laws prohibiting same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.
Jeb Bush stated this law "is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to be able to be people of conscience."
When did any gay organization say you can't practice your religion?
Indiana's Gov. Mike Pence let the cat out of the bag when he admitted the law "was to keep the state government from forcing business owners to act against their religious beliefs." In other words, having to serve gay customers.
Let's be clear about a fundamental fact: This is a secular nation. The First Amendment anti-establishment clause guarantees that fact. Every religion is protected, but I too am protected from anyone forcing their religious beliefs down my throat.
Religion should be private. Gays are the new blacks until businesses discover, like with blacks, discrimination is bad business. Gay customers aren't trying to convert people to their beliefs but to buy products or services. So stop trying to convert them.
James F. Wisniewski
Pett missed mark, owes apology
We have been fans of Joel Pett for as long as he's worked for the newspaper, for rarely does he miss the mark. But we are taking exception to the March 29 cartoon. The allusion to the recent tragedy of the Germanwings disaster was completely off-the-mark. Not only should Pett apologize, but the editorial board should, as well.
Sometimes, human events transcend political satire; this is one of those times when compassion should have overruled cleverness.
Jim and Lorayne Burns
Unfounded fear of Iran's WMD could have terrible result
Dana Summers' political cartoon left much truth out. What's missing presents a dangerous falsehood. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu actually stands on Israel's estimated 80 to 100 nuclear devices as his foundation. And Israel's military (fourth-strongest in the world) should surround him. President Barack Obama is shown shouting alone. But England, Russia, Germany, France and China also sit at the table.
Noam Chomsky, retired MIT professor, has said: "Nobody with a grey cell thinks that Iran would launch a strike, were it to have nuclear weapons." He notes that U.S. satellite surveillance knows everything going on in Iran. "If Iran even began to load a missile — that is to bring a missile near a weapon — the country would probably be wiped out. And whatever you think about the clerics, the Guardian Council and so on, there's no indication that they're suicidal." Fear causes terrible results particularly when what's feared does not exist. The fear of "weapons of mass destruction" cost how many U.S. military and Iraqi civilian lives?