Readers Write (Dec. 8): Mandela, Southwest LRT, Obamacare, accused priests, veterans

  • Updated: December 7, 2013 - 4:52 PM

None of today’s ‘leaders’ comes close to matching him as a uniting force of good.

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MANDELA

We desperately need more just like him

One can’t help notice the stark difference between the life and career of Nelson Mandela and those of our elected political officials. While Mandela did the impossible by bringing black and white together in South Africa, our nation remains deeply racially divided and, in fact, one could make a case that the right wing is conducting a form of economic and political genocide against blacks and the other poor who vote against them by slashing life-giving food stamp assistance and the U.S. Supreme Court decimating the Voting Rights Act of 1965, among other nefarious acts.

No one in national political office today nor those seeking it has even a glimmer of the brilliance of Mandela’s unifying leadership. And none of them will be mourned as Mandela is by the thousands gathering at his house to sing and cry and pray for their “greatest son,” as President Zuma describes him. I hope young people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds will study Mandela’s life and will try to emulate him. Emergence of such a unifying national leader, son or daughter, cannot come too soon.

WILLARD B. SHAPIRA, Roseville

• • •

There was Jesus Christ and there was Abraham Lincoln, and then there was Nelson Mandela.

LUKE MASS, Edina

SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL

Protecting privilege instead of transit for all

Your story on the privileges afforded the folks on Park Lane by the Park Board at Cedar Lake strikes a nerve. Like the neighbor quoted in the story, I pay my property taxes and maintain the public space in front of my house. When do I get my exclusive lakeshore access, private dock, free buoy for my boat and park space for my boat trailer? All of which neighbors receive with silent knowledge and approval of the Park Board.

Now these privileged few want to block an important regional transportation facility proposed to be located on an existing transportation corridor. Only when the public speaks out will this private monopoly on regionally funded facilities end.

TIM BROWN, Minneapolis

OBAMACARE

On contraception, whose values matter?

Your editorial disagreed with a company’s desire to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage (“Religion as a sword in the ACA debate,” Dec. 1).

When a law intrudes on religious freedom, the law is wrong — not the company. Business owners Stuart Lind and Tom Janas each started their respective companies to provide jobs for people. When a person agrees to work for that company, they agree to abide by the company’s rules and guidelines.

If the owner of that company believes in the teachings of the Catholic Church (which are clearly against the use of contraception), he has the right to refuse insurance that supports contraception.

Thank God Lind and Janas and many others have started companies to provide good jobs to people in need. Let’s not be rash and stifle the religious freedom of the owners and cause them to close their doors and put good people out of work.

BOB SPINHARNEY, Eden Prairie

• • •

Those who advocate for employer control over contraceptive provisions in insurance policies always fall back on the delicate religious sensibilities of these employers.

It’s worth noting that Hobby Lobby, which is suing to be exempt from providing its employees with women’s health services on the grounds that it violates “Christian values,” gets 93 percent of its inventory from China, where there have been 336 million abortions in the past 30 years.

Apparently these “values” work in only one direction.

STEVE HOFFMAN, Anoka

ARCHDIOCESE

Are we really getting the whole story now?

The average age of the living priests who were named by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is 74 (“Abusers in Catholic clergy are revealed,” Dec. 6). If this is the list the church is actually willing to release, it seems safe to assume there are a bunch more, and they’re younger. And it seems like the only answer to the question of why the church is allowed to withhold this kind of information from authorities is, “Because our authorities are too intimidated by political considerations to do their jobs.” I wonder how forthcoming the church might become if its tax-exempt status were under threat?

ROBERT ALBERTI, Minneapolis

• • •

The court order requiring the archdiocese to make public a list of priests accused of sexual abuse — allegations going back to the 1950s — opens a whole new era of transparency. Perhaps we can now expect that school districts and teacher’s unions, police departments and police unions, government offices and their employee unions — even the courts — will be required to turn over their lists of sexual-predator-members they’ve protected, transferred or otherwise hid from the public.

LOREN PECORE, Northfield

VETERANS

Thanks for taking Trevino’s lawyer to task

Kudos to Keith Reed for his Dec. 2 letter, “Lawyer’s argument in Trevino case was a dishonor to veterans.” He’s right on. Veterans deserve to be honored, murderers do not. Keith Reed: Thank you for your commentary, thank you for your service and thank you for having the guts to stand up to say the lawyer is wrong.

PEGGY CHAPMAN, Champlin

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