Readers Write: (July 1): World War I, Hobby Lobby ruling, privacy ruling, stadium design

  • Updated: June 30, 2014 - 6:51 PM

It’s part of the Grand Rounds, yet perhaps not well-known.


Victory Memorial Parkway in 2000.

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON • Star Tribune,

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The June 28 Rash Report column (“ ‘The Great War’s’ great impact”) didn’t mention the Minneapolis location of a beautiful and heartbreaking memorial to 568 Hennepin County residents killed in World War I. But I think not many people are aware of the memorial, although it stretches for 3.8 miles and is part of the Grand Rounds park system.

I hope Great Decisions groups will take field trips to walk, quietly, along the columns of trees lining Victory Memorial Parkway. Those who want to learn more about the impact of American involvement (only a year and a half) in that horrible war will stop at each marker at the base of each tree and say the name, aloud, of each of the 566 men and two women who were killed. (Yes, 568 people from Hennepin County!)

Just drive north along Theodore Wirth Parkway, past North Memorial Medical Center, where the parkway name changes to Victory Memorial. Park your car and start to walk, attending to the marker at each tree. You’ll be touched.

Lucia Wilkes Smith, Minneapolis


A court in love with corporations

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that corporations can withhold contraceptive health coverage from employees, according to the religious views of owners, isn’t based on the flawed belief that corporations are people. Instead, it is based on the even more flawed belief that corporations own people.

Jeremy Powers, Minneapolis

• • •

Where are the conservatives when you need them? The idea that a corporation can hold religious beliefs is novel and legally unprecedented. I howl in outrage at this judicial activism.

The Hobby Lobby ruling is also a radical reshaping of existing workplace law. We have just turned corporations into something like churches. What about the religious beliefs (or nonbeliefs) of the secular employees? Why should sales clerks have to inquire about the religion of secular corporations when seeking employment, and will doing so allow the employer to ask about the applicant’s beliefs?

The wave of unintended consequences to come from this heedless ruling will be staggering. It will Balkanize laws regulating employment and all manner of services. Don’t want to have to rent to blacks, Muslims or single women? Incorporate your religious “belief,” whether long-held or newly discovered, and you are exempt from the law.

This ruling legalizes religious discrimination, first but not only by the powerful against the powerless. We know how this court would have ruled if the appeal had come from some splinter sect on a question other than contraception-as-abortion. The founders wanted this to be a nation of Christians, not an overtly Christian nation. Unfortunately, five Catholics who call themselves conservatives have other ideas. Where are the true conservatives when we need them?

Brian W. Smith, St. Paul

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Be prepared to see denials of all forms of birth control, medical procedures concerning fertility or sterility, and medications used for conditions like ADHD. This decision also leaves open the possibility that corporations could refuse to hire people on the basis of religious beliefs. Furthermore, it applies to all religious beliefs. So, let’s see what the conservatives say when an Islamic employer finds it religiously objectionable to cover any type of family planning or not allow women to work alongside men.

The only way to correct this is for Congress to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to mandate that for-profit nonreligious entities must abide by public laws such as the Affordable Care Act. But … good luck getting Congress to do anything that really matters.

Joe Tamburino, West St. Paul

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