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Readers Write (Aug 26): Marriage amendment, Jason Lewis, autism, New Zealand, pastor

  • August 25, 2012 - 5:17 PM

MARRIAGE AMENDMENT

 

Letters show division story failed to capture

Once again, the Star Tribune has shown its bias on the marriage amendment in a so-called "news" article. The Aug. 19 headline, "Marriage fight divides state's Catholics," leads a reader to believe that those divided Catholics will be given a chance to express their views.

However, the article quotes only one pro-amendment Catholic, the head of the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Every other person quoted is anti-amendment, including all the "ordinary" people. In addition, the two published photos featured amendment opponents. Reading this article doesn't exactly give the impression of "divided" Catholics.

The newspaper owed it to readers to present people on both sides of the issue in this "divided" group.

CATHERINE WALKER, MINNEAPOLIS

• • •

Please tell me how the Catholic Church can maintain its tax-exempt status, given its heavy involvement with the marriage amendment. The church is working all over the state, and apparently has contributed $500,000 in the effort. I know the tax code is complicated, but one guiding principle is that tax-exempt organizations should not work to support or defeat legislation or candidates.

MARK BRANDT, MINNEAPOLIS

• • •

The "Vote No" signs have a subtitle that states "don't limit the freedom to marry." They miss the central issue. Marriage is two things: 1) a civil contract, and 2) a union between man and woman in the hope that through procreation the human society will flourish. Under the law, married couples have certain legal rights.

There is nothing to prevent same-sex couples from petitioning the Legislature to pass a law that permits them to enter into a civil contract (see No. 1 above) with the same legal rights. Marriage has a certain definition. You can't change that definition anymore than you can say red should be blue or blue should be red.

PATRICK FINLEY, EDINA

• • •

The Catholic Church is a business. That business is social justice. The Catholic Church needs to stay out of our bedrooms and stay out of politics.

MARY DUFFY, HOPKINS

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JASON LEWIS

His attack on liberals is, at best, an ironic twist

 

According to Jason Lewis, Catholics are none too happy about the government interfering with the church ("Liberals want badly to take away rights," Aug. 19). Referencing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services enforcing the Affordable Care Act, Lewis quotes the Rev. John Jenkins of Notre Dame: "We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that government not impose its values on [us] ..." Yet in the same edition of the Star Tribune, we read that the Catholic Church is feverishly working to impose its values on everyone else by supporting the Minnesota marriage amendment. Catholics can't have it both ways.

STEVE MILLIKAN, MINNEAPOLIS

* * *

AUTISM

We need more answers based on solid research

 

I did not know that fatherhood came with a "best if used by" label ("Dad's age tied to autism risk," Aug. 23). I guess now we will have to redefine who is the "weaker sex."

It would have helped if the writer had explained why a father's gene has a much greater genetic mutation than does the mother's gene. And, if only 30 percent of autism can be attributed to an aging father, what do we know about the inherited family traits and environmental factors that compose the other 70 percent?

I would hate to believe that autism research is being manipulated to further some hidden agenda. Parents of autistic children want scientific facts, not conjecture, no matter where those facts lead them.

BENJAMIN CHERRYHOMES, HASTINGS

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NEW ZEALAND

Universal health care is one key to its success

 

I enjoyed reading Michael Nesset's commentary on New Zealand -- its friendly people, humane working conditions, and breathtaking natural beauty ("Wish you were here?" Aug. 19). However, the author failed to mention one of the country's important attributes: Its longstanding commitment to universal health care.

Then again, maybe that's not such a unique feature, as universal health coverage is also enjoyed by the citizens of Germany, France, Canada, Sweden -- well, every wealthy democracy in the world. Save one.

The United States stands alone in its treatment of health care as another big business industry -- administered largely by for-profit health insurance companies -- rather than as a basic right of its citizens.

It is long past time to adopt a publicly financed, single-payer health system that would guarantee coverage for all Americans, while saving hundreds of billions of dollars. Only then will we finally achieve what has been so fundamental to all of our democratic allies for so long.

DAVE DVORAK, MINNEAPOLIS

* * *

BILL YOUNGDAHL

Pastor was a leader whose lessons live on

 

I read with sadness about the recent death of Pastor Luther "Bill" Youngdahl ("Pastor championed civil rights," Aug. 21).

In 1970, I was a first-year speech teacher at Richfield High School and was assigned the task of finding a speaker for the spring National Honor Society banquet. Pastor Youngdahl had just helped integrate a church in Omaha and was a strong voice for equality everywhere.

He held the young audience in the palm of his hand as he talked about his three heroes: Cesar Chavez, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. After his speech, I was informed that the leadership at the school was not pleased with my choice.

What was controversial then seems so tame today. We have come a long way, thanks to people like Pastor Youngdahl, and it is my hope that the students who heard him that spring night 42 years ago were as energized for the future as myself. Godspeed, Pastor Bill.

FRED KELLER, EDINA

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