We must protect free exchange of ideas

Congratulations to D.J. Tice for his voice of sanity in “Yes, indeed, religious latitude is messy” (March 30). All freedoms are messy in their particulars, and, therefore, there is room and necessity for nuance and diversity in protecting those most basic rights and beliefs that protect us all. We can forget that the actual wording of the First Amendment links together the free exercises of the press, religion, and public speech and assembly, because they are all about the ability of a diverse community to in fact work out in public their motivations and directions … the free intercourse of ideas, including specifically religious ideas, in the marketplace of public conversation. And the ability of a thoughtful population to make its own decision based upon that conversation.

Leonard Freeman, Long Lake

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The federal health care laws do not require that Holly Lobby et al. provide the birth-control methods but merely the insurance for those birth-control methods that have been prescribed by their employee’s physicians for proper health care maintenance. In reality, these employers are requesting that the Supreme Court grant them the right to interfere, on religious grounds, with the doctor-patient relationship, which is the fundamental relationship of delivering health care to the public. The argument that one’s religious belief should trump the doctor-patient relationship would result in the eventual deterioration of America’s health care system.

Melvin Ogurak, Edina

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Tice’s column completely overlooked the religious beliefs of the employees. They can choose what benefits they wish to use, in accordance with their own beliefs. Where does one find the right of corporate executives to substitute their values for those of their employees?

Dave Porter, Minneapolis


Show these educators some dignity, respect

I was deeply troubled by the plight of the adjunct professors (“Teaching college courses for a barista’s pay,” March 30). It seems like the new cultural norm is to undervalue those who serve on the front lines of education (teachers and professors) and those who are paying for that service (students), while administrators and managers’ salaries and benefits remain secure. Why can’t we examine our priorities to make sure they reflect what we as a society say we value? It seems that a lot of academic institutions are top-heavy with administrators and managers. Surely some of that excess could be reallocated in favor of paying the adjunct professors a salary that reflects their expertise and education. Further, why can’t the institutions that employ adjunct professors respect their dignity and find them some office space so that they can feel as if they are a part of the institution and help them serve students better? Administrators should be in the business of ensuring that every student has a quality education, and that starts by placing value on the teachers and professors who teach.

Maria Renier, Cambridge, Minn.



On any given day, we’re all pedestrians

The article “Proceed with caution” (March 30) does an admirable job of pinpointing dangerous pedestrian intersections throughout Minneapolis. Problematic areas should be noted by all commuters, be they pedestrians, bicyclists or vehicle drivers. Striking and injuring another person, no matter who had the right of way, leaves an emotional scar beyond any punishment society may hand down.

I found it disturbing that a member of the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee was unaware of the crash statistics cited by the Star Tribune. Scott Engel, quoted panel member, observes that intersection-construction options such as bumped-out curbs (no description included) would have been addressed decades ago had the intersection been located in a Linden Hills-type neighborhood.

Why should living in a tonier section of the city be a safety factor when crossing city streets? Dangerous intersections should be everyone’s concern, because we all become a pedestrian at some point during the process of commuting.

Tim McDevitt, St. Paul


Spend the money on needed roads, schools

Lori Sturdevant’s advocacy for a new Senate office building (“The history of the Capitol office debate,” March 30) borders on being shameful. No doubt elected officials would like a new work space; many people would.

But if there truly is $90 million available for new state-funded construction, why not spend it on well-documented infrastructure needs such as bridges and roads? Why not underwrite bonds for much-needed new schools in such districts as Moose Lake and Rushford-Peterson?

Legislators have a responsibility to allocate funds to promote the safety of citizens and to foster education, and they could do so if they wanted to.

Alan J. Lipowitz, Peterson, Minn.