In his opinion that wedding-video businesses should be able to refuse to video LGBTQ weddings, a recent letter writer (“Oh, be reasonable. Accommodate,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 5) suggests “reasonable religious accommodation” and uses as a supporting example the accommodation made to draftees from pacifist churches such as Mennonites and Quakers during World War II. That is a false comparison.
In those cases, young men were required by our government to serve our nation — either through combat or, if granted a dispensation for religious reasons, through alternative service. No one operating a business is doing so because the government requires him or her to go into business. He or she is choosing to provide a product or service to the public.
The opportunity for accommodation could as easily rest on the business owner. That owner could decide to go into a business in which the sexual orientation or marital relationship of customers would likely be unknown or irrelevant. Or, perhaps we can imagine a situation in which the wedding-video business owner could respectfully express his or her discomfort with an LGBTQ wedding to the potential customers and let the couple decide whether or not to be customers — without a lawsuit or a ruling.
We have freedom of and from religion in this country, allowing people to practice (or not) their religions, along with not imposing their religious beliefs on others. We live in a pluralistic society — many belief systems, many ethnicities, many cultural traditions with the hope, by the founders of our country, that we as a nation could thrive by respecting differences, following our own beliefs, and not imposing our religious beliefs on others.
In a posting elsewhere, someone wrote that she thought the freedom of religion was being threatened in our country today. From the rest of her posting, I deduced that what she really meant was that her particular religious practices were no longer being privileged (the Lord’s Prayer and Christmas trees in schools, for example). Sixty or so years ago was a simpler but not necessarily more just world when the only holidays recognized in schools and other public places were Christian ones. Respect for differences does not seem to me as capitulation or endorsement; it is just respect.
Julia McGregor, Golden Valley
Is constant roar the best we can do?
As a resident of southwest Minneapolis, I was interested to read about the city of Eagan working on behalf of its residents to limit airplane noise associated with our urban airport (“Eagan residents fed up with increased jet noise,” Oct. 9). What a concept! One Eagan resident was quoted as having experienced 92 planes flying over his home in a single day. He’s either lucky or it was a misprint, as that would be a remarkably quiet day in our neighborhood in southwest Minneapolis.
As just one example, anyone walking around Lake Harriet on the evening of Sept. 30 would not be faulted for thinking they were at the airport. That beautiful fall evening between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., there were a total of 98 planes that roared directly over the lake in single file lines on their approach to the airport. That means 49 planes an hour and almost one each minute — a superhighway operating directly over one of our signature city lakes enjoyed by thousands of residents daily. Is this the best we can do? Why not spread these planes out over a wider area instead of in two straight lines right next to each other? Why not reorient the runways so that planes can approach using the already busy and noisy Highway 62 and Interstate 35W corridors? I understand that we live next to an airport, but does that mean that we can’t seek to make the airport function in ways that limit the pain and suffering of city residents?
I hope Minneapolis city officials take notice of Eagan’s efforts and step up for our community as well.
Mark McGuire, Minneapolis
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I’m sympathetic to the people in Eagan struggling with airplane noise. I struggle with it, too. I think the solution, which I never hear mentioned, is quieter airplanes. Let’s put some regulations and mufflers up there. But this line from the Oct. 9 story reeked of entitlement and obtuseness: “Other suggestions include ... go over the Minnesota River corridor or Cedar Avenue rather than over homes.” What? Sorry folks, there are more homes than you can easily count along Cedar Avenue, and I live in one of them.
Scott Smith, Minneapolis
NEW EMISSIONS STANDARDS
Car dealers, unhappy? Goodness me
Oh, goodness gracious me — the automobile dealers of Minnesota are unhappy about Gov. Tim Walz’s plan to adopt standards for emissions? (“Calif. fuel standards don’t make sense here,” Oct. 9.) Scott Lambert, who wrote the commentary, would like to allow the manufacturers and dealers to dictate public policy as if the planet had unlimited capacity to absorb carbon emissions. We are experiencing the bad effects of climate change including increased precipitation, wildfires, acidifying oceans and melting Arctic ice, to name just a few. Better in Lambert’s view to buy a planet-killing vehicle than to put up with some modest attempts to slow down the global rise in temperatures.
Transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions in Minnesota. Doesn’t matter which state you live in, the effects are widespread and shared by everyone, including the car dealers for whom Lambert advocates. Minnesotans understand the connection between individual choices and global consequences. We need solutions instead of excuses and avoidance.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
Expected, but fun nonetheless
To the old saying that only two things in life are certain, death and taxes, a third can now be added: that the Yankees beat the Twins in the playoffs.
Oh, well. It was fun to dream for a while.
Bob Lenhardt, Minneapolis
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When I was small, I remember falling asleep at the cabin, wrapped in the sound of Twins baseball. The game played softly on the radio, accompanied by faint adult conversation. My summers have always been wrapped in baseball, cheering at the ballpark or listening on the way to the cabin until the last radio signal faded. This year, I was especially grateful for the Twins. Shocked out of my normal life by a cancer diagnosis, I spent the summer watching them from home. While I waited and hoped and lost hope and found it again, they stayed calm and positive night after night. They played every game with joy. Looking back, I won’t remember those last post-season losses. Instead, I’ll remember wrapping myself in baseball and the joy it gave me. Thanks, Bomba Squad.
Sue Telander, Bloomington
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