Against death penalty, abortion? Consistency

I was pleasantly surprised to see the two May 7 commentaries on the death penalty and abortion, respectively (“What’s being done in your name”). Both did an excellent job of explaining both the ineffectiveness and the injustice of these very pivotal issues. Add to that the very frightening escalation of violent crimes involving guns, and any reasonable person would have cause for alarm.

I once had the pleasure of working on a project with the late U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar that covered several life issues. Some may express surprise that one with the liberal views he had could be so pro-life. The answer is simple: Abortion is not a liberal/conservative issue, but a human-rights issue. Oberstar was Consistent Life Ethic — just like me.

Kay Kemper, Crystal

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Mike Farrell, author of the May 7 commentary about the death penalty, seems to think that by executing a murderer, the state is also committing murder, but that is not true. There is a world of difference between depriving an innocent person of his life and punishing a murderer by taking his life.

There are some people for whom no other penalty makes sense. People who have committed heinous, premeditated murders and about whose guilt there is no doubt. One such person is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who killed four people and injured 264 at the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Timothy McVeigh was another person who deserved capital punishment. He killed 168 people and injured more than 600 in Oklahoma City in 1995. There was no doubt about his guilt.

In such egregious cases, capital punishment should be an option.

James Brandt, New Brighton



Prayers have no place in U.S. government

At more than 75 years of age, I didn’t think I’d see a day when the United States could go backward in time while going forward toward a theocracy (“Green light on prayer gets ‘amen’ from cities,” May 8). Without credible evidence of higher deities, we now have officials of all ranks claiming they need prayer for guidance. I’d question their capability to do their jobs in the first place. And I cannot see that this was a case worthy of Supreme Court consideration.

The Supreme Court has just moved us toward countries where supreme religious leaders are the rulers. This kind of mythological mentality doesn’t belong in this country, forefathers notwithstanding.

Richard Segers, Savage

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Oaths that state common sense, prayers to religious figures of others, pledges to flags, all to participate in public governmental discourse. Where does it end? And, why, oh why, is this necessary?

Tom Erickson, Red Wing, Minn.



Oh, that was so the wrong thing to say

So US Bancorp President and CEO Richard Davis tells those who might not like the new Vikings stadium to “get over it” (as reported on a StarTribune.com blog devoted to the project).

Is that what he tells US Bancorp employees who make a minuscule fraction of the more than $15 million he made in 2013 (as reported by the Star Tribune)?

Is that what he tells those who believe the NFL is an out-of-touch, dying league due to concussions, debilitating injuries, player suicides and general backlash against its violent culture?

Is that what he tells Vikings fans who can’t afford the exorbitant ticket costs for an NFL game while he basks in his ivory tower luxury suite?

Is that what he tells those whose nonprofits, charities, cities and otherwise worthwhile causes lost funding due to the $500 million in taxpayer funds approved for this boondoggle?

Is that what he tells anybody who knows full well the Super Bowl won’t bring anything to our city other than headaches for those who live here?

Is that what he tells the neighbors of the new stadium, who will live near an empty, hulking behemoth for about 350 days a year?

Is that what he tells anybody who thinks rich out-of-staters like the Wilfs don’t deserve to be further enriched on the public spigot?

Mr. Davis, most Minnesotans didn’t want this stadium, a monument to many things but certainly not a monument to sensibility in our fair state.

I won’t get over it. And I’ll remember that stadium when I spend my money and when I vote.

Jason Walker, Minneapolis



Understand it by using the right comparison

A May 7 letter writer, responding with “chagrin” to an earlier article about “micro” racial slights (Variety, May 3), wrote that her grandchildren felt complimented rather than insulted when they were told how well they spoke French while visiting France. That misses the point. Her grandchildren were obviously visitors in France. The reason it is objectionable to tell nonwhite Americans that they speak good English is because they are Americans and have spoken English for their entire lives (exactly as the writer’s grandchildren likely have done). Commenting on their English skills suggests that they are not Americans but rather just visitors, like the writer’s grandchildren were in France.

What would the writer think if people told her grandchildren that they spoke excellent English? That’s the appropriate comparison. America has been multicultural for generations, and perhaps the growing emphasis on microdiscrimination is a sign that people want that fact to hit home.

Bonnie Wilkins, Roseville