Friday, December 14, 2007

Rights? What Are Those?

I did something today that I haven’t done in quite a long time. I wrote an actual, on paper, in an envelope with a stamp letter to a politician.

Our governor, whom I generally support, has well and truly screwed up. Nativity scenes were removed from two state parks here and he later ordered them to be replaced because they were “proper and traditional.”

Before you look at me like that, let me say that I don’t have a problem with them being there provided a couple of things are true –

1) They aren’t being provided using public funds (as in some private org is putting them there with a permit)

2) Every religion that wants to can put up a display.

He killed #2.

In a display of a complete lack of regard for the first amendment, he has decided that he should be able to decide which religions get to be represented and which don’t (and already said no to one).

I’m not happy.

The letter, which is to be mailed today, follows.

Governor Strickland,

I have been a long time supporter of yours. In fact my family and I actually knew you at one time. Personally, I think that, on most things, you have looked out for the best interest of your people. You’re not perfect, but then nobody is.

However, you have recently done something which I consider unconscionable.

If the Nativity scene is provided or maintained by using public funds, it should not be in the public parks, tradition or not. If it was provided for by a private group and allowed to be there, that would be different provided that ALL other faiths were allowed to put up displays of their own.

However, the statement by your spokesperson, Keith Dailey, that you would decide which religious symbols to allow on the park grounds was so far past the boundaries of good taste and legality that it’s not even funny.

It is a statement that your administration is going to pick and chose which religions to represent and which ones to repress, and that is not only against the Constitution, it is morally repugnant in a nation that was built on no religion being higher than any other.

In a few short days, I have lost a great deal of respect for you – not that I think my opinion will have any real affect on you as you seem to be set on doing what you are doing despite the law.

In addition, I think that you need to send word to Whitehall City Council member Chris Rodriguez that we take our rights quite seriously and his statement that “people should get over it and stop being so smug about their rights.” is a sign that he has no regard for those he serves.

Part of the responsibility of all politicians in this country, including both of you, is to protect the rights of the people. Suggesting otherwise should constitute breaking your oath of office.

I mention him only because you are currently in the same boat and you both need to re-think your stances and make formal apologies to the people which you serve (and you do serve us. Never forget that.)

I’ve done my part as a citizen by voicing my concerns. It is now your turn to do your part by following the law and acting in a reasonable manner.


James Hollingshead

No comments: