Readers support police chaplaincy program

We were sad to read the article “Group seeks to halt police chaplaincy program” in the Dec. 5 edition of The McPherson Sentinel. We have family members in law enforcement.

How thankful this community should be to the two men who are volunteering their time and energy to support our law enforcement.

“Providing support for officers in their daily work, as well as counseling for individual civilians in traumatic situations” doesn’t sound too radical to us.

“The program is based on similar police chaplaincy programs across the state and standards created by the International Police and Fire Chaplain’s Association and Homeland Terror Chaplaincy Network.” It’s working in other communities, why not ours?

The group from Wisconsin is not going to come help us if we have an accident or emergency. The Freedom from Religion Foundation “would not rule out litigation to resolve the issue.” This foundation threatens lawsuits to communities across the nation. Our law enforcement officers are protecting us with their lives. This is a local law enforcement department issue. Let’s let them do the best they can for their employees who need all the support they can get.

Speak Up, McPherson! Don’t let a few make decisions for the many. The Freedom from Religion Foundation would not release the name of the local area person who made the complaint. Yes, “local area person” you have an opinion and rights, but we do, too, and WE are signing our names.

— Greg and Donna Vincent, McPherson

Opera House provides positive experience

I want to thank the McPherson Opera House for bringing the Tallgrass Film Festival Roadshow to us last Thursday night.

These short films surprised, shocked and generally entertained and informed me. I was amazed at what can be conveyed in three to 18 minutes of film. And the price was extremely reasonable!

If you have not been to one of these short film showings, I would highly recommend that you catch the next showing or any other show at the Opera House for that matter.

They are providing quality entertainment for a small investment of your time and money. What a great asset to our community. Bravo!

— John R. Snell

Religious liberty doesn’t mean forcing ideas on others

I really liked Robert Layne’s Dec. 1 column on church-state separation and Christian arrogance, and have recommended it to a number of people. I thought it was very much in accord with the spirit of Christmas and what I wish were the spirit of Christianity.

I was also interested in his use of the phrase “follower of Jesus,” since I occasionally describe myself in that way (but never as a Christian).

I’m not Fr. Layne, but I might take a stab at answering the questions posed by Joseph Martin in his Dec. 8 reply column. The “presuppositions” of the Constitution were contained in the Declaration of Independence.

All people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including the right to liberty. I take that to mean the rights are not granted by, and cannot be rescinded by, any human agency.

Some believers take it to mean the rights are granted by a deity. So they try to alienate the rights if they think the person exercising them is not conforming to the dictates of the deity they recognize. They are saving the person from hell, which the deity for some reason needs their help in doing, and that trumps religious liberty.

If Mr. Martin's duty to his god requires that he impose his views on others, he will indeed have constant and endless battles in both politics and religion. If it does not so require, then I fail to see what his problem is with a Constitution guaranteeing religious liberty.

What I don't understand about Buhler is why anyone thought their seal would pass constitutional muster in 1988. If I were they, I'd put a shade on that cross and call it a lamp. If anyone thinks there's still a cross under the shade, that's his prerogative. Symbolism is in the eye of the beholder. But you can no longer have a naked cross on a city seal. That's not a progressive idea.

It's less clear to me what the objection is to a volunteer chaplaincy program. The operative word is “volunteer.” I trust the program accepts volunteers regardless of creed, and that anyone may refuse counseling. It might help to have the details of the complaint. In any case, there are many such programs that could be affected by the outcome, so I trust the city will consider the matter carefully. — Wesley Koehler

Citizens too quiet on freedoms

The first amendment says nothing about the separation of church and state.

It says specifically that congress shall not establish a religion and I quote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It seems to me that we have lost sight of the true meaning of the first amendment. When we have groups who want to limit the public’s right, we need to speak out for the truth and our constitutional rights. I think we have been quite too long and we have lost a number of freedoms by our silence on important issues. A concerned citizen.

— Adonijah Pauls