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Byline: The Register-Guard

People distort American history

American history, it seems, is slowly being rewritten, or simply forgotten.

More and more writers to these pages are asserting that the United States was founded on Christian principles, as demonstrated by Jodi Jennings' May 20 letter in which she stated that "any historian would back up my position that this country was based on faith, as our Pledge of Allegiance states: `One nation under God'."

In truth, no historian would back up that position. The phrase "under God" wasn't inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, at the height of the McCarthy hysteria.

Jennings also takes issue with the phrase "separation of church and state." She might be surprised to learn that the phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson, a man history remembers as determined, as were his fellow founders, to keep the new nation free from bondage to the rule of religion.

These men even enshrined this determination in the Constitution's First Amendment - significantly, in its very first phrase - which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." This phrase actually alludes more to the need to ensure freedom from religion than freedom of it.

The founders, most of them deists, meant not at all to discourage faith, but to protect the private rights of all Americans from religious zealots wielding state power. What would they say today?



A new kind of political science

To create voter confidence, claim to be religious. Then you can take away voters' employment opportunities, do away with their retirement plans and destroy their unions. They will never suspect ulterior motives, because you are religious.

You can declare a war that takes the lives of their sons and daughters and claim to have replaced an evil dictator, even when the replacement is murderous mobs that kill as many as he did. You will still be considered to be religious because you take a stand against abortion and stem cell research on religious grounds.

Can political science be reduced to this? Apparently, it works.



Preserve our Class 1 farmland

After Eugene's City Council rejected the land swap offered by developers Melvin and Norman McDougal, I read The Register-Guard's May 19 article saying the McDougals' proposed Santa Clara property is designated in the Metro Plan as "urban reserve." That designation was revoked; it is simply Class 1 farmland.

Mike Evans was quoted as saying this is not ordinary rural land, but opportunity property. I couldn't agree more! This land gives us the opportunity to feed ourselves long into the future. Class 1 soils are our most fertile and give us the greatest return for energy put into crop production. To pave this over with 120 acres of suburban sprawl is not only shortsighted but poor planning.

To accommodate growth, we not only need buildable land, we also need to retain our most valuable soils for food production. Currently, Lane County has given over 90 percent of its Class 1 soils to other forms of development. This dwindling resource deserves preservation.

As the economic reality of reduced oil supplies makes itself known, food produced farther away will become increasingly more costly. At present, the average meal traveled 1,500 miles before it reached your table.

In contrast, food produced locally can travel less than 10 miles to reach you. That represents savings in energy outputs, global warming gasses emitted, money reinvested in our local economy, protection of open spaces and fresher food that is better tasting because it wasn't harvested two weeks before you ate it.



Overpopulation is the problem

It is time we humans realize that we are the ones who are causing the problem with cougars.

The human race is so overpopulated that we have encroached into the territory of wild animals. Instead of taking up the animals' living space, maybe we should do more to deplete our own race.

How dare we kill animals that are doing nothing wrong but trying to find food? Humans kill, yet get to live on in prison with food, medical care and other comforts provided. We should be thinking more of live trap-and-release programs, transporting these poor cougars hundreds of miles away into the wilderness.

The only thing is, in a couple of decades we will be taking that space up, too. We soon will kill off our precious wildlife just because we can't control our own overpopulation problems.



Protect marriage in Constitution

A federal judge in Nebraska has landed what could be a fatal blow to the institution of marriage. He voided that state's amendment that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

I feel that Judge Joseph Bataillon acted outside of the authority granted him by the U.S. Constitution. The judicial branch of the government is not supposed to make public policy. The people of Nebraska had an overwhelming majority of voters who wanted this marriage definition to be in their state's constitution. Bataillon's activism threatens every state with similar same-sex marriage amendments, including Oregon.

I believe that the solution is the Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It's the only way to ensure national uniformity in the definition of marriage. It would also ensure that the definition of marriage is protected by law.

Please contact your congressmen and senators today and urge them to support the Marriage Protection Amendment.



Keep Operation Independence

I am concerned about PeaceHealth's decision to end the Operation Independence program in Cottage Grove.

Eleven years ago my mother, who was dying of cancer, came to live with my family. My husband and I were working at the time, and the care of our 2-year-old daughter took up much of our time at home.

Because my mother qualified for hospice care, she had helpful services available through home health nurses, bath aides and a social worker. However, the people who made it possible for my mother to remain in our home until the end of her life were the Operation Independence workers, who were present in rotating shifts around the clock.

I was able to work, care for my family and sleep through the nights while I knew my mother was receiving compassionate and professional care. Many of the caregivers had taken care of their own loved ones at the end of their lives. Their empathy and experience guided me through the difficult days.

Like most others, we paid cash for my mother's care because it was not covered by any insurance. Many families have given generous endowments in appreciation for care that their loved ones have received. These two factors have made Operation Independence self-sustaining.

As a health care provider and a volunteer at the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, I am aware of PeaceHealth's generosity. However, I do not understand the decision to end the critical services of Operation Independence in Cottage Grove or how this would financially benefit Peace- Health.


Cottage Grove

Wyden, Smith working together

Oregon is fortunate to have Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith representing us in the United States Senate. Although from different political parties, they have joined to form a policy called the "bipartisan agenda for Oregon."

They are working on the health care system by introducing legislation to help safeguard families against catastrophic health care costs, the No. 1 cause of personal bankruptcies. Both senators are defending Oregon's Medicaid funding and trying to reverse the inequities that now penalize Oregon providers for giving higher quality, more efficient care.

They are also working on legislation that will defend producers from unfair timber trade from Canada; promoting efforts to bring green energy technology and companies to Oregon; trying to ensure that the Columbia River channel will be dredged to 43 feet deep; and working on legislation to reauthorize $57 million for Oregon schools and more than $200 million to Oregon counties annually.

These are just some items on the long list of legislative priorities that our two senators are working on to help all Oregonians. How much better it is when the two major political parties work together.



U.S. doesn't need new nukes

Recently, the eighth grade in Kelly Middle School has been doing projects on world problems.

I chose nuclear proliferation. I was astounded when I found how many nations have nuclear weapons, how many we have and how close we have come to annihilation.

Now, under President Bush we are creating low-yield nuclear weapons such as the robust nuclear earth penetrator - also known as the "bunker buster." This could lead to other nations using low-yield nuclear weapons that would be much larger and more dangerous.

I think if we started setting good examples for nuclear weapons, it would help a great deal. With further tightening of restrictions surrounding nuclear materials and taking steps toward disarmament of our own, we could avoid hypocrisy and put less pressure on other countries to build defensive nuclear weapons.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jun 2, 2005
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