Letters in the editor's mailbag.
Don't interfere with people's beliefs
I thought our society was built on tolerance and diversity, but other voices, including a recent editorial, have decided people with certain religious convictions about homosexuality have no right to serve the public in government jobs.
Bakers, florists, county clerks and now judges are being told what they must believe and how they must live out their convictions - or lose their right to employment. How many jobs will soon be restricted to people with governmentally approved beliefs?
Our Founding Fathers would be astonished at that turn of events. They'd remember that most of their ancestors came to American to flee religious persecution.
The foundation of our country was rooted in people's ability to practice their religion as their consciences demanded, as guaranteed by the First Amendment. People don't lose that fundamental right when they enter the public arena, whether in government or in business.
It's illegal for prospective employers to ask questions of job seekers dealing with their gender, age or religious denomination. Apparently the government should now be asking prospective employees about their private beliefs, including about homosexuality, and deny employment to those who don't answer the right way.
The way forward is clear, and easy. Every government can have clerks and judges who issue licenses and perform weddings, and others who won't. Government shouldn't intrude into our bedrooms nor try to dictate how we live out our faith.
Nike shouldn't 'brand' our students
In response to the Sept. 10 article about Nike proposing to provide the Eugene School District's varsity sports athletic apparel ("Eugene schools mull deal with Nike"), I believe it would be anti-educational in that it would take away youths' right to choose, which is key to developing the mind.
I believe it would be anti-labor in that it would cede public control to a multinational corporation that employs sweat shop labor.
I believe it's anti-equity when the district's director of athletics - with support from the new superintendent - can remark that 80 percent of the district's students are already wearing Nike-branded gear, while not recognizing that nearly 45 percent of the district's students are on free or reduced school meals because they come from low-income families.
I urge the Eugene School Board not to allow branding of our youth for corporate gain.
Greg Van Vlack
Day was simply practicing his faith
The Sept. 10 editorial ironically headlined "No room for bias" was a scathing scold of Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day for his declining to perform homosexual "weddings" due to his sincerely held Christian faith and commitment to that faith.
In politically correct-crazed Oregon, it seems "accommodation" is required for those of all faiths and belief systems, except for Christians. I don't know Day (my loss) but from all I hear about him, he's a sincere practicing Christian and I respect him for that.
The editorial ended with a quote the editors endorsed: "I just don't see how you can have an orderly society if we all start imposing our individual views on a situation," to which the editors churlishly added, "Day should take note."
To my knowledge, Day seeks to impose none of his views on anyone else. He's simply declining to be bullied into having others impose their views on him. He should be left to remain faithful to his Christian faith, just as the editors should be left to remain faithful to their anti-Christ secular humanist philosophy.
Bryan T. Hodges
Signs of decline are everywhere
I moved to Eugene in 1970. The population was 76,346. I worked downtown in the 1970s and 1990s for 17 years.
There were high-quality clothing stores, small department stores, hardware stores, doctors' offices, florists, furniture and antique stores, drugstores, banks, gift shops, book stores, movie theaters, restaurants, shoe stores, variety stores and travel agencies. The city's newspaper and police department were also there. It was a delightful and safe place to work and do business.
Now I usually envision downtown and avoid it, but on Aug. 28 I drove through it. Lying asleep in a heap of filthy blankets on the northeast corner of Olive Street and Broadway was a young woman, plastic bottles and food containers surrounding her. The intersection was filled with what are now called "travelers." It was a depressing mess.
I arrived home to peace, quiet and cleanliness and learned that our south Eugene neighborhood was in lockdown. A homicide-suicide was in progress.
On Aug. 6, while on my four-mile walk through the Friendly and College Hill neighborhoods, I saw some road rage and, farther on, a young couple's shouting match. The beat-up RV that housed them, her parents and four young siblings was parked in the shabby lot next to the remains of Civic Stadium, destroyed by mere children.
Eugene is in trouble.
Nancy A. Olson