Letters to the Editor - Oct. 20

October 20, 2012

Federal government remains important to everyone

To the editor:

Almost daily, I hear people assailing the federal government with claims that it would be best downsized or all rights given to the states. Of course, President Obama is the target for big government.

However, all of our rights and freedoms as Americans are protected by government. Our states receive emergency funding when our states cannot take care of disasters. Our roads and bridges and states and municipalities are subsidized by the federal government. Our national safety and security are taken care of by the federal government. National crimes are pursued by federal agencies. Terrorism is prevented by the federal government. Regulations for food, hygiene, safety, medicine, agriculture and education are all products of the federal government. As much as Republicans would rail against big government, they have helped create it.

What is usually hidden from our awareness is that most everything in our life is subsidized. The Sept. 17, 2012, Time magazine featured “One Nation Subsidized, How Big Government Underwrites Your Life.” We don’t realize that things like cotton, farm supports, clean water, hundreds of tax deductions, charities, jobs, housing, unemployment benefits, utilities, clothing and thousands of other things are all results of subsidized spending by the federal government.  Both parties have their lobbying groups that keep these subsidies going. Most of us not only make the money and pay for subsidies through our taxes, but we also benefit from and utilize federal subsidies.

Before you jump on the Republican bandwagon blaming big government, please realize that government is still the nation’s largest employer on federal, state and local levels. 

Judith M. McLean
Waynesboro, Pa.

Civil liberties are not subject to faith-based beliefs

To the editor:

Most objections to marriage equality for gays are rooted in religious tradition and doctrine, but same-gender couples seek recognition of the state, not the church. The U.S. Constitution, not the Bible or any other sacred text or faith system, is the foundation of our government.

The ideas that all people are created equal with unalienable rights are the traditions that define our democracy and are guaranteed by the Constitution. Civil liberties are not subject to faith-based beliefs and practices. Churches have their First Amendment right to restrict marriage within their own faith communities, but they don’t have the right to force others to live by their standards.

Religious objections to marriage equality are misguided, at best. The basis of religion is love and the Golden Rule. Imagine what it would be like not to be able to marry the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. It is morally and logically impossible to claim love and respect for gay people and at the same time oppose their basic human right to form families.

Gays are real people who suffer when their families do not have the rights, protections, benefits and privileges that heterosexual couples automatically acquire with a civil marriage license. Without the opportunity to be legally recognized as equal couples and families in society, we marginalize and stigmatize gay people and their lives. How loving is this?

The foundation of modern marriage is love — not gender, race, class, religion or some other construct. When two people pledge to honor, cherish and care for one another, individuals and society benefit. Why would God or any government want to discourage mutual love and lifelong commitment? Allowing gays to marry gays would show respect for the welfare and equality of all Americans and strengthen society.

Cris F. Elkins
Knoxville, Md.

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