Time to #ProtectThyNeighbor
Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the most divisive and threatening U.S. leaders in to be elected in my lifetime.
The campaign Trump ran promising to deport Mexicans, register Muslims, and ignore the Constitution of the United States caused me to be physically ill on Nov. 9.
Pence is even worse. In Indiana he passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, otherwise known as the “Wedding Cake Law” that codifies discrimination against LGBTQ people.
But the time to grieve is over. We must form the Resistance because religion should never be used as an excuse to harm others.
#ProtectThyNeighbor is a campaign launched by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. AU is a national organization dedicated to fighting the religious right and the agenda of using religion as a basis for any legislation. We are committed to religious freedom – true religious freedom for individuals to worship anyway they choose or not at all. We fight to keep the wall of separation intact. By keeping the two separate, each can strive for its own lofty goals. We oppose any registry for religious minorities; any discrimination based on religion such as denying services to same-sex couples; any denial of medical services such as abortion or birth control based on religious views; any religious organization receiving government funds such as school vouchers.
Unfortunately, our newly elected president and vice-president are against these principles. They have vowed to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the law that prevents non-profits from making campaign donation or endorsing political candidates. Repealing this amendment would turn every single church or place of worship into a potential laundry-machine for political donations. Bake sales for candidates in the church parking lot? Does that sound appealing? Aren’t political fund-raisers bad enough without bringing them to our houses of worship?
Trump has toned down his rhetoric post-election, but he has made a number of extreme right-wing political appointments. The worst is Steve Bannon, a vocal anti-Semite. Trump himself has stoked fears about Muslims as extremists and terrorists. Though we don’t know what Trump might actually do, we do know Pence’s record, and so we are wasting no time in getting organized. We will use the local, state, and national stage to draw attention to the un-American acts of discrimination. We will fight to keep religion and politics separate. We will do whatever it takes to protect our neighbors. Will you #ProtectThyNeighbor?
President, Orange-Durham Chapter
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
Intrusion into Coker Hills
On Nov. 21, the Chapel Hill Town Council prostituted itself once again to a concept and to its political leanings, to the very real harm of local neighborhood residents.
Led, and ultimately swayed by, purely political forces, the council succumbed to the majority view of those wholly unaffected by this Coker Hills intrusion and ignored the concerns of those neighbors who will actually suffer from the clear-cutting of trees, increased noise and traffic and an uncertain future regarding the usage of a now-zoned commercial property encroaching on a decades-long sanctuary neighborhood buffer that will now be a precedent for future damage to other communities.
This shameful and convenient outcome renders on the Council a legitimate judgement of bias, poor town process, bad dealing and fundamentally poor judgement.
The Town Council immediately called in the press to celebrate a “win” for its personal political gain at the expense of the minority affected neighbors whose every daily neighborhood experience will now be reduced in enjoyment, whose property values will be reduced and whose voices were ignored. It was obvious during the Monday evening proceedings that this result was preordained. It remains a shameful example of a selective and politically motivated action by those elected.
All in Chapel Hill should be aware that your neighborhood may be the next victim of this town “leadership” mandate to increase the tax base and bow down to the prevailing political sentiment with no regard for human impact. Alternatively, the council could be forced to conduct decision process to the standard of transparency which all residents and taxpayers demand.
Your neighborhood may be the next example of the council’s insatiable grab for development, tax base dollars and political kowtowing.
Our auto-dependent design
Ted Vaden wrote of the hardship faced by those in our community who do not have legal residency and therefore cannot obtain drivers’ licenses (“A case for restoring undocumented drivers’ licenses,” CHN, Nov. 30), and he said the “ultimate solution” would be to change the law that currently prohibits them from driving.
I’m sympathetic to their plight, but there are thousands of others facing the same hardship. These include folks who can’t afford a car; those whose disability does not allow them to drive; young people; and others who are legally prohibited from driving. The fundamental problem faced by all these groups is the auto-dependent design of our communities, where providing effective transit is difficult, sidewalks are scarce, destinations are spread out, and car travel is implicitly prioritized over walking or biking.
The “ultimate solution” is to reform our planning and transportation policies to create a community where driving a car is an option, rather than a necessity.
Widen the interstates
I’ve been a resident of Orange County for 20 years. When will the county realize they are the direct contributor to some of the worst accidents and largest traffic jams due to their bottle necking of two major interstates, I-40 and I-85? Only Orange County has reduced lanes in both directions causing major congestion. I can’t be the only driver aware of this situation. Are there any plans to widen these corridors? I know from publications, housing is booming and large development is planned in Orange County which will only contribute negatively to this issue.
Michael J. Hamilton
Regarding the column “A case for restoring undocumented drivers’ licenses,” CHN, Nov. 30:
Seems like a lot of complex problems being caused by one simple issue: uncontrolled immigration.
Stop allowing illegal immigrants into the country and all of these other issues go away. Let them immigrate by the legal process like so many other have. If they are unwilling to respect our national laws why do you think they would respect our transit laws?
Support cool stuff
My experience yesterday makes me suspect that all this talk about shopping locally is just that … talk! Why isn’t Crazy Alan’s store in Timberlyne packed all the time? It’s a great store! They have everything, and Alan is a very friendly guy. Timberlyne has some excellent restaurants, two movie theaters and more but best of all, it’s not a mall! What could be better?
People who live in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough are so lucky. Crazy Alan’s most likely has something for everyone on your Christmas list. Seriously, Check it out. Often. If we don’t support cool stuff, it disappears.
Congratulations Dr. Roland
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority extends congratulations to Dr. E. Joyce Roland for her recognition as Distinguished Alumni of Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Roland, a member of the Class of 1961 of WSSU, retired in 2012 from the N.C. Central University Department of Nursing, and has devoted her life to health and humanitarian causes through nursing, teaching and training nurses, research, and medical and cultural collaborative publications.
In 2015, Dr. Roland, a Delta Dear, published an anthology about her 50-plus years in nursing which began at WSSU in 1957. She chronicled the 50 years of seven of her classmates as well as herself, in her book, “As We Go Forth: Reflections of WSSU Nursing Trailblazers – Class of 1961."
Dr. Roland especially enjoys sharing information about the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health of women. She is a teacher, researcher, and writer, focusing specifically on Mental Health and Wellness Management. Socially, Dr. Roland enjoys sharing African-American folktales via storytelling and addressing health genealogy (health problems that run in families), as well as healthy lifestyles for seniors.
Dr. Roland is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, Seton Hall University, and N.C. State University. She and her husband live in Durham. Dr. Roland is a member of the Professional Woman Network, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Central Carolina Black Nurses Association, and a member of St. Paul AME Church in Chapel Hill, where she sings in the choir, and serves on the Health Committee. In the community, she has served as support group facilitator for survivors of breast cancer at Lincoln Community Health Center.
Deborah J. Taylor
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.