The Opinion Shop

Bonus letters on freedoms, declawing cats, protesters, Citizens United, LGBT, winter weather and Cam Newton

Letters that got overrun by other issues before they could see print:


Scalia must honor separation

I agree with the writer of the Jan. 20 letter “ Questioning freedoms” that our hard-won rights must be protected, but a more nuanced view is needed.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believed that freedom from religion is inconsistent with freedom of religion. He believed some 25 percent of Americans are acting criminally when selecting “none of the above” beside the religion box.

This nation was built upon the values and principles of the rights of individuals, which are woven into our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights ensures religion will be protected, but the establishment clause prohibits favoring one religion over another.

Erecting a cross on public land implies the government is favoring Christianity. To be truly equal, it would have to open up space for symbols from Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, Taoists, Jainists, Santerias, Wiccans, Satanists and yes, secularists. And I’m sure I have missed some of the ways of worshiping the 5,000 names of God.

I honored Scalia’s right to believe in the deity of his choice. Would he have honored my right not to believe in any deity?

Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation has been widely agreed upon for some 200 years as the best solution. Don’t mix politics and religion.

Curtis Bass



End declawing

Thanks for the Jan. 19 Life article “ Why you should not declaw your cat.” For a long time, I have been opposed to this practice.

I realized it was a painful ordeal for the cat but did not know it was a big cause of litter box problems. Once a cat has been declawed, it can never safely be put outside; all defense against predators is gone.

I would love for North Carolina to make declawing illegal, and if that’s not possible, perhaps veterinarians will make the humane choice to stop this practice in our state.

Brenda McLean



Unhelpful protest

Regarding the Jan. 27 news article “ 4 arrested in raucous protest”: UNC Board of Governors chairman Lou Bissette is correct: Those who disrupt meetings to protest the appointment of Margaret Spellings are disrespectful and do not help their goal of progressive change for the UNC System.

As Bissette noted in the story, voters elected the Republican majority in our state’s General Assembly, and it will only be through elections that those “who elected this board” will be removed from office. Power of control belongs to the victors in elections.

Civil disobedience such as this protest influences the electorate at large to keep the current Republican majority who hired Spellings in power following November’s general elections.

Mark G. Rodin



Gridlock caused by Citizens United

As I listened to Bernie Sanders recently, I realized what a difference his proposals to changing campaign financing would mean in government.

As a direct result of the Citizens United decision, so much money is being spent on elections. The candidates are forced to pander to these big money contributors and must continue to please them to keep their jobs .

This leads to elected representatives voting in ways that may not reflect their constituents’ wishes . In some states, the elected officials may actually be beholden to people from totally different areas than those they were elected to represent.

This is certainly not a fair system for Americans and little resembles what was envisioned by the framers of our Constitution.

If the elected representatives were relieved of this burden of having to raise large sums to keep their jobs and the resulting obligatory votes to please those contributors, they would be free to vote as their constituents wanted.

A system that allows only limited contributions could certainly allow individual Congress members to vote with their hearts and not so much for their job security.

Bill Rogers

Chapel Hill


Power and papers

It’s a shame that a minor ice storm and a light dusting of snow knocked out power to thousands of Duke Energy customers. Is the power grid that delicate that a minor storm causes so much damage? Time for some much needed infrastructure upgrades.

In addition to no power, there was no mail delivery on Friday and Saturday. I must give a big thank you to The N&O and to my delivery guy for getting the paper out each day.

Mark Smith



A waste fighting LGBT vote

Regarding the Feb. 24 news article “ State could ‘correct’ LGBT vote”: “Sentiment” is not a legal basis for carrying out action in the General Assembly. It’s very simple.

House Speaker Tim Moore and the legislature should examine the legal status of the law passed in Charlotte . If the status is solid, or, if overturning it would not be solid, then take a pass on incurring more legal debt for the people they serve. (If they want to pay out of their own pocket, that’s OK.)

They need to provide us with statistics or expert psychological testimony about the danger they purport women and children will face. If there is, in fact, a danger, then let’s deal with it. But I have read nothing to date even hinting at anything that they would be able to use as evidence in court.

Heather Travar



O, say did you see?

Let me add to the Feb. 9 letter “ Learning experience,” concerning Cam Newton’s post Super Bowl attitude.

Did anyone else notice Newton’s obvious disrespect during the singing of the National Anthem? Playing with his collar with both hands instead of placing his right hand over his heart. I think the cameraman noticed it. Right then, I switched from being a Panthers fan to being a Broncos fan.

Barney Zmoda

Morehead City