Last edited: November 22, 2003

Four Letters from Bakersfield

Bakersfield Californian
1701 I Street, Bakersfield, CA 93302
Fax: 805-395-7499

Letter: Drowning Out ‘Truth’

July 18, 2003

Hear ye, hear ye: Just as those applauding the recent U.S. Supreme Court vote legalizing sodomy should not overlook that the decision was directed more at defending and upholding individuals’ rights than the physicality of the act itself, neither should those in opposition forget that opinion and choice are among the many gifts granted us by God, an internal balance, so to speak, enabling one to decipher right from wrong.

Albeit controversial, the ruling states that you “may,” not that you “must.” If you’re listening, there is more than a slight difference between the two.

While “true” believers tell us that it is not our place to judge our fellow man but to lead him by example, occasionally disheartened, though always diplomatic, I try not to think of all those men and women who remain unreached because they simply could not hear “the truth” over all the righteous whining.
—Jeff Yeley, Bakersfield

Letter: Liberty Is for All

July 17, 2003

It is with a heavy heart that I must respectfully disagree with my old third-grade teacher, whose letter recently graced these pages. The Supreme Court has not turned its back on morality; it has embraced it.

Surely the uppermost tenet in the moral code must be to respect others and to do them no harm. The court has held, in its landmark Lawrence decision, that all citizens are worthy of respect, and there is no distinction in the law for discrimination against those perceived to be different. The laws overturned by this decision do discriminate. It can hardly be considered moral to enforce laws as bills of attainder, designed like the old Jim Crow laws, to penalize minorities for no other reason than that they are different.

The only morality we Americans can embrace is one of “justice and liberty for all.” We don’t read it as, “Justice for those we approve of,” or “Liberty only for those we like.”

I learned a lot about that in the third grade. Thanks, Mrs. Stringer.
—Whitney Weddell, Bakersfield

Letter: Love and Forgiveness

July 15, 2003

I recently heard that there is an attempt to amend the Constitution and ban same-sex marriage. That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. That is something this town might support, but all in favor, please take a step back and look. How does it affect you? It doesn’t. If you claim it is sin, then you have another problem. You need to keep your religion out of politics. Look what it did to other great nations in the past. I think it is sad that a human would go to such great lengths just to hurt and ostracize others.

For those who would support this amendment on the religious level, remember it is not your place to judge; it is not your job to control people. What ever happened to love? What ever happened to forgiveness?
—Jeff Smith, Bakersfield

Letter: Rush Was Misquoted

July 13, 2003

In a letter to the editor, an author decried the Supreme Court regarding the Texas sodomy decision. In her letter, the author quoted Benjamin Rush. But in quoting Rush, the author left out the second part of his statement. Here is Rush’s quote in its entirety: “Nothing can be politically right that is morally wrong; and no necessity can ever sanctify a law that is contrary to equity.”

I wonder if the author left out the second part of Rush’s quote because it contradicted her belief?

Morality is not just within the realm of religion, it supersedes religion. And I, for one, am sick of religious types who hijack concepts such as morality for their own devices.

As a side note, Benjamin Rush was also a progressive in regards to social issues and was a social reformer. Among the many causes he championed were prison and judicial reform, abolition of slavery and the death penalty, education of women, conservation of natural resources and the appointment of a “secretary of peace” to the federal cabinet. As such, Rush would have most likely approved of the Supreme Court’s decision.
—Tim Mayne, Bakersfield

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