Four Letters from Bakersfield
1701 I Street, Bakersfield, CA 93302
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
—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
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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