Limits of freedom

David Brooks, in his column of Nov. 12, attributes his world view first to Protestant dissenters, then to Republicans like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and George Bush. He says it is built “around liberty, individualism, equal opportunity, populism and laissez-faire.” He adds, “Individuals have the power to shape their destinies; they should be given maximum freedom to do so.”

I say, “Right on, David,” but how do you reconcile this viewpoint with the (predominantly Republican, conservative) one which says 1) Roe v. Wade should be repealed and women and their physicians who choose to terminate a pregnancy must be made criminals, 2) people who want to use marijuana should be considered criminals, and 3) people who want to sell sexual favors should be considered criminals? It seems that these “world viewers” want to dictate their particular view of liberty and exclude others.

Liberty does not mean freedom to do whatever you want, but I would urge caution in defining the limits of freedom.

Since we will not all agree on what constitutes liberty, I can think of no better way to define it than this: You are free to do whatever you want so long as you do not deny or infringe on anyone else’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The difficulty will be determining when one person’s behavior does in fact deny someone else’s liberty. For example, when life begins and thus whether, or when, abortion is wrong. The fact that we have a wide diversity of opinion on this subject should be all the red flag we need to stop ourselves from trying to impose our own theocracy.

If we are not willing to stop short of making criminals of people who are harming no one, then what is to stop us from another Inquisition or burning of heretics?

Frank S. Hay Jr.

Franke Drive

Mount Pleasant

Bishop a failure

It is with deep sadness and shame that I consider recent events in the local Episcopal Church. I have been a member for 22 years and have come to deeply love our services, prayer book, people and mission.

Bishop Mark Lawrence has been a huge failure on many levels — primarily church growth and attendance, which has declined steadily since his arrival. Empty seats and an aging congregation are his legacy. Instead of focusing on creating a peaceful, welcoming environment that people want to be part of, he has focused on discord. Instead of working cohesively at the national level to build consensus and compromise, he stages walkouts and shuts down dialogue. Is this leadership?

Very few people know or care what goes on at church conventions. How many Republicans or Democrats can tell you what is in the party’s platform? It has little or no relevance to our life or worship. The national church hasn’t forced the bishop to accept anything in South Carolina that he isn’t comfortable with and certainly has done nothing to warrant such a radical step.

The reason he has been ineffective on the national stage is because he is a poor communicator. I, for one, have yet to get from him exactly what his problem is. His latest letter rambles on about the church seal. Really? He has created havoc and wants to go on about the church seal?

In our prayer book under ordination of a priest, Bishop Lawrence took an oath to “solemnly engage to conform to the doctrines, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.” If he doesn’t like our church than he should work within our structure to change it. If he cannot live up to his vow to the church he should leave.

But please don’t take our church away from us.

Robert Barnett

Snowy Egret Lane

Kiawah Island

Unfair branding

Under normal circumstances we conservatives would consider being the target of one of Brian Hicks’ columns a badge of honor and laugh it off as ranting from (using Mr. Hicks’ term) a “Pink Commie liberal.”

But his attack of Nov. 14 on those of us who worked to oppose the Berkeley County School Bond Referendum is too full of errors to let pass without correction.

None of us in the core group of Berkeley Citizens for Sustainable Education is a member of the Tea Party. One is a veteran and a former Berkeley County School Board member who until recently was volunteering to promote and improve the district’s Career and Technology Education Program. Another member is a veteran, retired from an honorable military career. A third member is an attorney, a very successful product of Berkeley County Schools with relatives who have dedicated their lives to education in the county. We are hardly anything like Mr. Hicks described, and our minimally funded campaign was supported only by Berkeley County taxpayers.

The Berkeley County Yes4Schools campaign was described as “grassroots.” As a matter of public record, it raised at least $84,750, of which $67,000 came from architects, developers, contractors and suppliers for the Berkeley County School District. That grass is fertilized with a lot of corporate “green.”

One of our primary objections to the bond campaign was the way the district gave convoluted information about how much a typical homeowner would be affected. The cost has been stated incorrectly by television news, radio news and at least one school board candidate in a public meeting.

Mr. Hicks stated we are “divorced from reality,” but even he can’t seem to grasp the issue since he asserts in his column that taxes would only go up for total of 10 years. Here is reality: In Berkeley County, for an owner-occupied home worth $150,000 the tax bill will go up $60 for three years, then double to $120 for the next 17 years, then revert to $60 for three years. If your home is not owner-occupied the bill will be 50 percent higher.

All of this does not include the tax increase on cars, boats, jet skis or anything for which you get a county tax bill.

The voters spoke on Election Day, and we respect that.

We did all we could to educate the voters with facts, and we stand proud of our effort.

We did not give misleading information, and we did not stand near polling places handing out campaign literature that looked very similar to the official election office’s ballot measure explanation.

Maybe Mr. Hicks would have formed a different opinion if he had taken the time to speak with any of us.

TERRY HARDESTY

JEFF REUER

JOSH WHITLEY

Berkeley Citizens

for Sustainable Education

West Main Street

Moncks Corner

The people’s choice

After reading about the Benghazi attack, I thought about misinformation the American people received about weapons of mass destruction during the Bush administration. Was there ever an investigation about that?

Thousands of Americans were killed in Iraq. And who was the scapegoat?

President Obama has just been re-elected for another term. Never in American history has a president, or the presidency, been more disrespected. I think Fox News helped re-elect the president because a lot of people who watch mainstream TV also watch Fox News and don’t think it’s “fair and balanced.”

President Obama is called “The Chosen One” and that is right. He was chosen twice by the people.

Ora Lee Buncum

Sixth Avenue

Mount Pleasant

Too many trees

The nearly complete landscaping along the Septima P. Clark Expressway promises to be breathtaking, yet has anyone considered that these scores of trees may impede traffic during critical times?

It does not take any imagination of a doomsday scenario where these bundled trees are blown onto the flooded Crosstown rendering escape impossible for anyone utilizing this particular avenue of flight.

Further, was it necessary to plant so many? It appears to me that when the leaves fall there will be an unappealing jumble of vegetation. In fact, was it necessary to plant any?

In my opinion, motorists would be better served taking the sidewalks, erecting a wall up the middle, and adding a fourth lane in both directions.

It likely would look more like parts of Manhattan’s East Side Highway, but it would certainly have made much more sense.

John C. Godfrey

Kracke Street

Charleston