The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a 40-foot WWI memorial cross can continue to stand on public land in Maryland.
In a 7-2 vote, the court concluded that the nearly 100-year-old memorial doesn’t violate the Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion because the passage of time has imbued the monument with historical significance.
I find that decision reasonable, but not so a separate opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who would have thrown out the lawsuit on the grounds that those who are offended by religious displays shouldn’t be able to sue over them.
A basic concept in law is that for every wrong there is a remedy. If one thinks such a memorial is a violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state, the proper course of action is a lawsuit.
IRVING S. ROSENFELD
Second Amendment context
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Bladensburg cross case on June 20 provided an important teaching moment.
That decision rejected efforts to remove or alter a large stone cross a Maryland city had erected in a traffic circle many years ago to honor World War I dead.
The court reasoned that in deciding current constitutional questions, we are not free to act in a vacuum. Rather, we need to use historical context. Slavish application of absolutes even when drawn from the Constitution, the court told us, may do more harm than good.
This approach would seem particularly appropriate in the context of gun regulation. Conservative doctrine has been that any and all gun regulation violates the sanctity of the Second Amendment.
That amendment, ratified when families had one or two flintlocks used for hunting or local militia training, has been stretched beyond recognition today by just the kind of absolutism the current, conservative court found inappropriate in its recent First Amendment case. The kind of nuanced analysis employed by the court in the recent cross case is desperately needed now in Second Amendment challenges.
One hardly need ask which is more dangerous, either to individuals or the country: An old roadside cross or a semiautomatic weapon in the hands of an angry, unhinged individual.
We can only hope that this court is as concerned about protecting schoolchildren, worshippers and the rest of us from gun violence as it has been in protecting the feelings of religious monument supporters.
Children in danger
Torture. There is no other way to describe lights on for 24 hours a day, freezing temperatures, toddlers in dirty clothes and diapers, sleeping on concrete and other conditions in which migrant children are being held at border facilities in Texas.
Prisoners of war have better conditions, as the military has pointed out. They, at least, get toothbrushes.
The June 25 Post and Courier editorial and news articles cited the need for more funds.
Yet, President Donald Trump was able to find “emergency funds” for his pet projects, such as the wall, and there was plenty of money for a corporate tax cut.
There is no guarantee, as the article “US moves children detained at the border” points out, that the children who are being moved to other facilities will have better conditions. And some will remain in the facility where conditions are unsafe and unsanitary.
We and the world watch as the nation that used to denounce other countries for keeping children in horrible conditions is now seen as inhumane by the United Nations.
Anyone who participates or watches silently as this practice continues is complicit in allowing or initiating torture.
Additionally, this is damaging the soul and reputation of this country. Please call your representatives and senators today.
Too many cars
The world has too many cars, not only in the United States but in many other countries as well.
With this in mind, one needs to ask why there is so much advertising for more and more automobiles.
While the obvious answer is to make money for the manufacturers, a change in direction is needed, either from the manufacturers or the various departments of traffic and transportation.
Whatever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?
According to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (888-674-6854), this year’s top threat is food poisoning by E. coli and salmonella bugs lurking in hamburgers and hot dogs at backyard barbecues.
The hotline’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter. They don’t bother to mention that high-temperature grilling of meat products also forms compounds that could increase your risk of cancer.
Luckily, a bunch of enterprising U.S. food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious and convenient veggie burgers and soy dogs. These plant-based foods don’t harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs or pesticides. And they are in the frozen food section of the supermarket.
This Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie burgers and soy dogs with our family and friends.
Rivers Point Row
Please spare us from the weekly airport passenger volume updates.
Every month is larger than the last.
We get it.
EUGENE D. FOXWORTH IV