Letters to the editor for Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015
Davis agreed to uphold the Constitution
Kim Davis isn’t just a clerk. She’s the Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, an elected position. The brief her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court claimed that she understood her oath of office “to mean that, in upholding the federal and state constitutions and laws, she would not act in contradiction to the moral law of God.” Why? Because her oath included the words “so help me God.”
But the oath prescribed by the Constitution doesn’t include the words “so help me God.” George Washington added them after taking his Oath of Office, and saying them became customary. They are of no Constitutional significance.
Public officials don’t swear to uphold God’s laws. They swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which doesn’t mention God once. And they swear to uphold laws enacted under the establishment clause, which prohibits any established or official religion. That’s the reason the framers didn’t include God in the Oath of Office. It would have violated the Constitutional principle that no religious test would ever be required to hold public office.
Kim Davis now claims that Pope Francis telling her to stay strong “kind of validates everything” she has done in violating her oath and ignoring court orders. The Pope did no such thing. It’s not even clear that he understood who she was or what she represented. And unlike Iran, in this country religious leaders are not the final arbiters of what has constitutional validity. That’s the job of the United States Supreme Court.
We can do better to avoid mass shootings
I am 25 years old. I’m part of the generation that hears all about the flaws of my generation. We’re all about “instant gratification, technology, and unwarranted privilege,” blah, blah, blah.
Regardless if those stigmas are warranted, I think they overshadow something that has really defined my generation: the commonality of mass shootings. Since 1982, there have been over 70 mass shootings in the United States. We Millennials will Tweet and Facebook our obliged condolences, and in a couple days the tragedy will be just another growing statistic. But no change. This country is allowing shootings to mock the child that touches the hot stove, but doesn’t learn to not touch it again.
Perhaps, it’s too late for my generation to not be scarred from these shootings, but its not too late to avoid freshly wounding the new generation. I don’t want future children to think that movie theaters, schools and malls can be both a place they belong and a place where terrible things can and still happen.
It would not be a farfetched guess that I am anti-gun. I believe in gun control. I believe that times have changed since 1776. I believe it’s wrong to sell guns in the classified-ads. But what I believe in most, is that my generation and all Americans deserve much more than to be defined in history books as the Americans that were too stubborn and too divided to do something about limiting these shootings. Basically, I believe we can do better.