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The State Journal encourages readers to submit letters to the editor for publication by noon Wednesday for the following Sunday’s paper. All letters must contain the writer’s full name, mailing address and telephone number for purposes of verification. The State Journal will not withhold the name of a writer. Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published. The State Journal will not publish thank-you letters, obvious form letters or letters addressed to third parties or to the public at large. Any letter may be rejected at editors’ discretion. All letters submitted for publication are subject to editing for length, form and content. Letters may be no more than 500 words long. Letters may be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The State Journal, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601; or e-mailed to rherron@state-journal.com.
Keep church,
state separate
To the Editor:
A recent article in the Lexington Herald-Leader about the Religious Freedom Act that sailed through a Senate committee should scare freedom-loving Kentuckians to death. Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon was quoted as saying Senate Bill 158 “is designed to protect the free exercise of religion from unnecessary restriction by government.” And it would give courts “more ammunition in favor of religion” when considering cases such as the jailing of Amish residents in western Kentucky who refused to use orange safety triangles on their buggies and Christians in Bell County who want to hold public prayer at school athletic events.
Religious freedom needs no protection from the government. People are free to express their religious views in Kentucky; whether within their homes, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples or wherever their gods may be found. The government is not interfering with religious freedom. However, it would seem to me that the so-called “religious freedom act” bill would indeed elevate religion, and one particular religion at that, over and above government and the rest of society. I could be wrong but the sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon does not appear to be a Muslim. I wonder if the bill would have sailed through the Senate committee if the good senator was a Muslim, Hindu or a Buddhist monk.
Higdon says that the bill would give the courts more ammunition in favor of religion. What exactly does that mean? Sen. Higdon mentions first the jailing of Amish residents in western Kentucky who refused to use orange safety triangles on their buggies. From a website titled “Mission to Amish People” there are over 40 auto-buggy accidents listed with at least three adults and 10 children killed and over 30 adults, nearly 30 children injured in 2011 alone. Would the good senator say that the Amish religion needs protection from a government that is trying to enforce the rules so they can save their lives? What gives Amish adults the right to endanger the lives of their children and other people legally using state roads by riding in very slow horse-drawn buggy’s without lights or reflectors on hilly, curvy roads meant for fast-moving cars and trucks?
Higdon also mentions holding public prayer at school athletic events. What gods will we be publicly praying to at these tax-funded, government/school events, Sen. Higdon? Will we pray to Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Krishna, Brahman, or Jesus?  Or would we pray to any of the other gods people of different religious faiths have that are too numerous to mention? And what of those that don’t believe in any sort of god at all? Will they be given a place in the public forum at these government tax-funded athletic events?
Why don’t we just leave each to their own religion in their homes and places of worship? There are very good reasons for separation of church and state. For examples of societies without the separation of church and state you should visit Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Phil Greer
Frankfort
Legislative
priorities off
To the Editor:
Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” On Feb. 16, the Kentucky House of Representatives Health and Welfare committee unanimously passed HB 364. They did the right thing shining legislative light on the issue of cruelty to children, our children, the abused and forgotten kids in our child welfare system. HB364 then naturally went to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee where it died, just like too many of Kentucky‘s at-risk kids. The cause of death? “There is no money!” No money for these kids?
The governor’s budget had millions of dollars allocated for a plethora of other projects. Money was not the problem. The problem is priorities. Our at-risk kids are not high enough on the priority list as illustrated by the budget.
Yes, there is money. The Commonwealth will spend billions of dollars over the next two years; at issue is how will we spend it? If you peruse the amendments to the budget bill the House passed you will find they did rob Peter to pay Paul but not for “their kids.”
Just a few of the House amendments include: “increase General Fund appropriations for the Commonwealth’s and county attorneys,” “increase the General Fund appropriation and decrease the Road Fund appropriation for the State Treasury; provide contracting authority to the Purchase of Conservation Easement Program board,” “provide funds for the Local Agricultural Fair Aid Program, the Farms-to-Food Banks Program, and animal shelters;” “increase the General Fund appropriation for the Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Kentucky Educational Television,” “increase the General Fund (Tobacco) appropriation for Natural Resources,” “provide funds for local conservation districts, forestry tree nurseries,” “increase the General Fund appropriation for county costs,” “increase the required rate of reimbursement for law enforcement officers serving Circuit or District Court,” “provide funds for the Washington, D.C., Internship Program, Adult Education, Contract Spaces Program, veterinary medicine slots, and optometry slots” and the list goes on. All of these are worthwhile and important and I am certain the House can justify each one. The question is how can we fund KET, forestry tree services, county costs, animal shelters, etc. and not find money to care for our victimized children? Should the state refuse to pay full child support to private agencies? If the private agencies go out of business, and some just might, the state must fund child welfare; they will just pay more. Why will we not make “the least among us” the “first among us” and private agencies caring for them valued partners? I am convinced if the public really knew the plight of these kids they would demand the executive and legislative branches of our government put caring for them above animals, trees, and television.
Is former president Mandela right? You make the call and then call the House and Senate leadership and tell them what you think.
Dr. William Smithwick
President and CEO Sunrise Children’s Services
Doonesbury
censorship
To the Editor:
Let me understand this:  You censor “Doonesbury” but leave intact a mean-spirited strip like “Mallard Filmore?”  Seriously?  Do you really think that your readership is not equipped to handle the appearance of a word that was widely reported as being used by Rush Limbaugh to describe a young woman who had the nerve to speak out about her reproductive rights?
 I am glad that The Courier-Journal chose to respect its subscribers by running these strips uninterrupted.  I am dismayed by the choice of the Lexington Herald-Leader, only slightly less craven than that of The State Journal, to run the “Doonesbury” strips in their entirety at the end of the week. 
 What is it about the topic of contraceptive and reproductive rights that The State Journal fears?
 That way lies ignorance, my friend.  Why foster that approach?  We deserve better.
David Garnett 
Frankfort
What, Rush
a hypocrite?
To The Editor
I’m told that a fella named Rush called some woman a slut, and everyone’s giving him hell.
I don’t understand.  I thought “slut” was a compliment. What everybody does.  Sin, surely, is just hypocrisy.
So what’s she upset about?  This Rush can’t be a HYPOCRITE! Lord, deliver me!   What’s the world coming to!
Mark Lyon Thornewill
Frankfort
City isn’t place
for farming
To the Editor:
With regard to raising chickens within the city limits, may I suggest those desiring to do so move to the county?
Not only will they eliminate their city property tax but will be able to raise just about any animal and/or legal crop they want. Why should those who have chosen to live within the city limits have to be concerned about living next door to animals that belong on a farm? I agree with Kay Harrod on this one. If it’s fresh eggs you want, then start supporting your local farmers market.
Georgie Burton
Frankfort
City goat sent
off to the farm
To the Editor:
When I was growing up in East Frankfort (Crestwood subdivision) my good friend and next-door neighbor wanted a goat for a pet.  After a bit of hemming and hawing, her dad came home after work one day with a goat in the car.  He then built a goat house on the back of their garage.  That goat thought it was one of us and for about a year and a half it did everything but play baseball.  Just like a big dog.  This was before our city council was into micro-managing.   Things went fine until one day my friend’s mother spotted the goat pulling her nice white sheets off the line (in the days before electric clothes dryers).  Soon thereafter “the goat” was sentenced  to live out its days on the farm.  We kids were greatly saddened by this event but I think we learned from that also.
Martha Buchwald
Frankfort
Good advice
on good diet
To the Editor:
Kay Harrod is to be commended for her Healthy Lifestyle article in the March 7 State Journal. The conversational style and the self-deprecatingly humorous tone of her articles make for delightful reading. Should your readers apply half of the friendly advice Ms. Harrod offers for a healthier lifestyle, we would indeed be on our way to a healthier community.
 It puzzles me that among the many packaged or canned products on the grocery shelves some lines of products have a low-fat version and a low-sodium one.  Having such choices is, thanks to the persistent endeavors of consumer advocacy groups, progress, though rarely can one find a packaged product that is both low in saturated fat and sodium. It is frustrating that there seems to be a grossly erroneous assumption among the food marketers that people who like healthy foods, such as whole grain bagels, don’t also prefer flavorful versions, such as cinnamon and raisins, blueberry or ones with garlic and onion.  
 I grew up eating lots of homegrown vegetables, greens, apples and berries.  Like most families in Appalachia, my 13 siblings and I also grew up regularly consuming gravy and biscuits, chicken and dumplings, fried this and fried that and beans and cornbread. My father almost without fail after eating a serving of gravy, bacon, eggs and biscuit (all high in cholesterol), would follow with a bowl of oatmeal (high in cholesterol-reducing fiber) before he headed out to work. Undoubtedly, these homegrown foods and a hearty lifestyle combined with the blessings of the Almighty allowed my father and mother to raise 14 children and to live, respectively, to their late 80s and 90s.
My siblings continued to indulge in these comfort foods with greater frequency than I.  (I have been more open to modify and substitute dishes for healthier ones.)  My siblings have retired earlier than I expect to and later led less hearty lifestyles.  Along with an immoderate consumption of soft drinks and fast food, and years of smoking, these choices/habits likely contributed to a general decline in their health, the heart disease and cancer that for several led to their deaths, years sooner perhaps than would have otherwise occurred.
 As a young adult, for about three years, I smoked socially and was around considerable secondhand smoke.  Frequently I experienced various respiratory ailments.  Fortunately, I avoided the scourge of nicotine addiction. Before changing my diet, I sometimes had digestive problems. In spite of all the evidence, the extent to which a poor diet and smoking adversely affect one’s health continues to be denied. After 1) quitting smoking and having infrequent  exposure to secondhand smoke, 2) 30-plus years of progressively eating foods lower in sodium and saturated fat, more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables,  and  3) staying active and taking daily walks, in more than 30 years I thankfully have rarely felt sick.
Ruth E. Maggard
Frankfort
Stop abuse
of animals
To the Editor:
Kentucky ranks 50th in animal rights laws according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Too often unreported or unpunished, crimes against animals are a hidden epidemic in this country. Animal victims of abuse cannot speak for themselves – so concerned citizens in our community and our legal system must speak up for them.
Each of us has the power to fight cruelty. Any time you suspect animal abuse, your first call should be to your local humane society, animal control, or the police. Get them out there to investigate. Whether it is a neighbor’s pet being treated cruelly, cats and dogs suffering at a local pet store, or animals at a breeder’s facility being kept in filthy, crowded conditions – if it is animal abuse, it’s against the law. Kentucky needs stronger laws to protect animal rights. I’ve read animal rights advocates say, “If you want to be an animal abuser, move to Kentucky.” People need to be aware of this and people need to change this alarming statistic.
Catherine Schmiers
Bardstown
Betrayal of
the church
To the Editor:
It is disheartening to read and listen to all the hateful and disparaging things being said about the church these past few weeks. It’s expected from the secular world, of course, but perhaps the more heartbreaking comments are those of my own brothers and sisters in the faith who have long ago excommunicated themselves from her teachings. I have never understood how anyone who considers himself Christian could rationalize abortion or abortifacient drugs. How do you do that? It may go something like, “those babies should be killed and the resources  saved used to feed the poor.”
People who think this way either believe in no God or a very detached one indeed. Jesus revealed to us that the very hairs of our heads are numbered, and that a sparrow doesn’t fall from the sky without it being noted in heaven.
Now, in these modern times, we have seen a new and more terrible “slaughter of the innocents.” The church also has been betrayed by some of her own members, as Christ himself was. As the church now endures her own passion, we can join those who would accuse, curse and spit upon the mystical body of Christ, or we can live up to our own calling and be Veronica.
Mike Lanham
Bardstown

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