Letters to the Editor - Aug. 1, 2014::1
Prayer best done silently
Kudos to Robert Mason for his July 18 letter (Readers’ Forum, “Meet in private for prayer”). He really nailed the issue of public prayer during government business sessions.
Prayer (or prayerful meditation/reflection) is a good thing, calming and focusing body, mind and spirit in preparation for thought and action. However, it is most effective and appropriate when done in private. And since prayer (meditation/reflection) is different for each person, it is best done silently so that words are not a disturbance or a conflict for those of various beliefs.
Vocal public displays of personal beliefs are ostentatious, self-serving and suspect. Who are those displays of “sincerity” meant to impress and convince — the Creator, others or oneself?
The fact that Yamhill County commissioners have needlessly injected this issue into government business leads me to the conclusion that vocal public prayer is being used as a statement of how their ultra-conservative views differ from those of the average citizen. It is less about faith and more about “Look at me. Marvel at my piety. I can do what I want because I have the power to do so.”
The proof is the commissioners rejecting a simple quiet moment of personal prayer/meditation/reflection that would serve all citizens and beliefs equally.
This is one more example of government needing more responsible, moderate office holders and far fewer extremes (arch liberals as well as ultra conservative). The public’s business is best conducted without divisive personal agendas and entrenched views.
End ‘corporate personhood’
The goal shared by all who want to restore American democracy and economic equality is a constitutional amendment to end corporate constitutional rights (aka “corporate personhood”) and money as speech, both “doctrines” invented by the U.S. Supreme Court. The only way to stop the court’s distortion of the Constitution in arriving at these bad decisions is with a constitutional amendment preventing them from granting these rights in the future.
Congress led the way to adoption of the existing 27 amendments by approving and passing them to the states for ratification. We can influence congressional thinking and advocacy about an amendment by contacting our national representatives and senators: e-mails, calls or letters and at meetings, campaign stops, town halls or private events. Congress is in recess for the month of August through Sept. 7, and we should seek opportunities to put an amendment question in front of them.
Meanwhile, there is some good news on the amendment front. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has adopted S.J. Resolution 19 and sent it to the floor for a vote — and it has been proposed in the U.S. House, as H.J. Resolution 119.
Originally, the bills addressed only campaign finance regulation, but an amendment that mentions a distinction between natural persons and corporations was included in the amended bill. It needs to be stronger, but just getting the concept formally into the mix is a major improvement.
The other good news is that six of Oregon’s national representatives are co-sponsors, so they’re on record and might, if asked, say so publicly. Please let them know about your support.