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Wed, Jan. 29

<b><center>Letters to the Editor</b></center>

Ruling on pledge impinges on respect


The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

The court found that the reciting of the pledge by teachers and students "amounts to a government endorsement of religion," going so far as to compare the phrase "under God" with "under Zeus."

When our founding fathers made that amendment to the Constitution, it was to keep the church(es) from telling their members how to vote. They sought to keep the same things from happening here in the U.S. that were happening in England.

Our churches are supposed to guide us, not rule us, and when our country was in its infancy, the founding fathers knew that, so they did what they needed to do to protect it. We each should have an individual right to say or not say the pledge as is. That does not mean that the pledge is "unconstitutional."

The next thing you know they will be saying, "you shouldn't teach the Golden Rule to our children. (You know it comes right from the Bible, maybe that is "unconstitutional, too.")

Our children don't have enough respect for each other, much less other people, and now they want to take away one of the things that teaches them to respect our country? When will these people learn?

Jennifer Petersen


We praise America while we trash it


When home in Dewey, I jog along Highway 69 and pick up mainly aluminum cans and a few other litter items. July 4, I jogged east on Route 66, out of Williams, picking up hundreds of cans. The thought occurred to me, "I wonder how many people will go to a July 4 celebration, sing 'Oh Beautiful' or mouth some other patriotic slogan and then on the way home, throw their cans, bottles, cups, dead batteries, pull tabs, event programs, etc., out the car window!"

I don't mind if you throw out pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters!

Carl Ingalls


Watering the yard penalizes some unfairly


What a shock I got, after receiving our last water bill. When I called the Prescott Valley Utility Services for an explanation regarding the high sewer charge assessed on that water bill, they told me that it was unfair to charge more for sewer usage when a household only had two people (how do they know how many people are in a household?) and did no outside watering (how do they know this?).

We, too, are a household of only two people, but because we water our yard, our sewer charge had to go up from $18 per month to more than $33 per month. I cannot understand what outside watering has to do with our sewer usage from within the house. Can anyone explain to me why someone who waters their yard, which has absolutely nothing to do with their sewer usage and our sewer charge, should see a bill go up so outrageously?

Every household has at least from one to five, or even more people, occupying it. Can anyone come up with a plausible answer as to what was wrong with the original $18-per-month sewer charge? Are we the only household that has found this high sewer increase to be unjust, unfair and very discriminating?

What is fair about being charged twice for the same amount of water going through our water meter? We are being penalized for watering our yard – not what actually goes through the sewer.

So, wouldn't a fair and equitable sewer charge of the original $18 per household be the right and just way to go? And then charge only what the reading on the water meter indicated as total water use for the household?

Edward and Betty


Prescott Valley

Thus far, logic for 'God' in pledge fails


A relief amid a stream of polemics opposed to removing God from the Pledge of Allegiance, two thoughtful letters appeared in the Courier (7/7). One, by Stephen Frakes, makes the neat logical argument that if the phrase "under God" is unconstitutional, then "the U.S. Constitution itself is unconstitutional, for as I remember, it lists 'God' eight to nine times." Actually, the word "God" appears zero times in the Constitution. There isn't even a reference to God in the oath of office of the president, as stated in the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution, who were mostly religious men, probably omitted "God" deliberately and for good reason. In fact, Mr. Frakes' mistaken idea is likely the result of references to God in the pledge, on coins, etc. His letter thus illustrates one of the dangers of the point of view he takes.

The second letter, by Tim Haggerty, makes a point whose logic is fascinating and thought-provoking – that atheism is a belief system and as such can be called a religion, and that removal of "God" from the pledge therefore imposes a religious idea on the majority. Interesting point. Surely, the framers of the Constitution did not intend to limit government involvement in all belief systems, and almost as surely, they would not have regarded atheism as a religion. But reasonable people can differ on those points. Unfortunately, Mr. Haggerty's argument ignores the desires of a minority far larger than atheists, namely agnostics, who, by definition do not have a belief system regarding a higher power.

I hope writers will keep trying. Then, maybe, an argument for keeping God in the pledge that is both logical and based on correct assumptions will appear. So far, I regret that I haven't seen or heard one.

Tom N. Cornsweet


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