Letters to the Editor

Readers react to Kansas priest news, election, new foster family policy

Outraged congregant

I read with a great deal of anger the report (10-12, 1A, “Honor set for Kansas priest canceled”) about my former pastor, George Seuferling — a man I thought I knew and have greatly admired for decades, a man who did a great deal of good. And, it appears, a man who has committed great evil.

I wonder, how could I not have known? And how could a man of such warmth also be capable of these horrific acts? My prayers are for his victims today.

I am also angry with Archbishop Joseph Naumann and the archdiocesan office. The diocese has handled the whole Seuferling episode abysmally.

From the first reports in The Star, the story line was that Seuferling was suspended for consensual activities in violation of his vows — no indications of sexual assault, only that it did not involve persons under 18. Like the age of the victim somehow made it less heinous.

This is a huge black stain on the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan. There’s no excuse for the diocese’s obfuscations when Seuferling was suspended. Complete transparency should be standard procedure.

Have they not learned anything from across the state line? You wonder, what else are they hiding?

David Mertz


Third-party pluses

Government books identify five reasons third parties are important. They bring new groups into the electorate, serve as a safety valve for popular discontent, offer new ideas, play a spoiler role in elections and are vocal critics of parties in power.

Certainly, there is a need for third parties in the 2016 presidential election. One major party has nominated a completely unprepared, bullying demagogue and the other a completely untrustworthy, humorless politico.

Unfortunately, our electoral system is rigged against third parties because it is so difficult to win electoral votes for president. Witness Ross Perot, running as an independent, winning 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992 and zero electoral votes.

Unless states change how they allocate electoral votes (Nebraska and Maine have), third parties will never have political power in our system.

So where does that leave voters?

Perhaps it is worth examining a third party to serve as your safety valve, expose yourself to new ideas (Libertarians) or just join critics of both major parties.

Yes, I know third parties can’t win, but maybe it would make you feel better not to vote for either of the major candidates.

Patrick Sirridge


Working economy

The role government should play in the economy has always been a source of debate. In this election year, there is much division over what has been done and what needs to be done.

“Concrete Economics” by Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford Delong provides a detailed history of the American economy. The authors examine the role Alexander Hamilton played in the early successes of government sponsorship of entrepreneurial activity.

Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower are also cited as having pragmatic approaches to the relationship of government and business. It was this pragmatic philosophy rather than an ideological one that allowed the economy to overcome problems and prosper.

Beginning in the 1980s and continuing today, ideology has become the dominant justification for economic decisions. It has not worked, and we need to again look at history to determine what works.

Jerry Brekke

Maryville, Mo.

Stick to convention

Social customs and unwritten rules are ignored. We can’t get through the national anthem without controversy. “Home of the brave,” not “the Chiefs.”

James Turner


Lobbyists’ money

A Missouri state senator recently said that free meals from lobbyists did not influence legislation. He said: “It certainly doesn’t influence our decisions at all. If anything, it does the opposite because we can think clearer with food in our stomachs.”

What an arrogant or ignorant statement.

Most people think clearer with food in their stomachs, including families who struggle to provide basic necessities for themselves and their children. Free food from lobbyists would be better used at a local food pantry, but people who use food pantries are not a good investment for lobbyists as our elected leaders are.

Politicians need to stop seeking and accepting gifts. Our elected officials have not seriously addressed the ethical problems in Missouri government. Allegations of discrimination or wrongdoing by a citizen against a state organization can be dismissed by the organization — without explanation or justification and without an unbiased third-party review —by citing state statutes passed by our lawmakers.

A citizen should not have to have money to be heard. We need to vote for elected officials who understand that Missouri government should work for everyone, not just those with money.

Tom Dean

Nevada, Mo.

President Trump

The upcoming presidential election may be the most important election in our lifetime and the nation. Break the bond of the Democratic lemmings who for the last eight years or longer have followed their leaders over the cliff with political correctness, government regulation, a failed administration and no jobs program that is meaningful.

Give Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump an opportunity to show how he can govern. We have seen enough of the lemmings.

Edward “Gomer”


Kansas City

2nd Amendment

A letter to the editor Saturday (10-8, 12A, Letters) really amazed me about the fairytale land some devotees of the NRA live in.

First, the author tries to make the point that one armed patriot could have changed the course of the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting. We have to think that if one good patriot had protected his or her weapons from being stolen and sold on the black market, that the so-called lone wolf Islamic terrorist could not have gotten his hands on said weapon. Or did some unscrupulous armed patriot sell the terrorist said weapon? We will never know.

Next, the writer tells us that the American Revolutionary was fought over the right to bear arms. Well, I hate to have to re-educate him, but the Revolutionary War was fought over taxation without representation.

And for the record, the Second Amendment — “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” — was not written until after the war.

P.S. If we are going to preach the Second Amendment, let’s preach the whole amendment, not just half of it.

Dennis Parker

Lee’s Summit

Pro Pence

To all Republicans worried about electing Donald Trump:

Don’t worry about it. I mean, just stop and think. If Donald Trump gets elected, in very short order he will say or do something that will constitute an impeachable offense.

The Republicans in Congress will support the impeachment, and he will be gone. Mike Pence can step in and stabilize the ship. Then this will all be behind us, and we (Republicans and Democrats) can, hopefully, do better the next time.

So, go ahead and vote, and just let nature take its course.

Raymond Morrison


Trump, PTSD

I lost my grandson to suicide as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder after his return from Afghanistan.

We sent a young man to a foreign country who was happy, healthy, full of hope and eager to do his duty for his country as a Marine and a man. He came home a broken person. He could not sleep because of nightmares; he couldn’t leave his apartment for fear he would be ambushed.

He went to the VA, and doctors gave him pills and told him to return in 90 days. Instead, he shot himself in February 2015.

My grandson was a remarkable young man and certainly not weak, as Donald Trump would have you believe. Trump has no clue, because he has never put on a uniform and traveled to a war zone. Nor has any of his children. Until that happens, he needs to keep his mouth shut.

RIP, Nicholas Gomez. Your friends and family know what a brave man you were.

Carol Welch

Overland Park

Foster family funds

On Sept. 1, the Kansas Department for Children and Families implemented new financial review requirements for currently licensed foster parents documenting income and requiring annual submission of detailed information about every expense the family incurs, with documentation to back up those expenses (including copies of bills, credit card statements, health insurance premiums). Failure to comply puts foster parent licenses at risk.

While it makes sense to assure that foster caregivers can afford the costs of the children they take in, the way DCF is approaching this issue is invasive and overreaching. Kansas has recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of children coming into foster care, while the pool of available foster homes has remained stagnant.

Policies that alienate current foster parents will negatively impact foster parent retention numbers. Kansas foster parents have responded by expressing frustration to DCF through phone calls, social media and even a change.org petition.

We encourage DCF officials to quickly replace this policy with something more reasonable. Foster parents are valuable system partners.

The state should consider creating a Foster Parent Advisory Board to review policy changes prior to implementation. Such a board would have prevented this PR nightmare.

Lori Ross