Letters to the Editor

Readers share views on religious bigotry, Kansas Legislature, lax gun laws

Religious bigotry

Many of the early settlers of this country were escaping religious persecution. After arriving, however, they wasted little time establishing their own pecking order.

The Puritans were suspicious of Anglicans, and Protestants persecuted Quakers. Catholics were despised by everyone. Religious freedom was so fractured that many of the original colonies had state-sanctioned religions, the purity of which were strongly defended.

Our Founding Fathers espoused religious freedom while many belonged to the Masons, who were not welcoming to Catholic and Jews.

In the 1920s, the KKK had 4 million members in the U.S. They were not only anti-black but anti-Catholic, anti-Jew and anti-immigrant. The KKK was instrumental in stopping Al Smith, a Catholic, from becoming president in 1928.

In the 1930s, Father Charles Coughlin spewed anti-Semitic bile over national radio. In 1960, Norman Vincent Peale led a white Evangelical crusade to keep a papist from being president.

Today we have a call for the ban of Muslims from the country and surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods. The home of the free is often not the home of the brave.

It is important to stand up to religious bigotry and intolerance.

Richard Gier


Kansas games

The governor of Kansas and his puppets in the Legislature continue to give us nothing but wrong-headed, vindictive and reckless legislation. Recently we have noted:

▪ Legislators have proposed a constitutional amendment that would strip the Kansas Supreme Court of its authority to close public schools in education funding lawsuits.

▪ The Kansas House Republican Campaign Committee wants Kansans to contact the Supreme Court to tell the justices to drop their decision to close Kansas public schools if the funding mess, which legislators created, isn’t remedied.

This is just nuts.

The governor and his supporters, many of whom sadly represent Johnson County, have manufactured a crisis so that gullible folks might blame the Supreme Court. Most Kansans can see the end game here — keep producing American Legislative Exchange Council-modeled legislation bent on dismantling public education and gaining control of the Kansas Supreme Court.

The governor and state Legislature have a duty to fund public education and to fund it equitably. They should stop playing games and stop blaming our Supreme Court.

Dave A. Menke

Overland Park

Lax gun laws

I am absolutely appalled that the U.S. Senate rejected four rather fundamental gun-control regulations that were supported by 90 percent of Americans — mostly according to party lines (6-21, A1, “Senators stifle gun restrictions”).

What will it take for the Republicans (mostly) to realize that by aligning with the National Rifle Association they are contributing to the slaughter of hundreds of Americans.

We just observed a filibuster by Democrats offering heartfelt illustrations of how our lax gun laws have murdered so many of our citizens. Military-type weapons have no business on our streets and are not what the Founding Fathers intended.

Any youngster can understand that as they study U.S. history. If Congress hasn’t done anything after the recent Orlando, Fla., massacre and the still-heartbreaking school shooting in Connecticut, what will it take?

America is an embarrassment to the world in this regard.

L. Grace Kohan


Irresponsible NRA

In 2012, after 20 children and six adults were slaughtered by a lone killer wielding an assault weapon, the solution from National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre was “putting in police and armed security to protect our children.”

Well, Mr. LaPierre, that solution doesn’t seem to work. Yet another lone killer, wielding just one assault weapon, was able to gun down 102 club revelers in Orlando, Fla., despite the fact that this killer was “immediately engaged” by an armed, off-duty policeman hired as security.

What do you propose next as a solution? And, does your yearly salary numb your conscience as you ponder that solution? Oh, did I mention the millions of dollars the NRA receives from the assault weapons’ manufacturers to pay other NRA staffers.

Mr. LaPierre, we have a possible solution: that the NRA and the weapons manufacturers be held culpable in these and future massacres in the U.S., regardless of the killers’ motives.

Maria and Joseph


Kansas City