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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Religious, LGBT advocates must erase some lines

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    The New Year begins much like the old year ended with bitter, emotional clashes between proponents of LGBT rights and religious objectors to same-sex marriage.

    When same-sex weddings commenced in Florida on Jan. 6, several county clerks immediately announced that although required by law to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, they will no longer perform marriages for anyone — to avoid participating in same-sex ceremonies.

  • GUEST OPINION: Je suis Charlie, it’s another way to say freedom

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Cowards!

    There’s no other word for the armed gunmen who killed 12 people in the attack last week on the Parisian offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

    Once again, terrorists ignore the lessons of history: individuals may be silenced by violence from time to time, but ideas live on and ultimately will find their way to the world.

    Once again, innocent lives are lost in the futile attempt to force one point of view onto others, or to prevent other points of view from being heard.

  • GUEST OPINION: In public schools, when should holy day be holidays?

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    The school board in Montgomery County, Md. ignited a national debate earlier this month by voting to eliminate the names of Christian and Jewish religious holidays on the school calendar – while still planning to close schools on those days.

    The board’s action was in response to the local Muslim community’s longstanding request to add at least one Muslim holiday to the list of days when the district’s schools would close.

  • GUEST OPINION: Ebola reporting and the media — the bottom line

    By GENE POLICINSKI 

    First Amendment Center

    So how scared should we be about the worldwide Ebola virus crisis?

    For nearly all of us, the answer to that question will come through what we see, hear and read in the news media and in the U.S. that places a unique burden on those free to print, broadcast or post stories as they wish about efforts to control the spread of the virus.

  • GUEST OPINION: We should view political corruption more broadly

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    A hefty majority of Americans believe that government is run on behalf of a few big interests.

    A focus on private concerns can lead to neglect of the common good.

  • GUEST OPINION: Students fight censorship of history by schools

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Dozens of Colorado high school students decided recently to demand a complete education about American history — and they had to walk out of class to make their point.

    According to reports in The Denver Post and the Los Angeles Times, students at nine high schools in Denver suburbs have left classes at times “to protest what they see as the school board’s attempt to censor advanced history curriculum.”

  • Election snafu costs us all in voter confidence

    There probably isn’t anyone beating himself up out there worse than Roane County Administrator of Elections Charles Holiway last week.

    You could see it in his face Friday as the commission and witnesses dealt with the problem of an uncounted early-vote card from a Harriman precinct voting machine.

    But voting is serious business in a democracy, and so we feel we must add our voice to those criticizing the mistake.

  • GUEST OPINION: Kingston: A case for thoughtful planning made

    By GEOFFREY A. WHITEHEAD
    Kingston has, in the past, recognized the intrinsic value of having trees, forests and greenbelt areas, environmental qualities that give character to the historic city nestled in the wooded ridges of the Clinch and Tennessee river valleys.  

  • GLIMPSES from a Teacher/Historian: Another View on Polarization

    Author’s note: The following three premises are essential to this column.
    1) None of us see the past or present with absolute clarity.
    2) Each of us has the capacity for glimpses of informed insight that draw from and reflect our personal values.
    3) Cordial, forthright exchange of those insights enhances our mutual well being.

    We Americans appear lost.  

  • GUEST OPINION: Seigenthaler’s ‘45’ — words we all should know

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Freedom of Speech has lost one of its most eloquent voices.

    Freedom of Religion is today without one of its truest believers.

    Freedom of the Press has one less compelling writer — and one of its most-exceptional editors.

    Freedom of Assembly has one less person to stand with others — 50 years after he risked his life as a young man in defense of those marching peaceably for justice.