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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: E-debate prompted by Syrian mess

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    There’s nothing good to find in the current standoff between the Syrian government and the United States — people there are dying as diplomats ponder, politicians posture and nations take strategic sides.

    But consider the value of “free press” and “free speech” in taking to an amazing new level the public debate in the United States over what to do next — a process that in many nations surely would have been a secretive discussion.

  • GUEST OPINION: Put a face to faith to stop war madness

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    No quick fix — diplomatic or military — will dissolve the centuries of distrust and rivalry that fuel the sectarian conflict in Syria, where Alawites and Shiites are pitted against Sunnis, with Christians caught in the crossfire.

    The same can be said of the many other religious and ethnic wars raging around the globe.

  • OUR OPINION: We applaud Sen. Alexander’s efforts to lead

    We were glad that Roane County’s Tea Party was not formally listed among other Tea Party groups who declared their intentions this summer to oust U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee from office in next year’s Republican primary.

    In these divided, divisive times, Alexander — a Republican — has shown leadership and courage by attempting to reaching across party lines and actually serve the people. Apparently, that’s where many Tea Partyers draw the line.

  • GUEST OPINION: Equal rights, decent jobs still issues today

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center

    Labor Day weekend this year was just a few days past the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famed “I have a Dream” speech.

    On Aug. 28, 1963, King’s speech closed out the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”

    It set out a historic milepost in civil rights movement.

    But King and other speakers — including Walter Reuther, long-time president of the United Auto Workers — also called for equal opportunity in employment.

  • GUEST OPINION: Religion fight at Kansas school unnecessary

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Back to school means back to culture wars for Minneha Core Knowledge Elementary School in Wichita, Kan.

    On the very first day of school, someone snapped a photo of a bulletin board display in the hallway featuring the Five Pillars of Islam and then posted it on Facebook.

    “This is a school that banned all forms of Christian prayer,” said the caption under the photo. “This can not stand.”

  • GUEST OPINION: We all hold the news media accountable

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Given that the First Amendment precludes the government from being an actual “watchdog on news media,” who else steps in to call the news media to account?

    In today’s world, increasingly it is citizen — critics or organizations outside of mainstream journalism, empowered by the Web’s ability for two-way conversations and comments, and by independence from past restraints of expensive printing presses and broadcast machinery.

  • GUEST OPINION: Gay equality trumps religious objections

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    In the wake of two favorable Supreme Court decisions, gay-rights proponents got another boost this month with the release of State of the First Amendment: 2013, a public-opinion survey supported by the First Amendment Center.

    According to the new poll, a majority of Americans (62 percent) now agrees that religiously affiliated groups receiving government funds can be required to provide health benefits to same-sex couples, even if the group has religious objections to same-sex marriage or partnerships.

  • GUEST OPINION: Constitution dispels myth of Christian nation

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Culture warriors, pseudo-historians and opportunistic politicians have spent the last several decades peddling the myth that America was founded as a “Christian nation.”

    The propaganda appears to be working.

    A majority of the American people (51 percent) believes that the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation, according to the State of the First Amendment survey released last month by the First Amendment Center.

  • GUEST OPINION: Rights for religious same for those who believeth not

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Government in America must be neutral among religions and neutral between religion and non-religion — at least that’s how the U.S. Supreme Court interprets the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

    But escalating conflicts involving government treatment of the nonreligious — atheists and humanists — reveal that far too many government officials are confused and conflicted about the meaning of “neutrality.”

  • GUEST OPINION: Fear after violent incidents imperils our core liberties

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    At various times, every American likely has wished for less of some things that the First Amendment protects.

    Less hateful speech. One less noisy protest group. Or maybe even the swift departure of a media outlet or personality whose stance or voice is just grating on a personal level.

    But for the most part, those wishes come and go – or the targets do, as media fortunes or political trends wax and wane.