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Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Mon, August 8, 2022 at 3:00 PM·4 min read

Christian nationalists are taking over the US

It is now obvious that radical Christian nationalists are working to eliminate the rights of anyone who is not Christian, white or straight.

The Supreme Court’s extremist conservatives have imposed on us their Catholic beliefs – not shared by many religions – that life begins at conception. And on-field Christian prayers are now allowed at taxpayer-supported public-school sports events.

This is not the freedom of religion or the separation of church and state envisioned by our founders.

Steve Bannon is orchestrating a national precinct strategy to put extremist Christian nationalists in local governments, mainly to control elections. Locally, Mike Flynn has quietly recruited candidates for the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Board.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken away our freedom of speech, enshrined in the First Amendment, by banning school textbooks and library books that he doesn’t like, and prohibiting schools and businesses from discussing subjects he doesn’t like.

With DeSantis’ increasing accumulation of power, private militia, divisive rhetoric and petulant retribution against a major business that dared to disagree with him, as well as increasing incidents of antisemitic vandalism, Florida is starting to resemble an authoritarian state.

If you are not Christian, white or straight, your vote is critical to deny GOP radical Christian nationalists all political offices.

– Virginia deHaven Hitchcock, Sarasota

No harm discussing education alternatives

It’s sad when editorial boards substitute snark, and a petty airing of grievances at that, for substance when discussing the future of education.

But such was the case when the Herald-Tribune dismissed the mere mention of using military service as a qualification to teach in Florida (“Degree-less veterans in classrooms is a bad idea,” July 31).

Private employers and law enforcement often use military service in lieu of college experience, as the discipline, leadership and maturity that veterans acquire are excellent predictors of future success in the workforce.

This doesn’t mean that all jobs qualify for this kind of exemption, but it opens critical alternatives for employers and employees.

The Texas Legislature recently held hearings about this very dilemma: The individuals who could best teach skills in industrial arts can’t teach in the public school system because they aren’t “certified.” Who better to teach future electricians than those in the field?

Anyone watching the hearings saw legislators pledging to address the problem, not sweeping it aside.

Espousing the failed dogma of faceless educrats and teachers’ unions can only continue the pain inflicted upon future generations of schoolchildren. It’s no feat of strength to discuss alternatives.

– Alexander W. Stephens, Lakewood Ranch

Dems: Focus on abortion, guns and term limits

While the initial predictions indicated a sweeping national and state GOP wave in November, it now appears the Democrats may have a “puncher’s chance” of turning the tide. Perhaps they should adopt a simplified laser-like focus on three issues where they can clearly differentiate their positions from Republicans.

• Implementing reasonable abortion restrictions that are consistent with positions held by the majority of voters.

• Supporting bans on assault weapons and multi-capacity ammunition devices.

• Embracing a national term-limit solution based on a single six-year presidential term, with a 12-year cap on congressional office holders and an 18-year limit on Supreme Court judges.

This approach would align Democrats with the majority of American voters, address unacceptable levels of “only in America" gun violence and replace professional politicians with citizen servants.

– Bob Robinson, Venice

Government should butt out of women’s lives

It is beyond comprehension how abortion opponents feel they can take it upon themselves to interfere with the private lives and health of girls and women – and, by extension, men – everywhere.

They usually are not physicians, ministers or priests, nor do they seem educated in the ramifications of pregnancy and its possible dangers both to female and fetus – fetal encephalitis, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages. Not to mention the pregnancies caused by rape and incest, and the horrors of resulting trauma.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade opens the door to unimaginable future wrongs against the rights of U.S. citizens. “Outrage” is too pacific a word to describe what is happening in our country with our justice system and our political democracy due to far-right extremist/believers.

I would suggest that opponents of abortion either acquire or review the Constitution and Bill of Rights – and also study American history.

Sydney R. Palmer, Bradenton

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Keep nationalists out of office, give Democrats a ‘puncher’s chance’


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