By JEWISH REVIEW
article created on: 2010-03-30T00:00:00
Thank you Mr. Horenstein
To the editor:
Regarding Robert Horenstein’s article about hungry kids (“What are we doing about our 17 million hungry kids?,” Jewish Review, March 1), the abortion issue is emphasized and rightly so, but who takes care of the unwanted and/or hungry babies?
Unfortunately, the government does. Isn’t it true that a family of four can receive about $95 in food stamps per week?
If a married couple with no children is struggling well, tough luck.
We shouldn’t have to rely on the government to take care of us. We need to take care of each other. But the government wants us to look to them for our needs instead of our Creator and our brothers and sisters in the faith.
Thank you Mr. Horenstein for pointing out that the hunger problem in America is not talked about enough.
Religious garb law had merit
To the editor:
Despite a heavy schedule of bills this past session, the Oregon Legislature took the time to abolish a very serviceable bill that had been in place since 1922.
The law rejected religious dress for teachers in our public schools. It replaced this reasonable bill with a gratuitous and problematic bill allowing religious dress by teachers in our public schools.
When I inquired of Rep. Chris Garrett (D-Lake Oswego), my representative, why he voted for the bill, he responded that the origin of the 1922 bill was tainted by the individual who introduced it.
The new legislation, HB-3686, was sponsored by for groups: The Portland State University Muslim Student Association, the Oregon Family Council, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and the Northwest Religious Liberty Association.
There was little or no consultation with groups most affected including the Portland Association of Teachers and the Portland Association of Retired Teachers (of which I am a member), and there was no endorsement from these educators.
This strange bill refers to the expenses of maintaining a neutral work environment, as if it were more expensive in this time of budget cuts, to maintain the status quo than develop new committees and standards for religious dress.
Although I do not always agree with the American Civil Liberties Union, their rejection of this bill, with a warning of unintended consequences, is one with which I concur.
I am baffled by the endorsement of this measure by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, as reported to me by Rep. Garrett.
In this, the most diverse country on earth, it has been our secular institutions that have united us, particularly our wonderful public schools. The Jewish community has always supported strict non-sectarian guidelines since constant threats and infringements have always been a danger.
Some make the charge that barring religious attire for teachers is anti-religious, using our freedoms to accuse us of prejudice.
The public schools, however, were not established for the benefit of teachers, but for students. Impressionable students have a right not to be routinely exposed to nonverbal expressions of piety by their teachers, which conduct may be contrary to a reasonable expectation of public schools free of religious coercion.
Our tax money—paid also by those of no faith—must not be used to subsidize subliminal religious education.
Ed. Note 1: Jewish Federation of Greater Portland legislative representaive Alan Tresidder reported to the JFGP Community Relations Committee that although legislation repealing the state ban prohibiting public school teachers from wearing religious garb passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate, “it is not a finished product.” The bill included amendments suggested by the CRC: a delayed implementation date of July 1, 2011, and the creation of a work group under the auspices of the Bureau of Labor and Industry and the Oregon Department of Education that will seek to formulate administrative rules to properly implement the repeal of the ban. Tresidder said the CRC will be one of many stakeholders participating in the work group.
Ed. Note 2: The ban on religious attire in public schools was adopted by the Oregon Legislature in 1923 under leadership of House Speaker Kasper K. Kubli, identified in news media as a prominent supporter of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon. The measure was reportedly crafted to keep Catholic nuns and priests from becoming public school teachers.