To the Editor:
Yes, Virginia, there is a first amendment.
It has been announced that a person seeking election to serve as a member of the Salem-Keizer School District’s board is a single-issue candidate who wants Planned Parenthood banned in all schools and any other place where it is currently made available to 24J students. I can’t imagine that this person has not checked into the matter; if not, she should know that any student who participates is on a request-to-do-so basis, requiring parental consent first.
Not having interviewed the candidate I can only guess at her motivation. Is it religiously motivated? That would be my guess; however, this mother and grandmother should explain herself, her reservation, her why not. Is this somewhat related to the definition of a Puritan: a person afraid that someone, somewhere, is having fun? Or, nowadays, is it directly related to an evangelical Christian or Tea Party Republican defined: a person afraid that someone, somewhere, is acquiring enough knowledge to make an informed decision?
Whether it is religiously or politically or culturally motivated, it runs contrary to the U.S. Constitution’s Establish Clause or Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment. Reading there discloses that we enjoy in this country, different from religious, political and cultural dictatorships of only one allowed opinion and course of behavior on every matter and in every subject, the freedom to keep church and state separate.
I am regularly amazed that people who choose to live in these United States cannot appreciate and respect differences, especially when the folks involved in them freely choose to participate in an activity, or decline to do so and are in no way forced to do so. There are these people among us who quite apparently just can’t stand to have anyone take advantage of information or knowledge with which they disagree. Unfortunately, these people, those who are adverse to differences, seem to always show up to remind us that our democracy is fragile, always under a threat, and that we must remain on guard, vigilant, if you will, against them at all times.
Gene H. McIntyre