Why is it unconstitutional to include religious celebrations in public schools? Perhaps because the early settlers of the U.S. were escaping persecution by the official state religions in Europe. Protestants, Quakers, and Jews are examples of religious refugees. More recent immigrants from China, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have brought a variety of religious beliefs, including Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Animism.
According to Wikipedia, "Religion in the United States is remarkable both in its high adherence level compared to other developed countries as well as its diversity." In 2002, although 76 percent of U.S. citizens were Christians, 4 percent identified with other religions, and 15 percent had no religious affiliation.
The Constitution was written with checks and balances in order to prevent the "tyranny of the majority." Over the years, it has been amended to include gender and ethnic diversity as well as diversity in religious persuasion. This is what makes us Americans: we have the freedom to practice our beliefs privately, while not imposing them on others.
Patricia W. Scott
Public sector must adapt
What should Brainerd do about the six full-time firefighters? As a person who has worked two years for a non-profit and many years in the private sector as an employee and employer, the public sector puzzles me.
Why not have the six firefighters do a transferable skills analysis to see what other positions they can fill and/or help in while on-call. There may be opportunities in the cities of Brainerd and Baxter, the county of Crow Wing and the school district.
The firefighters could be doing some other job while they are on-call and that would help the taxpayers.
I don't know what it would be or if they would be willing to do the fill-in job. What I do know is we need to be creative and save money and we need firefighters so, while they are on-call is there some area they can help in?
This idea may be showing my ignorance of how the public sector works, but it is taxpayer money so it may have to adapt.
State hospital in jeopardy again
Since 2003 the Brainerd Regional Treatment Center has lost some 300 jobs with many of the programs closed or moved to other cities. The Department of Veterans Affairs wanted to extend their lease and remodel for more space, but the state would not negotiate, so they moved out, leaving yet another empty building. This started taking place seven years ago, at which time none of the local legislators would raise a question. Just let the department and other cities walk all over them. Now the main program left, traumatic brain injury, TBI, is in jeopardy. The governor and his department is proposing a reorganizing plan that will toss us into yet another city. Understand that our TBI program is self-sustaining, not a cost to the state. So where is the sense? At least we now have Rep. John Ward fighting for us. I attended a House health and human service hearing last Thursday, where Rep. Ward spoke out very forcefully against their plan. And incidentally he was also successful in removing a $5 million dollar proposal by the governor to demolish the facility. John is our single strong voice speaking for us. He needs our thanks and our help.
Host families sought
AYUSA International, a nonprofit youth exchange organization is seeking families in the area who are interested in hosting an outstanding student embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
AYUSA students are carefully selected according to their maturity and flexibility, academic and extracurricular achievements and a dedication to both international and civic responsibility. AYUSA students will arrive in the Brainerd area at the end of August, equipped with medical insurance, spending money, a firm command of English and a strong commitment to becoming a member of the local community.
Host families are only asked to treat their student as one of their own, providing food, a bed (not necessarily a private room), and a loving family environment. Families interested in hosting will have the opportunity to broaden their horizons, provide a unique contribution to their community and make a positive impact on global youth.
For more information on how to host or be an exchange student, please contact: Wanda Olsen, Community Representative, at email@example.com
AYUSA Global Youth Exchange
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