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Letters to the Editor: Regarding ‘How to create conflict’


Dr. Walter E. Williams’ “How to Create Conflict” [Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, June 26] succeeded in its title.

Vouchers for schools are harmful to the community at large, they remove funding from public schools and cause the taxpayer to pay for two school systems. While public schools are required to meet specific standards, private schools have no requirement to meet whether it be for education or transparency. Switching to vouchers would essentially take taxpayers’ money and use it to fund schools that have the ability to use that money in any way they see fit, without much, if any oversight.

Dr. Williams is so concerned with parents that want mandated prayer in school that he would allow secular or less religious families to carry the burden of reduced funding for public schools so that others can pray more.

Children have always been allowed to pray in schools. They can pray at lunch, they can pray before a test, they can have after school Bible groups, but a teacher cannot lead the class in prayer. Dr. Williams would remove billions in funding from public schools so that a small minority could be led in prayer.

Dr. Williams states that parents who pay for private school still have to pay taxes for public schools they don’t use, as if this is some sort of injustice and people should only pay taxes for systems they personally use. Churches don’t pay taxes but they still utilize publicly funded agencies such as police and fire. As President Garfield once said, “No church property anywhere … should be exempt from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community.”

If Dr. Williams believes it’s unfair for parents to fund a public school education they don’t use would he agree that atheists shouldn’t have to pay taxes for agencies that benefit the church, or perhaps that churches should pay taxes to unburden the secular in the community?

Sara Sullivan

• • •

If he’d had sufficient space, Dr. Walter E. Williams could have added the following to his June 5 column “Slavery is neither strange nor peculiar”:

• Slavery in America was brought here by the British for over two and half centuries prior to our becoming a nation for the purpose of labor in competition with other European nations, each draining their colonies for resources.”King Cotton” put the U.S. on the map, and if my ancestors had been slaves, I believe that I’d be proud of it. When we became a free and independent nation, in 1776, slavery was legal in all 13 original states.

• The U.S. Constitution of 1776 forbid further importation of humans for the purpose of slavery to become effective after 1806 – one generation. The Confederate Constitution of 1861 also forbid importation of slaves with the exception of those coming from the United States for humane reasons. Hardly the Constitutions of nations fighting wars over or to keep slavery.

• All told, the American colonies took only fewer than 5% of the total slaves shipped to the New World. Brazil took a third of the total.

• Slaves and Native American were not U.S. citizens. Therefore, when Lincoln planned to deport all freedmen, he was within his rights to do so.

• For more than two dozen historical and factual reasons it was not a war fought over slavery, though slavery was certainly a social and cultural issue of its day – just as abortion and gay rights are issues today, but we’d hardly think of war over them. When the shooting began in 1861 there were more slave states in the North [eight] than in the seceding states [seven].

• Slavery only gradually slid to the South because the South was agricultural as opposed to the North’s industrial economy. There was not a holier-than-thou curtain over the Ohio River and Mason-Dixon Line. Slavery was legal in New York State until as late as 1821, ending only then when workers threatened factory owners with death if they continued using slaves because there were sufficient numbers of whites who wanted and needed the jobs. Not so in the southern agricultural economy. Historians estimate that without war, slavery would have ended in the U.S. {or the CSA] between 1875 and 1880.

Thank you, Dr. Williams for a fine column concerning our Founding Fathers. I only wish that you’d had more space to inform readers a bit about slavery’s history in this country.

Bob Arnold

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