Letters to the Editor

There is nothing patriotic about showing disrespect for the national anthem

The Daily Pilot published a letter, “I don’t see liberty and justice for all in my country,” Oct. 10, and a commentary, “My brother knew that loving the flag meant the right to criticize the nation too,” Oct. 30 supporting the NFL protests.

What the writers and mass media do not mention is that the initial protester chose this forum because he would not “honor a song or show pride in a flag of a country that oppresses.” His intent was disrespect. It is also not mentioned that there is no constitutional right to free speech or protest in the workplace.

These celebrity athletes hijacked the national anthem on national television, claiming a right that no other employee or citizen has in this country. Due to the negative response the players tried to change the subject of the protest to a partisan protest against the president. To no avail, it was still a disrespectful partisan protest.

Fans stopped buying jerseys, stopped going to games and booed players at the games. Pictures showed half the seats empty in San Francisco. Now, even multimillionaire celebrity athletes understand that intentional disrespect of the nation anthem, the flag, veterans and their country is not patriotic.

Jim Seiler

Huntington Beach

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Councilman’s past vote on policy problematic

As America reacts with disgust to the sexual harassment and assault record of Harvey Weinstein, the California Legislature, Fox News and other political and media leaders, I have become exceedingly angry that our own city councilman Scott Peotter was the only member to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy (Sept. 13, 2016).

What was he thinking? In light of the revelations of how widespread sexual harassment and outright assault is in our nation, his vote becomes even more indefensible. Enough is enough for me. We need to eliminate the disrespect for women from our institutions and a good place to start is to support the recall of Peotter. We owe it to our daughters.

Shannon Green

Corona del Mar

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Unwise to repeal Johnson amendment

Would you like to have your rabbi, priest, minister or imam endorse a candidate for public office during services? That is what may happen if a sleeper provision on page 429 of the tax reform bill, now under consideration by Congress, passes.

In 1954 then-Sen. and later President Lyndon Johnson spearheaded passage of what came to be known as the Johnson Amendment, according to the Washington Post. It is a provision in the tax code prohibiting religious organizations and their clergy from endorsing candidates for public office from the pulpit.

Clergy may still speak about issues with profound political ramifications, such as abortion, gay rights, gun rights or climate change. Taking stands on issues can, of course, be controversial, but are much more in the realm of opinions than endorsements. Moreover, voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives in churches, if done in a non-partisan fashion, are allowed.

On May 4, President Trump issued an executive order mandating that the Justice Department be “lenient” in enforcement of the rule. In fact, there has always been some degree of leniency in enforcement and few suspensions of tax exemptions for religious groups.

But a key problem with outright appeal of the amendment is that big-money donors would be able to make anonymous, tax-deductible political donations via houses of worship. This would undercut any further campaign finance restrictions and corrupt both religion and politics.

Rescinding Johnson would be a true disservice to the First Amendment that draws such a precious line between religious freedom and any endorsement of a particular religion and its beliefs or ideology. Let us not cross that line.

Benjamin J. Hubbard

Costa Mesa

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