Freedom of religion - but whose?

July 14, 2014 

There's been so much commentary concerning the "Hobby Lobby" Supreme Court decision. There is one point, I think, that has not been mentioned in reference to relgious freedom, and that is -- religious freedom for whom?

Hobby Lobby is a largr private corporation and has every right to determine the policies under which it chooses to operate. If it chooses to operate under its own religious principles and hires people from the general population, then it has no right to deny them the privileges offered to all in the general population. This would be permissible if all employees shared the religious principles of the corporation. And, therefore, this should be taken into consideration in their hiring practices.

What is the purpose of insurance companies offering to pay for contraception in the first place? It is obviously because many do not have the ability to afford them on their own and especially those who are not in the position of having children or more children. which, parenthetically, produces more children on welfare.

Yes, contraception is a private choice which a majority of Americans use regardless of religion. Hobby Lobby's response might be "Fine, then let them pay for it themselves; we're not going to pay premiums to an insurance company that provides contraception against our religious belief system." My response would be: Then don't infringe on others who do not accept your premise and hire only those who do accept. You would otherwise be promoting and forcing your belief system on others, which is un-American.

A.J. Kravtin


Safety math

There should be no dispute between the Director of City Engineers and Mr. Thornton concerning the bike lanes across the Dillingham bridge. I agree with Mr. Thornton and the federal government: It is dangerously wrong to travel against traffic and properly designated lanes do not justify this; they have never stopped a vehicle from swerving across them. Riding against traffic is dangerous (and illegal almost everywhere) because a bicycle has a turning radius and cannot immediately "jump" out of the way as can a pedestrian (which also explains why it is recommended to walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk).

Our city must understand the following basic physics: If we do the math (vector physics), a cyclist moving at 15 mph hit head on by a car doing 30 mph (a typical speed limit) means the velocities are added, which explains why the head-on collision is so extremely violent. This might seem like so much gibberish to some readers, but to the director it should be perfectly clear.

Anyone who wants to know more about proper cycling could consult Richard's bicycle book. And may I end by stating the opposite of what has been stated in Sound Off? It's been a nice day; I used some algebra!

Hermel D.Fortin


Diversion tactics

Over the course of the past few weeks, citizens all over the state of Georgia have had the displeasure of seeing some of the most negative campaign ads. This has been the doing of Governor Nathan Deal, or rather, the Super PAC known as the Republican Governors Association.

The attack ads against gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter have been largely focused on his supposed lack of support for education (One might note that Carter's own wife is a high school teacher, while Carter himself has been a longtime supporter of both the state's educators and students.) it seems that these ads are simply trying to draw attention away from Governor Deal's true stance on education -- otherwise known as "slash, slash, slash." Let's not forget that under Deal's watch, we have seen the HOPE scholarship dwindle in both the numbers of students and the amount to which even star pupils are assisted.

The anti-Carter ads are also attempting to draw attention away from a $3 million settlement directly from the wallets of Georgia's taxpayers. Four whistleblowers were unlawfully fired after raising questions that Deal might have utilized campaign funds in an unethical manner. While Deal's campaign simply hopes to toss money into attack ads, Carter's campaign has requested that Georgia's own Attorney General reopen the investigation. Nathan Deal deems this action, which most people would call justice or openness in government, as "political theatre."

A few questions remain. Why has Deal continued to avoid the issues that matter most to Georgia voters? What might be hiding in Deal's campaign finance logs? And lastly, will Georgians buy it? We can't afford Nathan Deal any longer. Be sure to voice your concerns in November's election. Be sure not to buy another "raw deal."

Timothy R. Bussey


Bravo, counselors

I would like to offer congratulations and appreciation to the attorneys and staff at Aflac headquarters in Columbus, who raised the most food per capita among corporate law departments during the third annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy.

Spearheaded by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar, this year's statewide food drive raised the equivalent of more than 1.1 million pounds of food for Georgia's seven regional food banks. Surpassing the million-pound milestone is a significant achievement for a program in only its third year of existence.

With participation by 277 law firms and legal organizations, representing 16,000 employees in 45 cities, the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy is a great demonstration of what our profession can accomplish when we work together to meet our duty to serve others.

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker

President, State Bar of Georgia

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