Thursday, September 15, 2011

Federal judge overturns law preventing pediatricians from talking to patients about guns

Common sense and keeping the government our of our business finally triumphed over the wishes (demands) of the NRA Wednesday when a federal judge blocked enforcement of a ill-conceived idea to block Florida physicians from talking to their patients about guns.   The law was passed earlier this summer and signed by governor Rick Scott in a moment of utter capitulation to the NRA lobby that protested gun ownership and secrecy trumped child safety.

Fortunately, I will not have to take up the torch and add discussions about gun safety to my pre-marital counseling, as promised.  While doctors routinely discuss things like pool safety and wearing helmets while bike riding, priests routinely ask about household finances and conflict resolution among newly engaged couples.  Hopefully, governor Scott and other lobby groups will not decide to try and regulate clergy conversations . . . or any other.  Freedom of speak is, after-all, the law of the land.  Thankfully, this time our representatives have been prevented from trampling upon this freedom.  Had this law been allowed to stand it is not difficult to see it being extended to many other types of conversations.  Think government is intruding in your life?  Just ask yourself what GOP Rep. Jason Brodeur and our legislature were trying to accomplish by this half-baked piece of legislation.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Strange Feeling Upon the Approach of Patriots Day

As September 11 approaches I feel strangely uneasy about our national fervor for patriotism.  As a nation we have much   for which to be thankful.  In spite of current economic woes, this country is a wonderful place to live.  Our many freedoms continue to ensure our safety, even as we continually are encouraged to sign away personal freedoms for the sake of security.  Our countryside is dotted with choices of houses of worship, even as we become more and more a people of intolerance toward persons of faith which do not follow our personal faith choices.

On Aug. 24, 2011 the Wall Street Journal printed an opinion piece by Seth Lipsky, former editor of the Jewish Daily Forward in which Mr. Lipsky brought the following letter to the attention of a nation that sorely needs to be reminded of our calling to be a people of religious liberty and spiritual grace. It is a letter from our founding father George Washington and it was addressed to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.  Please read Mr. Washington's words as I let them speak for themselves.

To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.


While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington
(summer 1790)