Freedom from religion
Brian Rothfusz’s March 12 letter urging support for the Rights of Conscience Act is incorrect in two ways. First, he quotes Thomas Jefferson in support of his view. Jefferson was not a fan of the Christian faith, and by all accounts was, at most, a deist. The Jefferson bible – cutting out all references to supernatural acts and focusing on the moral aspects of the work alone – used to be given to freshmen members of Congress.
Second, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In regards to the contraception debate, the government must articulate why contraception should not be covered by insurance without any reference to religion. Doing so, in any way, advocates a position of support for one religion over another. Allowing individuals to push a view onto others is a clear violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law.
Citing religion, or allowing such choices to be made based on religion, goes against much of what America was founded upon. Freedom from religion was the first element of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights and should be respected as such.
The March 9 article on teacher evaluations stated that the state will offer evaluation templates for school districts to choose from. Since I am a retired teacher, I have been following the articles on evaluation closely. A constructive, well-done evaluation is welcome to educators when the goal is to help students reach their individual potential. Hopefully, these templates will be a step in that direction.
How ironic it was then to see that the Legislature could complete their budget in the scheduled time. Teachers have 180 days to educate 20 to 30 students per day. There are no extensions in the number of days allowed for any reason. Surely the Legislature, which dictates educational decisions, should be held to its time limit without extensions. The article on the special session has a quote from Gov. Chris Gregoire stating “They need to go home and get away from each other. Tensions are high. People are tired. It’s hard to get them to focus.”
Educators are held to deadlines and completion dates throughout their entire careers. Is it not time to ask the same of our legislatures?