Does Constitution have a prayer?
The advertisement from the Freedom From Religion Foundation - "God and Government a Dangerous Mix," 5/7/10, page 39 - misstated several facts.
The National Day of Prayer is not a law, nor does it tell the people we have to pray.
The First Amendment gives us freedom to choose which faith we individually follow, freedom of speech, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble. When Christians use one day of the year to assemble and pray, we are using that right and are not disrupting the public.
The Day of Silence uses the same right. Though the government does not enforce participation in the Day of Silence, public schools do, with much pressure toward and from the youth to participate.
I'm surprised a judge would mistake a constitutional right to so great a length. Our founders prayed while writing the Constitution. The majority of signers of the Constitution were Christians; many were ministers. But the American people were given the freedom to choose what they believe and practice. That is today's American freedom.
I am given the right to pray wherever, whenever and to whomever I want. And I will. Any day of the year I can go to Capitol Square and pray. And it is not illegal.
Make sure the FFRF know what they're talking about before they say it.
Tiffany Renee Shoemaker, Age 14
Burns and the Hood
I'd like to offer an alternative political take on Robin Hood, reviewed by Kenneth Burns ("Nodding Off in Nottingham," 5/14/10). Burns compares the English barons to the Tea Party. But clearly the well-off WASPs in the latter group are in no danger of starvation.
Robin, challenged to be honest by King Richard, suggests that the slaughter of Saracen civilians is no part of the Christian crusading mission. For this, he and his associates are punished. If you aren't with King Richard, you are against him.
King John asserts that it is sinful to oppose him, as he rules by divine right. The tax problem is due to volitional foreign wars, as is a huge hunk of our national debt today.
And, finally, just as this film wasn't lively enough to engage Mr. Burns, politics is evidently not lively enough to concern many Americans, as shown by our low voter turnout.
Floyd A. Hummel
South-siders don't bite
Regarding your cover story on R Place ("Race and R Place," 5/14/10). It's human nature to be uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations. The cure is simple: Get out of your comfort zone, experience new things, and they become familiar.
You can try some of the gems of Madison's south side: the Wednesday night funk jams at R Place and Friday/Saturday night belly dance shows at the Hookah Lounge.
Really, we are not as scary down here as some might think.