« Previous Story | Front Page | Next Story »

Stimulating Opinion Articles

By Ken Poland
Opinion | February 1, 2011

man-reading-newspaper.jpgCOLBY, Kan. - Congratulations to Vickie for her recent article. She may have set the record for motivating response to opinion articles here at Kansas Free Press (KFP).

Our editor-in-chief says we have over 332,000 people who came in and browsed the menu at KFP in the month of January 2011. Our editor also tells us that from 11,000 to 17,000 unique visitors come to KFP's website every day! We all appreciate those who take the time and effort to join in the discussions, both pro and con to our articles. We also appreciate that our regular contributors and visitors show courtesy and respect, even for those with quite differing opinions.

When we look around the world and observe the conflicts between people and nations, we can't help but notice that religion is a major contributor to the world's conflicts. I don't think any single brand of religion is free from radical extremists. All religions and non-religions (Judaism, Muslim, Christian, atheists, humanists, naturalists, etc.) have those who wish to dominate society around them.

two-men-talking-reading-newspaper.jpgI firmly believe the secret to our nation's survival for these two hundred plus years is the amendment to the original constitution that declares that the governing body and authorities cannot promote or restrict any persons or groups on the basis of their religious associations or beliefs.

Some of us fear that we have government officials who step over or around that amendment. It appears that, here in the United States, it is the Christians verses all others in vying for the dominate position of authority. Both sides are equally guilty.

We all have a degree of difficulty in maintaining tolerance for those around us who seem to have different forces that motivate and drive us in our relationship with mankind.

We all have a tendency to draw the line giving ourselves maximum room to promote our agenda and hopefully limit others from having quite the same amount of freedom and influence.


Ken--As usual, you've written a thoughtful article on the problem of religion and dominance. I'm not sure it's religion, per se, that causes the problem. I'm not religious, but I have many religious friends and we get along just fine. What I see as the problem is the need for power of certain religious groups over people who don't share their beliefs. That push for power is often cloaked in a religious agenda. Let's take the issue of choice, for example. Many religious sects believe that a woman should exercise her own conscience in relationship to abortion and/or birth control. However, members of those sects who believe abortion is immoral seem to think that their beliefs should prevail and they play the power game to make that happen.

I have mentioned this before in response to other blogs on this subject. When I taught at Butler Community College, faculty members were required to attend graduation. At that graduation, a Christian minister or priest was always asked to give the invocation. Among the faculty and students were Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Ba'hais, secular humanists, agnostics, and athiests. Why should those people at a public tax-supported institution be subjected to a prayer given by a member of a faith they don't believe in? That's where I draw the line as far as my tolerance goes.


Diane, you will note that I said 'extremists' and 'radicals'.

I am of the Christian faith and I can honestly say I would have no problem with allowing a Wiccan to address the assembly in a manner that parallels the Christian prayer. As long as the Wiccan's prayer, chant or whatever they call it doesn't call for violation of any persons physical being or freedom of belief, then he or she has the same freedom of speech or expression as I do. By the same token, the Christian's prayer should not make the non Christian feel like they are being threatened or condemned by the person offering the prayer.

All Christians don't agree with me. But, our constitution says if the Christian can pray wherever and whenever, then others must be given that same privilege. If a professor can reveal their Christian faith, then the same freedom should be allowed for any other faith. Simply revealing your faith is quite different from belittling others faith. Attempting to discredit the validity of evolution or creation goes beyond simply pointing out the fact that all people aren't in full agreement on that issue. The simple truth is: the creationist cannot prove the absolute time line covered in the process of creation. Neither can the evolutionist prove that the process of evolution isn't a process used by the creator.

Abortion and birth control are serious issues that both sides can come with plausible arguments defending their positions. The anti side has some problems with consistency in their argument. Is the egg and the sperm living organisms? If they are then even the rythm method is artificially wasting or killing living organisms. We have very little problem with defining murder as the taking of life without justifiable reason. There is no question that a breathing human being is life, no matter the age. But, is an embryo at whatever stage a breathing human being? What is meant by 'breath of life'? Not even all Christian associations agree on when life, as it relates to our physical life, begins. Most all agree on the spiritual life as, at the least, beginning at conception. But then, some believe that every spiritual life was created when God created the universe. Does man have the power to create or destroy spiritual life?

Just for the record, I happen to be pro-choice. Right or wrong? I'm not the authority that can make that judgment for anyone but myself. And the consequences of my judgment is between me and my God.

Ken--We don't disagree. In fact, I would like to see a Wiccan say a prayer at the Butler commencement exercises. However, since I'm retired, the issue isn't relevant to me anymore. Diane

They have some people from alternate and new age religions give the daily prayer at the state capital. All one has to do is apply and they let schedule that person in.

I am reminded of a pastor from Wichita ( I think) who opened the Kansas legislative session with a prayer, delivered behind an assumed protestant religious pulpit, that was a condemnation and judgment on all the sins of society and our government officials, who didn't fit his declaration of righteousness. That kind of invocation is not appropriate and should be denounced by all, regardless of religious belief.

Ken, nice article. I believe that tolerance is this country's greatest challenge. It is difficult for humans to acknowledge others who disagree with them, in a respectful way. It's not just religion but also free speech, and free press. If we can teach more tolerance in public discussion we will do a lot of work toward furthering our national debate. One reason I log on to this site to comment from time to time is that the debate is reasonable, and respectful. Keep up the good work.

Post your own comment here

Do you want to read more? You've only just scratched the surface at the Kansas Free Press. We have so much more to read! Nearly all of the pieces published here are timeless and relevant, regardless of when the articles were first published. To discover more, please take a look at our Table of Contents or go back to our Front Page.

Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press:

About This Page

This page contains just one story published on February 1, 2011. The one written previous to this is titled "Sotomayor: 'Become a Renaissance Person'" and the story published right after this one is "A Modest Proposal"

Our most current stories are always updated on our Front Page.

Other Archives

Interested in other topics? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents to find other sections and archives.

Do you want to explore pieces written by specific authors? You can find archives for KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

Recently Featured Stories

My Response As a Kansan to Jessica Valenti

Jessica Valenti has come on board The Nation magazine to fill in for Katha Pollitt as the feminist columnist while Pollitt is on leave to write a book. I've found reading Valenti's columns thought-provoking and insightful. She often takes …
Of Angels and God's Dogs

There might be a whole group of us out there--people who value our relationships with animals on a par with our ties to people. "Get over it--it was just a dog" does not resonate with us. Our society places …
Of Angels and God's Dogs

There might be a whole group of us out there--people who value our relationships with animals on a par with our ties to people. "Get over it--it was just a dog" does not resonate with us. Our society places …
Roots of the n-word

While N-word dialogue has slackened following Saline County Commissioner Gile's use of it recently, the word still has great power. So, let's look inward at the N-word. To reach a much deeper path to understanding, simply go to Ad …
Corporate Tax Reform

Basehor, Kans.--For an interesting twist on the corporate tax debate, look at Alan Sloan's opinion in the April 29 issue of Fortune Magazine. In all of the froth about corporate taxation, neither proponents of tax reduction, nor corporate critics, …

News and Opinion

Get Connected

See our FB page!
Subscribe for free!
[Feeds & Readers...]
Follow Kansas Free Press on Twitter, too!
Make Kansas Free Press your home page!

Journalists, sign in.

We're reader supported!

Whenever you use the specific links below to begin any of your online shopping, a portion of your sale goes directly towards the support of this site.

Tech Depot - An Office Depot Co.

Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links above (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press.

Thank you for your help!

Notices & Policies

All of our Kansas Free Press journalists are delighted that you are here. We all hope that you come here often, sign in and leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

Our writers are credentialed after referral to, and approval by, the editor/publisher of KansasFreePress.com. If you are interested in writing with us, please feel free to let us know here. We are always looking for Kansans who want to write about Kansas!

All authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. They welcome others to copy, reference or quote from the content of their stories, provided that the reprints include obvious author and website attribution and links to the original page, in accordance with this publication's Creative Commons License.

Our editor primarily reviews stories for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual stories on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors. For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media. The Kansas Free Press, KansasFreePress.com, and Kansas Free Press are trademarked names.

© Copyright, 2008-2012, all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by the respective author, and then by KFP's publisher and owner for any otherwise unreserved and all other content.