11-1-12 NYA Letters to the Editor

Candidate refutes statement in recent letter

Editor’s note: The newspaper’s election letter policy dictates that there will be no election letters in the last edition before an election unless allowed to give a letter writer or candidate a chance to directly respond to an attack or accusation from the previous edition.

To the editor:

A letter to the editor in the Oct. 25 paper that was written by the current Carver County Commissioners Lynch and Ische made the accusation that myself or another candidate were “directing” a critic of theirs who was voicing accusations about them. These accusations had to do with alleged irregularities in relation to a sale of a Bobcat.

I do not, nor do I need to direct those constituents who follow Carver County politics to speak out about things they have watched the current board of commissioners do to make them “look bad.” That these two commissioners each has a challenger with widespread support speaks to how many have independently come to the conclusion that they are not satisfied with more than a few aspects of how these two current commissioners have overseen county operations.

These critics of Commissioners Lynch and Ische are, not surprisingly, supporters of their challengers. To scold the letter writer for not getting his facts right, then make unfounded accusations about your challengers, is trying to have it both ways, obviously for the purpose of trying to make their political opponents “look bad.”

Neither Jim Walter or myself directed the letter writer to make this charge as Lynch and Ische are accusing us of, suggesting we are manipulating information. Their letter attempted to do that very thing by trying to “direct” that incrimination on their political opponents. For all their protests about false accusations in that letter, it certainly wasn’t a very respectable or honest communication.

Frank Long
Candidate for Carver County Commissioner District 4


Writer responds to critical reception of argument

See editor’s note prior to the letter above.

To the editor:

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to address multiple letters in last week’s edition, questioning my faith and understanding of American Civics. These letters reiterated my point that we are a nation of believers and non-believers.

Among the believers, there are many who believe in a Supreme Being, yet have different traditions, beliefs, doctrines and practices. That is what religious freedom is all about. Each of us has our individual choice to practice our religious beliefs. It is not about a majority religion having the power to force its beliefs onto others. That is why our ancestors fled the Church of England. Many religions accept same-sex couples and embrace their families within their congregations.

Our state’s constitution is not serving the common good if it is used to enshrine a prejudicial institution that is rooted in a majority religious belief. Our Constitution is meant to protect and promote equality of all citizens.

Civil marriage would not change the sanctity of a religious marriage. This is what religious freedom is all about, not to force one view on all. I would challenge each of you to go back and re-read the letters, but this time, replace the reference to same-sex couples with inter-racial couples or mentally-retarded couples. We have been wrong before. If we value the dignity of all lives, we cannot enshrine such discrimination in our civic laws and especially not in our constitution.

I am familiar with the biblical references and the church’s catechism. Again, these are religious beliefs, not universal beliefs. This would support my concern that the civil rights of non-believers would be diminished by the imposition of a possible majority religious belief. I meant no disrespect to Fr. Bennet Tran. I agree that he has a role in informing his congregation of the church’s teaching so followers are able to make informed choices in their personal lives. I continue to believe the Archbishop has abused his authority to call on us to push a religious belief on an entire citizenry. Where is the freedom in that?

I received several calls and emails from faithful Catholics thanking me for reminding them our role as Christians is to show God’s love and allow others to choose whether or not they wish to follow. God’s love is abundant and is not something that is forced. Fr. Bennett’s homily this past weekend reminds us that we must meet people where they are at in their faith.

He recited the prayer of St. Francis. I got chills as this is the prayer that I believe encompasses all that we are as Christians. We cannot be harsh and judgmental of those who do not believe; we must be gentle and loving. If we want to be a community of inclusion and love, we cannot act out of fear and hate.

I think we all agree that the “ideal” is for children to be raised by their parents in a loving and committed relationship. Sometimes that is a single parent household, sometimes it is an adoptive couple, sometimes it is extended family, and sometimes it is a same-sex couple. The important piece to remember in all of this is summed up in this quote referring to marriage: “It enhances the health, longevity, and stability of married couples.

It increases the health, career, and emotional well-being of children. In providing all these benefits, marriage contributes to the happiness and prosperity of society.” This quote is true, not only for opposite-sex couples, but for same-sex couples too. Our society is best when we value everyone equally.

The most common misunderstanding is that a “NO” vote on this freedom-limiting amendment is that it would make same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota. That is not true. Minnesota already has a law defining marriage between one man and one woman. A “NO” vote doesn’t change that law. It allows the conversation to continue, rather than cementing a religious belief in our civic constitution.

Leanne Pouliot Kunze
Laketown Township