I am writing this with a heavy vagina, in response to the "War on Women" (Feb. 6) article. Having lived in Arkansas for 40 years (so I'm still an outsider), I continue to be amazed by the various legislation that has been introduced throughout my years here. Why men believe their private parts and bodies cannot be legislated upon, yet continually want power over women, is just so, well, Bible Belt. We're definitely not a progressive state. It looks like Arkansas men have the right to have sex with women, but what are THEIR consequences for an unwanted pregnancy? These men will never understand the emotional impact of putting a woman through an unwanted pregnancy and HER life afterwards. Forcing adoption, forcing regret, forcing of financial hardships, forcing a child to grow up in a possibly loveless existence — when the man will not "Man Up" to his responsibility — all in the name of God? Where's legislation that will guarantee financial and emotional support for the child that someone doesn't want, but by a law, must have? Just another example of penis power, in my opinion.
The governor's race
Now that Dustin McDaniel is out of the race, who will the Democrats of Arkansas put forward?
After having a man like Mike Beebe for governor, if the people of Arkansas permit a pipsqueak like Asa (!) Hutchinson to become governor by default, we will get exactly what we deserve, and it may not be what we like.
Only a woman
It's not about exceptions for rape, incest or health of the mother. It is about an individual's constitutional right to privacy and personal liberty. No one but a woman who becomes pregnant has the right, or the burden, to determine whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.
When governing bodies start dictating when, where, and how a woman's body must be examined, prodded or probed, it is the end of equal justice for one gender at the bidding of the other. Women's bodies are not objects to be controlled by any legislative agenda.
I know no one who is "anti-life" but I know many who profess to be "pro-freedom." What freedom is more celebrated in our culture than one of self-determination? Sadly, there are those in elected positions who misuse their power to create legislation specifically designed to deprive half the population of this county of their right to individual freedom.
Surely they understand that we all desire the same thing — we want what's best for ourselves and our families. Both men and women have the right to personal freedom and self-determination, not just the half with a "y" chromosome. What is it about the female gender that causes some legislators to feel compelled to propose government control over women's bodies?
Helen Jane Brown
Executive director Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Sanctuary from guns
I am a born and bred Arkansan. I am a proud Southerner. But above all, I am a person of faith. The church I attended for several years when I lived in Arkansas has red doors.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Conway and Episcopal and other churches around the county have red doors. Some are freshly painted and vibrantly glowing in their redness. Some are faded to more of a dirty maroon color rather than flashing with a stoplight red. Sadly, those who attend church in Arkansas and elsewhere seem to have forgotten the reason behind this redness.
There are several reasons that we give for our red doors in the church. Most are symbolic of theological concepts and doctrine. Some are practical such as simply indicating that the Episcopal Church you are entering has successfully paid its mortgage in full. However, there is one meaning that is pertinent to this particular point in our history. It is relevant today as it was relevant in the Middle Ages. Red doors symbolized sanctuary.
In fact, from the 4th until the 17th century, English law recognized that if a fugitive entered a sacred place such as a church that they were immune to arrest. In this country, people still at times attempt to seek sanctuary. As recently as 2006, conscientious objectors to the Iraq war were able to seek and at least for a time receive sanctuary under the auspice of the United Methodist Church in Tacoma, Wash. So the question must be raised, why has this concept of sanctuary been lost in the shuffle?
Frankly, I have no answers. When a refugee from Sudan or Rwanda or some other war-torn country in Africa or the Middle East or wherever and whenever applies for asylum, we consider it. As best we can, we honor such requests and even grant a few. Yet, we have lost all concepts of church as sanctuary.
When states make laws specifically saying that it is OK to carry a concealed weapon into a house of worship then people of faith have lost all sense of sanctuary. When houses of worship and people in general allow weapons into houses of worship or any public forum then we have lost all sense of peace. When people as a whole do not explicitly prohibit guns concealed or otherwise in public forums then we have lost all sense of the sanctity of peaceful society.
At the end of the day, I am completely in favor of our God-given and our constitutional rights. But I draw the line when people argue that it is their God-given right to bring a gun tucked under their buttoned-up shirt into Sunday service because I am pretty sure that a mechanism of death is not welcome in places that speak of new life and eternal life and peace everlasting.
I no longer live in Arkansas. I now live in Maryland. One of the highest if not the highest cause of deaths for youth in Baltimore is homicide. Bullets to the heart and brain. No one can nor should argue about God-given and constitutional rights when the way that people currently own and use guns is a crime against humanity.
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