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Letters July 28

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Poor education I enjoyed Max Brantley’s comments about the banning of “Angels in America” at Arkansas Governor’s School. This is probably the one area that fundamentalist governors can affect public education the most. Whereas we used to challenge our high school students just a little bit, we now cannot even ask them to think about certain topics “lest we lead them into sin.” I am certain that our schools are not as good as they once were simply because there is less desire to have kids think, for fear they won’t agree with their elders. Hell, they’re likely to figure out that being gay is not a sin; we can’t have that. I’m home schooling our son so that I can introduce him to evolution, sex ed and history that is devoid of propaganda. In this endeavor I know that I am in the tiniest minority but I’ve got one son who can think critically and I’m hoping to “home-grow” one of my own. I feel that the powers in charge now are perfectly happy with a public education that is similar in style to fundamentalist Sunday School. “Truth” comes from “up above” and students don’t question it. Unfortunately, that seems to me to be the way we’ve worked it for years. It’s a poor excuse for education but I do believe it supplies plenty of soldiers. And the way things are going, we’re going to need a lot of soldiers in the next couple of decades. Daniel Coston Fayetteville Imagine C. H. Patterson’s letter July 7 argues that those who support public display of the Ten Commandments contradict the Second Commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” Unfortunately, Mr. Patterson has overlooked one important fact: words are not images. Matthew Franks North Little Rock Father’s rights The 14th Amendment states quite simply, and succinctly, that no state shall “...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Yet fathers in child custody or visitation disputes are not given equal protection. Many men are placed in an unfair situation when in family court just because they are men. How many times have you heard that a father has been denied visitation, forced to be separated from his children through no fault of his own? Sadly this phenomenon is occurring every day in every family court in America and has been the rule for at least several generations. If fairness and legal equality are dictated by the Constitution one could ask, as I have many times, why are fathers considered less than adequate to remain an involved parent? We hear how men are deadbeats, run away from our families and abdicate our responsibilities. What we don’t hear through many sources is the inherent bias used to deny men equal protection of the law. We should be asking what it takes for a father to gain custody of his children. I have proved eight years of denied visitation and parental alienation so callous that my child wishes I were dead. The judge ruled that I could not gain custody because I lived, at the time, in a one-bedroom apartment, and it wasn’t in the best interests of the children to change custody. Curiously, the only point the judge found credible in the defendant’s testimony was that she had moved five times in eight years, once from Florida to California. While she is allowed to move whenever she wants, wherever she wants with the children, I was not allowed to move once. Sorry, daddy, the 14th Amendment does not apply to you. Steve Foster Fayetteville Help Who says Americans are not bananas? In a current television poll to determine the identity of the greatest American of all time, the list of finalists includes a loud-mouthed pugilist, a simple schoolgirl, one dumb president, two phony preachers and an inane, insensitive female talk-show host. William G. Carlyle North Little Rock Diversity Bob McCord’s list of the Arkansas Press Association’s recommendations to improve the media failed to include “Viewpoint Diversity.” “Viewpoint Diversity” is a term penned by editorialist Cal Thomas that would resolve most criticism of the media. Hating the network news or public broadcasting is pointless but a complaint can be made that the reporters and producers for these organizations are overwhelmingly liberal. We prevented government censorship with the First Amendment. Balancing network and public TV and radio news personnel with moderates, liberals and conservatives will minimize the corporate censorship present in these organizations. Cutting funding for public TV and radio is hardly an attack on public broadcasting. The U.S. currently has a 400 billion budget deficit. Almost every government program will eventually have to be cut to some degree. Thomas Pope Little Rock

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