Lawmaking doesn’t mix with religious zealotry

Extreme “Christian” Republicans believe that the government must protect our religious freedoms. Perhaps they would like a return to a modern-day Spanish Inquisition in which those who did not share our religious views were forced to recant and convert under penalty of severe punishment.

In America, religious freedom means one is able to follow one’s beliefs without government interference — it’s called “separation of church and state.” Religious zealots — Christian or otherwise — would do well to keep their religious views to themselves and not try to impose them upon others, especially via ill-conceived, mean-spirited laws.

Dennis Winsten

Consultant, Tucson

After fury over SB 1062, core conflicts remain

Re: the Feb. 27 editorial “Damaging assault on civil rights sadly won’t be the last.”

I believe that SB 1062 was seriously flawed and was relieved to hear it had been vetoed. As I understand it, the controversy was brought about because a caterer refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

The issue however has raised some troubling questions. Must a Muslim caterer prepare pork for a customer? Must a Jewish caterer put a Nazi symbol on a cake? Must an African-American caterer put a KKK figure on a birthday cake?

While your editorial is full of righteous indignation, it does not address the problem of how to resolve conflicting rights.

JoAnn Zorn

Retired occupational therapist,

Green Valley

Crossers’ garbage

spoiling our lands

As an avid hiker, I enjoy hiking the mountains and deserts along our border and I get out just about every weekend.

It disappoints me that nothing is getting done by our government about the problem of trash spread out along the border from the illegal crossers. Our once-pristine lands of the Ironwood Forest and Organ Pipe Cactus national monuments and the Buenos Aires and Cabeza Prieta refuges are full of trash.

The arroyos and washes are packed full of garbage and no one seems to be doing anything about it. It seems like Rep. Raul Grijalva would want to ask the Obama administration for assistance to help clean up the blight on our landscape.

Perhaps some of the illegal aliens should be required to first do a little cleanup before they are allowed to go back to their country. America the Beautiful? Not along our border, anyway.

Dan Mattausch

Construction foreman, Tucson

Yarbrough, Melvin, Biggs are bad for Arizona

I cannot believe some of the arguments behind SB 1062. Senate President Andy Biggs thinks a cabdriver should be able to refuse to take someone to their destination because he disapproves of it? What? A cabdriver’s only job is to transport people and not pass judgment or critique it.

Sen. Steve Yarbrough thinks a kosher caterer should not be forced to provide pork to a potential client. What? Who would go to a kosher caterer if they did not want kosher food? Does this also mean I cannot make a Chinese restaurant serve me Polish sausage?

Sen. Al Melvin made a fool of himself and our state on CNN. Aren’t we fed up with these buffoons? Arizona citizens should see these men for what they are — ignorant, bigoted and detrimental to our economy.

Let’s all join to remove these pompous, self-righteous men from the important job of determining our welfare and that of our children. Thanks, Gov. Brewer, for not letting us down.

Jo-Ann Marks

Psychotherapist, Tucson

Future water supply

depends on us

Re: the Feb. 23 article “Arizona is urged to desalt seawater.”

We have about 25 years left before we run out of safe drinking water. The article suggested a willingness to embrace the expensive development of removing salt from seawater. Let’s take it a step further.

The time has come when choices have to become necessities: We need strict and enforced laws to control our use of water and we need to enforce investment in whatever projects that will provide us with the safe water needed to sustain life.

We have to “suck it up” so that our children and grandchildren will be able to drink up from a glass of safe drinking water in the future. Let’s hope that Tucson hasn’t become a ghost town by then.

Hanne Owens

Hospice nurse, Tucson

On Ukraine, beware murky remedies

Re: the Feb. 28 column “Putin bullies Ukraine while Obama does nothing.”

Charles Krauthammer says, “Start the declaration of full-throated American support for Ukraine’s revolution. Follow that with a serious loan/aid package — say replacing Moscow’s $15 billion — to get Ukraine through its immediate financial crisis. Then join with the EU to extend a longer substitute package, preferably through the IMF.”

What does “full-throated American support” sound like? Where does $15 billion come from? On Feb. 24, an IMF spokesman said, “We are talking to all interested parties.” They also made it clear that they won’t take action without Ukraine making a commitment to undertake austerity measures. Ukraine said it needs $35 billion between now and the end of 2015.

Lots of questions need to be answered before the USA steps into the middle of a crisis half a world away ... again.

Michael Nichols

Retired, Tucson