Mendez should defer to House rules

Re: the May 23 article "AZ House debate: Did lawmaker deliver a nonprayer?"

Rep. Juan Mendez is to be commended for reminding his fellow representatives that they are to be "improving the lives of the people of our state." This is, of course, why he was elected to the House.

As to him being a self-professed atheist, he has that right. I'm wondering, however, that by denying the existence of God, is Mr. Mendez actually acknowledging that in fact he does exist? If he does exist, and our Founding Fathers apparently thought so, then Mr. Mendez should at least defer to the rules of the House.

Bob Wineland

Retired, Tucson

'Self-professed atheist' sounds pejorative

Re: the May 23 article "AZ House debate: Did lawmaker deliver a nonprayer?"

I applaud your apparently balanced and objective reporting on the antics of our state Legislature with respect to the "nonprayer" offered in the Arizona state House by Rep. Juan Mendez.

But I take exception to your description of Mendez as a "self-professed atheist." The phrase "self-professed" is generally used to imply something bogus or doubtful as in "self-professed Martian" or "self-professed emperor of the Western Hemisphere." You would not report that someone was a self-professed Christian or self-professed Jew.

There is nothing bogus or doubtful about being an atheist, and to attach a somewhat pejorative phrase to a person because of their religion - or lack thereof - does you discredit. As Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai suggests, we are a religiously diverse nation, and Christians have no right under the Constitution to require nonbelievers to engage in their rituals on their terms. 

Wes Jernigan

Artist, Tucson

Pole dancing in the firehouse?

Re: the May 21 article "Fire captain's rank restored by Civil Service Commission."

I was shocked to learn that our hardworking first-responding heroes of the Tucson Fire Department were actually frat boys having hazing parties in the firehouses at the taxpayers' expense. Evidently, TFD chief Jim Critchley has little control over his boys in the frat houses, as it's been going on for years.

What's next, pole dancing?

James Kelly