Letters At Length

Learn about Ashland before making changes

Once again, we seem to have people moving to Ashland, seeing things they don't understand and wanting to make changes. Change is sometimes good, but sometimes not.

One of these newer people to our area tells us that Dead Indian Road was once called Indian Market Road. That came as quite a surprise to me, my family and my friends who were born and raised here. My family has been in the Ashland area since the mid-1860s, and we are wondering what history book this newcomer has been reading. We have complete respect and admiration for our Native American neighbors, and we see no disrespect in the current name of that road.

And then there are those who don't like the idea of our high school renewing our tradition of painting the letter "A" on the hillside of Grizzly Peak. I grew up seeing that "A" up there, and I know that it does not spoil anyone's view. It is really rather hard to see unless one knows where to look.

If these people are so concerned about the aesthetics of their views, then I think they should be extremely upset about the proposed enlargement of the Mount Ashland Ski Area butchering the forested slopes of that mountain and spoiling not only the basic ecology of the area, but also the view for all of us who love to look up at it. The multiple cuts that would slash through acres of forest would make the mountain ugly for all of us, all the time, just so that a minority can have more fun in the winter. In my opinion, that kind of change is not good.

Oregon has many geographical names based on local historical facts. We also have traditions that outsiders may not appreciate or understand. People who are not familiar with our area shouldn't always assume that they know what is best.

Donna Webb

Response to Tidings columnist

Chris Honor&

233;'s column on June 4 concerning religion in the political arena ("On any given Sunday") has more than one inaccuracy.

In 1947, the Supreme Court overturned prior Court rulings in reinterpreting the First Amendment. Until that time, the First Amendment was understood to protect the citizenry from government establishment of a state religion, not the other way around. Political leaders were expected to bring the religious faith of their private lives into their service to our country. Their faith was presumed to be the source of their moral compass.

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights because they were intended to restrain the government from interfering in the lives of citizens. The 1947 Supreme Court chose to use Thomas Jefferson's private correspondence to reinterpret the First Amendment, and the result is that it no longer restrains the government from anything. It now requires the government to restrain the behavior of citizens &

exactly what it was designed to prevent.

It has been to our country's great detriment that today's political leaders are discouraged from bringing their religious faith into the public arena. The moral compass is missing for many. Over the past 50 years, the "new" First Amendment has led to schizophrenic public policy, with political leaders encouraged in hypocrisy as they attempt to separate their personal beliefs from their public positions.

It's of interest to note that the Library of Congress contains an exhibit called "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic," which contains clear historical evidence of the impact of personal Christian belief on the public lives of our Founders. Concerning Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the complete historical records of their actions and words while holding office show their respect for the fact that they were elected to office by a Christian nation. It's unfair to judge them based on bits and pieces of their total public lives. They would undoubtedly be surprised were they to see their characterization in the Daily Tidings as "radical secularists."

Kristin O'Driscoll


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