Celebrate the diversity of views, too

A certain "reverend" has used this forum (Jan. 23) to accuse me of perpetrating myths and attacking, mocking, demeaning and insulting his religious beliefs.

I respectfully answer "not guilty" to the charges.

Throughout much of history, the Christian church held absolute power. Religious offenses such as blasphemy and heresy were punishable by death. The church vigorously sought out and burned every trace of religious criticism, often with the authors as well.

Apparently, the good reverend would like to return to the time when only those with favorable opinions about religion were permitted to express themselves. Religious leaders need to disabuse themselves of the fallacy that their beliefs have some special exalted status, where no criticism is tolerated. Religion doesn't deserve such special treatment.

I have contributed to this forum since the days of Dean and Margaret Lesher, and I have no intention of silencing myself just because other readers might disagree with my opinions. I publicly thank the Times for continuing to print letters from a wide variety of perspectives.

Burt Bogardus

Danville

Return feds' power to the statehouses

U.S. representatives and senators are sleeping in soft beds and wear fine cloths and eat good meals. Who made those beds? And those cloths? And those meals? Congress members have never made anything with their own sweat. Representatives and senators live on an income that is produced by the American taxpayer. Representatives and senators "are one with a crowd of men who have made what they call a government who are the masters of all other men, and who eat the foods the other men get and would like to eat themselves." Representatives and senators "wear warm clothes that men made, but they shiver in rags and ask why?"

The very reasons our founding fathers created America and outlined our way of life with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, was to enable each and every American citizen the freedom to create a life he or she chooses. This is the very reason people came to America, because they could be free. Our founding fathers limited the authority and size of the federal government to prevent interference with our life choices. Little by little, Congress members have reduced our freedom of choice to increase their control and enrich their lives on the very backs of the working American citizens.

Our state governments, who our founding fathers set up to be the actual authority for governing, have prostituted themselves for monetary funds the federal government has misappropriated from our individual states. This must be corrected!

I support the current action by a number of states to convene on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of several states, to call a convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution to limit the power of our federal government and return that responsibility to each individual state.

Louis Santucci

San Ramon

Porn a possible contributor to sexual assault

I minored in psychology at San Jose State (Class of 1949). One day the professor lectured on human sexuality. I will always remember his words: "Oh, what a powerful drive it is!" How true!

It seems hardly a day goes by without some sex-related incident being reported in the media. All too often violence is involved. Most often it is men exercising their passion for young girls.

I suspect that the easy availability of pornography on the Internet is exacerbating the problem. Even if a person's home computer is set to prevent pornography, it is still freely available to anyone at their local public library. At least that is true of my Livermore city library. I check on this every once in a while. On Jan. 5, I found the situation had not changed. Just access Google images, and there it is. One author, an attorney (Mark Cohen) contends that the Supreme Court, in 1946, ruled that pornography is protected by the First Amendment. He calls it a flawed decision. Well, I guess!

Donald F. King

Livermore

More dogs should be on leashes

Recently, while on horseback at Mount Diablo, I was attacked by a pit bull that was off-leash. The vicious attack on my horse resulted in my being bucked off and luckily receiving only minor injuries. The dog pursued my horse, who ran away to avoid further injury after being bitten. The dog owner was yelling and running after his dog -- but it ignored him.

The park rules say that a dog may be off-leash in certain areas if under "voice command." Too many people think they have control over their dogs when they do not. Be aware:

  • You are responsible for the behavior of your dog. If it injures another person or animal, you would have to pay for damages, medical costs and could easily wind up in court for negligence if not worse. And that could cost you thousands if not millions.

  • If someone is seriously injured due to your dog's actions, you will have to live with this the rest of your life.

  • If you own a breed of dog that is known for aggression, you need to be especially diligent. All pit bull owners say their dogs are docile and wonderful -- until they maul or kill. When this happens, your dog will be ordered euthanized and you will lose your pet.

  • Dogs are like any other living being. They change as they age. Just because they behaved perfectly yesterday, does not mean that is how they are for life.

    Too many people have their dogs off-leash that should not be. "Voice command" is defined very loosely by dog owners. Everyone needs to share our parks, be safe and be responsible.

    Cynthia Shon

    Pleasanton member, East Bay Regional Park District's volunteer mounted patrol (off-duty at time of incident)

    State funds don't come from thin air

    On Feb. 10, in his letter to the Tri-Valley Times, Mr. John R. Crowell shows an attitude so typical of the Left Coast. He is bemoaning the thought of being taxed to pay for the health care of the uninsured and underinsured. "It's the job of the federal and state governments, not taxpayers, to shoulder the burden." Just where does he think the federal and state governments get the money to "shoulder the burden?"

    Donald R. Merucci

    Pleasanton taxpayer