Commentary: Cakes, Pro Football And The First Amendment

first_imgBy John INDIANAPOLIS – The First Amendment sure seems to confuse a lot of people.Two episodes in recent days demonstrate that. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to prepare a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The court issued its ruling on narrow, procedural grounds.That didn’t stop social conservatives from touting the decision as a victory for their claim that they could ignore civil rights laws protecting LGBTQ citizens for religious reasons.The ruling was no such thing.The justices said one member of the Colorado Civil Rights commission had made remarks that demonstrated a hostility toward religion.That, in constitutional terms, is a no-no for government officials.Government’s role regarding religious faith, the constitution says, is to be neutral. The state cannot elevate one faith or one set of religious values above another – or above those of people who are agnostic or atheists.This is the issue social conservatives who keep trying to re-introduce organized public-school prayers cannot seem to grasp.The moment a teacher or administrator – who is a government employee – starts to lead the prayer, that educator elevates one faith tradition above others.And violates the Constitution.The students can pray on their own and no public-school employee can stop them, because doing so also would violate that constitutional guarantee of neutrality on questions of faith.None of this, though, means that we all have a First Amendment right to ignore laws with which we disagree.The Supreme Court’s ruling said as much.Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, went out of his way to say that this ruling did not speak to the baker’s larger claim.Perhaps that is because Kennedy and the other justices understand that accepting the social conservative argument – that they have a First Amendment right of conscience to pick and choose which laws they will obey and which ones they will defy – would open the floodgates.After all, people can find or have used biblical or faith-based arguments in defense of slavery, segregation and child sacrifice, among other things.The bet here is that, when a “clean” case arrives before it, even this conservative court will rule that social conservatives have to obey the law, just like the rest of us.If people want to avoid preparing wedding cakes for gay couples, then they probably will have to stay out of the bakery business.The other misunderstood First Amendment issue involved the squabble between President Donald Trump and the Philadelphia Eagles.The Eagles won the Super Bowl.Once upon a time, that meant a celebratory visit with the president of the United States.No longer.Because President Trump has condemned the pro football players who knelt in protest during playing of the national anthem, many of the Eagles said they didn’t want to meet with him. This prompted the president to withdraw the invitation.This is one of the silliest disputes I’ve seen.I continue to marvel at the fact that football fans who swallowed the NFL’s attempts to cover up a long history of traumatic brain injuries to players or horrid instances of domestic violence reserve their outrage for peaceful protests. And I wonder why the president of the United States seems to summon up more interest in this issue than he does in, say, averting a trade war with much of the rest of the world.That said, all who are involved here are acting within their First Amendment rights.The NFL players who take a knee have a right to do so. League officials and team owners have a right to embrace or disassociate themselves from those protests, as they see fit.And, so long as he doesn’t try to use the power of government to squelch the protests, President Trump has a right to say he doesn’t like the kneeling.The Eagles and the president also are within their rights to say they don’t care much for each other.Our First Amendment-guaranteed right of free speech is supposed to be a free-for-all, in all senses of the phrase.Maybe that’s what confuses so many people.John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Writer missed facts on Proctors features

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Mary Carol Hart’s March 20 letter [“Glove Theatre should avoid Proctors’ path”] offers an opportunity for fact checking and response. Proctors is proud to continue to have shops open to the public all week on the main floor. Once there was a small lunch deli, but that was replaced by the larger Apostrophe Cafe, which is open 70 hours a week. Hermie’s Music anchors the arcade’s Stratton Plaza entrance and we have two iterations of the Gift Centre at Proctors, both run by a loyal group of volunteers, as has been the case for 30 years. There are also lobby entrances for Key Hall at Proctors and the Parker Inn, as well the snack bar, which is open for Main Stage performances. Regarding our State Street marquee, it’s not original to 1926, but was installed in 1983 to replicate the original, replacing an outdated and deteriorated Art Deco marquee from the 1940s. It was repaired and repainted in 2014, and the signboards were updated to digital displays. But we did not change the marquee in any other way. As to the GE Theatre, it’s described in the industry as a “black box,” and is intended to be quite different than the lush Main Stage. It’s designed for different kinds of uses and programs, including moving the seating to have a large flat-floor for events. Finally, we, too, wish the Glove Theatre nothing but success for its marquee and continuing operations.Philip Morris SchenectadyThe writer is CEO of Proctors, Capital Repertory Theatre and Universal Preservation Hall.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady NAACP calls for school layoff freeze, reinstatement of positionsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Motorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Softball stays road

first_imgThe Wisconsin softball team returns to action Friday when ittravels to Tampa, Fla. for the USF- Louisville Slugger Tournament. Hosting the tournament is the University of South Florida, ateam that defeated Wisconsin 4-2 in 2007. Among the other participants in thesix-team tournament are South Carolina, Wright State, Georgia Tech and Hofstra.?We?re going to have to bring it,? head coach ChandelleSchulte said. ?It doesn?t really matter who our opponent is right now; whatmatters is what we?re doing on the field.? Wisconsin opens the tournament Friday with games againstSouth Carolina and Wright State. Saturday, the Badgers will play back-to-backgames versus Georgia Tech and tournament host USF. Finally, they will faceHofstra Sunday morning before returning to Madison.The Badgers (5-5) will look to build on last weekend?sLouisville Slugger Desert Classic, which saw them go 3-2, including a 7-5victory over Cal Poly in eight innings. ?We?ve got a good base,? senior catcher Joey Daniels said ofthe team. ?[However], we have a long way to go to build on that base. It?sgoing to take time to adjust to everybody.?One of the keys to Sunday?s win was the performance offreshman pitcher Kristyn Hansen who earned her first collegiate victory in 4.1innings of work.?[Kristyn?s] win was huge for the team,? Schulte said. ?Weneed a three-man rotation, so it was important for our pitching staff.?Leading the way so far for the Badgers offensively has beenDaniels and junior infielder Ricci Robben, with team highs in hits and runsbatted in, respectively.However, noticeably absent from this year?s team is formerBadger and Wisconsin?s career home run leader, Katie Hnatyk. Last season, as ajunior, Hnatyk led the Badgers in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage ? allof which set UW single-season records. ?Katie decided that softball just wasn?t her passionanymore,? Schulte said. ?She wanted to do some other things; I supported thatdecision, and I wish her the best of luck.?While it has been a blow to the Badgers offense, Schultebelieves it has helped in terms of the dynamic of the team and the opportunityto get some other players to play.With six freshmen and only two seniors on the roster, gettingnew players in the game has been integral to the Badgers? success so far thisseason. ?We have a lot of young players,? Robben said. ?[However],we?re adapting well as a team, and if we continue to play together, then wewill have success like we have been.?The team is young, and with that has come a degree ofperseverance. In fact, the Badgers are 4-3 in games in which their opponentscores first, and they?re 1-1 in extra inning games.?They just keep fighting,? Schulte said. ?They called them the?Rally Girls? this week because every time somebody would score, we wouldcounter score.?Also contributing to Wisconsin?s success through 10 gameshas been its pitching staff. In addition to Hansen?s performance against CalPoly, junior Leah Vanevenhoven and sophomore Letty Olivarez have combined for a4-5 record in 65.2 innings pitched, allowing 30 earned runs and striking out 64batters.?Our pitchers have stepped up a lot more than last year,?Robben said. ?They?re finishing the games and getting the job done in a muchbigger role.?With record-breaking snowfalls and single-digit temperaturesin Madison this winter, the Wisconsin softball team, as usual, has been forcedto practice indoors and travel to warmer climates for games thus far. ?We haven?t gotten the chance to play in the sun,? Danielssaid. ?It?s a big adjustment, and it?s a lot of games, but we?re used to it.?While the Badgers have had the opportunity to travel to Utahand Las Vegas in the season?s first two weeks, they hope to gain muchexperience and confidence as they continue to participate in tournaments overthe next month.?We may take some lumps early, but we hope to compete in the Big Ten,?Schulte said. ?Our hope is that tough competition early will help us in the BigTen.?last_img read more

Wellington Police Notes: Monday, Nov. 9, 2015

first_imgWellington Police notes for Monday, November 9, 2015:•7:04 a.m. Officers took a report of Reporting an Accident with No Proof of Insurance in the 1400 block E. 16th, Wellington.•7:23 a.m. Officers took a report of an unattended death in the 600 block N. Poplar, Wellington.•9:04 a.m. Officers took a report of a found bicycle in the 1000 block S. Washington, Wellington.•9:54 a.m. Officers took a report of found glasses in the 1000 block S. G, Wellington.•10:45 a.m. Officers took a report of suspicious activity in the 1000 block W. College, Wellington.•1:14 p.m. Christina M. Richards, 43, Wellington was arrested and confined on a Sumner County Community Corrections arrest and detain order for probation violation.•3:20 p.m. Kimberly I. Hagar, 37, Milan, Kans. was issued a notice to appear for defective brake/signal lamps on trailer and no proof of insurance.•3:24 p.m. Officers took a report of found property in the 500 block N. C, Wellington hard drive and memory sticks.•3:35 p.m. Terry L. Craig, 56, Wellington was issued a notice to appear for defective trailer tail/brake lights.•4 p.m. Gary R. Koehn, 57, Belle Plaine, was issued a notice to appear for illegal registration, expired trailer tag and defective trailer lights.last_img read more

Gordon Taylor to stand down but will take PFA moderniser Purkiss with him

first_imgShare on Messenger Pinterest Read more Facebook Share on Pinterest Football politics Ben Purkiss (right) pictured here with Gareth Southgate (centre) and Gordon Taylor, will leave his role as PFA chairman. Photograph: John Walton/PA news Share on Facebook Twitter Topics Share on WhatsApp Football Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn The chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Ben Purkiss, was made to fall on his sword as part of the agreement that will lead to the departure from the union of Gordon Taylor, the chief executive, the Guardian understands.Taylor announced on Wednesday that he is to step down after 38 years in charge, although not until after an independent review, the appointment of a successor, a transition period alongside his replacement and an AGM, the PFA stated. The first month this can be held is November.Purkiss, who by calling for a review of the PFA set in motion the events that will culminate in Taylor’s exit, will go at the same time, along with the whole management committee. Gordon Taylor’s exit kicks open door for rise of a players’ union with bite Purkiss and those committee members cannot be considered for the chief executive role for five years. Privately there is dismay in some quarters that Purkiss, having been at the forefront of engineering change that many PFA members believed was required, will have to stand down alongside Taylor.The chief executive alluded to conflict between himself, Purkiss and the management committee in a statement announcing his departure.“It is true that, at times last year, members of the committee did not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues,” he said. “But, following a series of meetings over the last few months, we are now united on the best way forward.”In November last year Purkiss said the PFA needed to evolve to better serve “modern footballers”. It led to an outpouring of dissatisfaction from former and current players at the running of the union under Taylor, who strongly defended his leadership but agreed to a review.Purkiss, asked on Wednesday how he felt about having to stand down, told the Guardian: “I was never going to sit in the role [of chairman] forever. I think what this does is it enables me to continue to build on the work we as a management committee have done in the past year and a half since I’ve been in the role and my previous time on the committee, and it enables me to play a part in the review, that more importantly we are able to deliver on the recommendations.“I heard when I made the statement [in November] people coming out and saying I was doing it for myself and for personal gain; I would like to hope that that allays any of those fears. If people thought I was positioning myself for the chief executive role then obviously questions would be asked about my motivations.” Share via Email Purkiss did not rule out becoming chief executive after the five-year period is over. “You do not know what’s going to happen in four-five years’ time,” he said. “I hope the next chief executive is the right appointment and is able to lead this organisation for a period of time. I obviously love football and I do believe there are areas where players need support. So I care passionately and would like to stay in football in some capacity.”Sport Resolutions is to conduct the review, which will be led by Thomas Linden QC. Once that has concluded an independent process to recruit Taylor’s successor will begin. Taylor said it was unclear how long the review would take to complete, raising the prospect he could remain in position into 2020.“I honestly don’t know and that is a matter for Sport Resolutions,” he said. “You don’t want the review to go on forever but you want it to be efficient and to look at every angle so we’re refreshed and ready to go on again.“It will take what it takes. I can’t stay on forever but I want to leave [the PFA] united and with clarity. The last thing I want to do is leave it in disarray. If you’re not careful you can end up in disarray, without anyone leading and you’ve got a vacuum … when someone new comes in they can have a fresh look at it. I’ve told the staff not to be worried – they should look at this as a positive.” Share on Twitterlast_img read more