Bret Harte should keep policy

To the Editor:

In the four hundred years since the onset of the Scientific Revolution, two domains have contended with each other over what constitutes truth. On the one side are those asserting what is most true is grounded by faith in the authority of the supernatural. On the other hand, there are those who are confident that truth lies in the rationality of natural laws uncovered through the application of scientific methodologies.

The difference that lies between these two world views is now being played out at Bret Harte High School where a sophomore biology student, who is also an evangelical, is insisting on his right to introduce a theistic critique positing that Creationism and so-called “intelligent design” are alternative explanations for the origins of human beings and should have credible standing in a science class.

His claim relies on a U.S. Supreme Court decision, generally referred to as Tinker, which explicitly grants First Amendment political free speech rights to public school students. At the same time, the court acknowledges schools have a functional requirement to maintain order, wherein free speech is permitted only to the extent that it is not disruptive. The Bret Harte student now seeks to extend those free speech rights to religious speech.

The issue of credibility tests the limits of relevance and whether a theistic-based concept, relying as it does on faith and not reason, is at all relevant in a science class. For this and other reasons, the federal courts have declared (in Edwards and Kitzmiller cases) that “intelligent design” is not science and may not be included in the curriculum of a public school.

I urge the Bret Harte Union High School Board to reject the instant demand, while encouraging the student to raise his issues in more relevant forums.

John MacWillie, Ph.D.


Letter should not have been published

To the Editor:

I was stunned to see the “Choose Life — your mother did.” I find unacceptable his co-opting of the Democrat to address “all you murdering ‘mothers’ out there.” The man is entitled to his opinions about other people’s difficult personal decisions, but he ought not be permitted to weaponize The Union Democrat to achieve his misguided mission to hurt and shame a small segment of the readership who are already despondent over a painful decision, the details of which are completely unknown to him, and which are none of his business.

The letter was the last in the day’s column, and accordingly was followed immediately by the Democrat’s admonition that letters are invited “as long as they are tasteful and responsible.” I wonder who on the Democrat’s staff assessed his letter and decided it met those requirements.

Rene Mayo


Environmentalism is not a dirty word

To the Editor:

Increasingly, I hear or read the phrase “leftist environmentalist nuts.”

Perhaps we should remind ourselves why it is important that our children and their mothers drink clean water and breathe clean air. Some of us slow learners have become “environmentalists” the hard way.

With the help of Marine Major Tom Townsend, Marine M/Sgt Jerry Ensminger established the website “The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten” on behalf of Jerry’s daughter and the wives and children of their fellow marines. The issue relates to the ground water contamination at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, dating from 1953 during the Eisenhower Administration through 1987 of the Reagan administrations.

Camp Lejeune’s shallow drinking water supply was contaminated with various hazardous chemicals, radioactive waste plus nerve and blistering agents resulting in an assortment of cancers, miscarriages, birth defects and childhood cancers. All were concealed from the expecting mothers and parents of the affected children by the Department of Defense, U.S. Navy and HQ Marine Corps and numerous Commanding Generals of MCB Camp Lejeune. Joined today by the Veterans Administration, the Department of Justice and the United States Congress for more foot dragging, reminiscent of withholding and delaying treatment of the cancerous effects of “agent orange.”

Merry Christmas.

Al Neff


Vision Sonora is no vision

To the Editor:

To quote Will Rodgers, “Crime and politics are the same.” Politicians serve no useful purpose. Sounds like Vision Sonora.

Jim Olivier


Finding common ground

To the Editor:

Concerning a recent letter complaining about the judicial branch blocking the implementation of certain aspects of Trump’s agenda: As a member of the opposite end of the political spectrum, I disagree with almost everything the writer said. I did, however, find one area of agreement when he expressed his disillusionment with voting and suggested that he might refrain from voting in the future. I certainly agree that he should abstain from voting. I encourage all other so-called conservatives of Tuolumne county to join the boycott.

Kurt Quigley


Car wash is an eyesore

To the Editor:

I find it hard to believe that the current owner of the car wash at the corner of Mono Way and Greenley Road is wanting to hold on to it for so called “nostalgia” reasons. I think perhaps he wants to hold on to it so he will always have Sonora in the palm of his hands to sell it at a later time for once again a very unbelievable amount.

And I wouldn’t count on him donating the land. Yes, it is a eyesore and should have never been approved on the terms of the owner.

Jeanie Radovich-Sandor