Obama should defend Westboro's constitutional rights

It is time for the current occupant of the White House to declare his position on the viability of the U.S. Constitution, to which he swore an oath to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to enforce the laws of the land.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has published an offensive petition on the White House website, as have others, concerning the Westboro Baptist Church.

All religious institutions and sects have guaranteed constitutional rights that have been interpreted and codified by the judicial system of our great nation, so I can only view this petition as an un-American attempt to use our legal system to deny those same rights to those it opposes. This is the action of an intellectual bully.

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As a Vietnam veteran, I don't approve of the church's obnoxious demonstrations at the funerals of our soldiers, but I disapprove of the SPLC's actions even more.

-- Charles S. Shepherd III


Armed guards protect Obama's girls at school

"I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools," President Obama opined. But his children enjoy armed protection exclusive of Secret Service guards at Sidwell Friends, where 11 armed guards are standard protocol.

These armed guards protect the children of prestigious diplomats and high-ranking officials, or those destined to study at the halls of Princeton, Harvard or Yale.

If putting more armed guards in schools does not make them safer, then the community organizer in chief should petition the director of Sidwell Friends to remove the 11 armed guards currently protecting his children. Then he can ask Congress for the same rule for his subjects.

If he doesn't, it means that your children apparently don't deserve the same protection as his.

-- David Mugan


NRA should put its money where its mouth is

Re: "Unwavering NRA opposes any new gun restrictions," Dec. 23

After listening to Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, reiterate his position on "Meet the Press," all I can say is the NRA should be renamed the National Ridiculous Association.

As a former elementary school teacher and father of three, I disagree with LaPierre's position on gun control. I can see how, in his tiny bubble, he thinks arming school guards is a rational response to the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.

But in the real world where most of us live, his organization's "solution" doesn't add up. LaPierre's notion of reallocating $2 billion from our foreign aid budget to pay for arming America's school guards borders on the ridiculous.

The NRA spends millions of dollars each year lobbying lawmakers to protect its interests. If its "National School Shield" plan is such a good idea, then I challenge LaPierre and the NRA to pay for this newly minted program coast to coast.

-- Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach, Calif.