Trust not religious conviction with state power

New Brunswick, N.J.: It’s tempting to make heroes of Rusty Bowers and Mike Pence. Given the surrounding terrain, they tower above Bill Stepien, Bill Barr and all the other con men and flunkies testifying before Congress. Bowers, in particular, emerges as a man of refreshing integrity and few words; careful, thoughtful and understated, but deeply principled. It’s nice to know there are still those around us on the side of the angels.

But wait a sec: Bowers claims he would still vote for Donald Trump despite everything he and we know about the latter and his contempt for the Constitution, due process and the rule of law. More painful still is that Bowers believes that our Constitution was “divinely inspired.” To credit our brilliantly crafted but fallible Constitution (remember the Three-Fifths Clause?) as “divinely inspired” places it above critiquing, amending or even replacing. Talk of inspiration should be reserved for great works of art or strokes of genius, not documents written by lawyers.

Decent human beings, people of good will and deep feeling who are clearly competent at their jobs, are undergoing an internalized civil war. On one side are the common-sense dictates of their roles as citizens of the secular society that Thomas Jefferson et al had in mind in 1789. On the other — not necessarily the side of our better angels — are their religious beliefs, based on a book written by human beings inspired by our basic need to not feel alone in the universe.

What this says about the powerful role religion plays in American society is depressing. What it bodes for America’s future is hardly cause for optimism. J.T. Barbarese

The truth hurts

Bronx: I want to tell that buffoon Trump that I’m tired of his Big Lie. The only election that was stolen was the one ya stole from Hillary Clinton in 2016. You’re such a lunatic that you should be in Bellevue. You know nothing of what it takes to be a great president and you never will. I will tell the truth about you always. Doris Festante

Due process

Manhattan: As everyone knows, a candidate for president who gets the most votes in a particular state gets all of that state’s Electoral College votes. There is no mechanism by which a losing candidate can pressure a state’s secretary of state overseeing a federal election to change the electors or the outcome to tilt in his favor. Any direct communication by a candidate (or his representative) with an election official in an attempt to do so should be a federal crime, if it isn’t already. The only legal recourse for challenging election results is through the courts. However, such challenges must be based in fact and backed by supporting evidence. Consequently, Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s claims, based only on conspiracy theories, were laughed out of court. It’s high time Trump faced the fact that he lost the election to President Biden fair and square and moved on. Enough is enough! Chana Schwartz

Judicious process

Staten Island: In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law requiring people to show a need to carry a gun in order to get a license to carry in public. The Democratic leftists screamed in opposition. Some even advocated the abolishing of the Supreme Court. So much for them always touting that they are the saviors of democracy. Supreme Court rulings are not decided by a popularity contest. Many times in the past, their rulings ran counter to major popular opinion. If we reject their reasoned rulings then every court case will be decided by popular opinion. The Supreme Court protects minority opinions. They focus on interpretation of the Constitution, not the political winds that would sway them. That’s why they are appointed for life. Joseph Valente

Their burden to bear

Newton, N.J.: As an American citizen opposed to gun violence, I hereby make the following charges against Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts: You will now be held accountable for every person killed or wounded by guns in the United States. Their blood is on your hands and heads and will never be cleansed. Michael Schnackenberg

Disregard for life

West Columbia, S.C.: So the Supreme Court is trying to kill us. First, it’s denying women the safe and private decision of whether to give birth or abort, which will mean more mothers and children at risk physically and financially. Then it’s endangering citizens in cities that have held back the tide of gun violence because the right-wing majority of justices have determined that safety in public places is far less important than the ability of men to collect as many firearms as they can and take them anywhere they go. It seems that fetuses are the only Americans who will be safe if those five religious, righteous, Republican justices have their way. I’d like to see just where in the Constitution — or in the Bible — they’ve found the assurance that women have no right to their own bodies and men must have all the guns they want. And yet they call themselves “pro-life”! Carol Robinson

Public problems

Manhattan: I invite our once-esteemed Supreme Court justices to come and walk the streets of the Bronx or Brownsville or Bed-Stuy day or night, or sit in a car talking or eating. No takers? Of course not — they get personal protection at the hint of a threat. They are a disgrace to their high positions. Mary Fredericks

Guns galore

Manhattan: Dang you, Clarence Thomas, and all five of you other Supreme Court justices who are responsible for this stunning ruling! You just randomly decide to overturn a century-old N.Y. state law that has required gun applicants to demonstrate “proper cause” and “good moral character,” arguing that the law violates the Second Amendment? I sure as heck don’t envy our mayor and governor. They had it tough enough to begin with with a progressive “defund the police” type as DA. Now? How the hell are they going to convince even a lifelong subway rider like me that taking public transit is still a safe alternative in our already crime-infested city? Someone should create a GIF that photoshops Justice Thomas’s head on Oprah’s body, declaring, “You get a gun! You get a gun! Everybody gets a gun!” NYC is livid right now and as you can tell, I am too! Gary Stein

Bare minimum

Redondo Beach, Calif.: Mike Pence was in office for 1,460 days and there was only one day of courage. John Chevedden

Criminal inaction

Rockaway Park: I would like to respond to Voicer Scott Thompson: He states that former President Donald Trump was accused by the Democrats and the media of planning, organizing and inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. You’re right, Mr. Thompson, he didn’t do those things and neither did the media nor the Democrats. However, as president, he did nothing to stop it and that’s the problem. The Democrats and the media did not put up a noose to hang Mike Pence. It was the president’s job to stop the event from going forward. Why didn’t he call out the National Guard? Instead, like you and I, he watched it play out on television and did nothing, and as such he is an accessory to a crime against our country. Sharon Gabriel

Game-day delay

Rosedale: Now that the NBA Finals are over, I have a request for the league and the networks that broadcast the games. Living on the East Coast, it is really difficult to watch to the end games that start at 9 p.m. Why do the games have to come on so late? The game doesn’t finish until at least 11:30 p.m., which is tough for people who have to work the following morning. I understand that with the West Coast being three hours behind, it’s a 6 p.m. start for them, but I think everyone gets a chance to watch the game in full. Maybe they would miss the beginning of the game but that’s way better than missing the end. Shirley Jordan

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