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The New York Times analysis titled "Is America a Christian nation?" needs additional analysis. The subhead says that Justice Samuel Alito spoke of the idea of returning America to "a place of godliness." Those were not his words. They were spoken by Lauren Windsor, who was falsely posing as a Catholic conservative while secretly recording her conversation with Alito. Her full quote was, "Like, people in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that, to return our country to a place of godliness." Alito simply said, "I agree with you." Despite further baiting, he said later in the conversation, "We [the Supreme Court] have a very defined role, and we need to do what we're supposed to do." He never once said it was the court's role to impose Christianity on the country.

Windsor got an even stronger statement from Justice Roberts. "Would you want me in charge of putting the nation on a moral path? That's for the people we elect. That's not for lawyers. … It's our job to decide the cases as best we can."

The analysis by the New York Times implied that the Supreme Court would be influenced by Christianity rather than the law. Perhaps the writers forgot that the court unanimously struck down a lower court restriction on access for the abortion pill on June 13. Their decision was based on the law. Alito, a Catholic, understood his defined role, and he performed it.

Roberts was also right. I can make my own decision about my faith.

Lee Newcomer, Wayzata


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I am a Christian who believes in Jesus as my savior. There is a lot of talk about the U.S. as a Christian nation. Would anyone with that belief show me a theocracy in the history of humans that has not abused, terrorized or killed its own citizens?

William D. Bieber, Maple Grove


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This analysis centered on the far-right goal to return America to a "place of godliness."

Let's look at the U.S. Constitution and what the framers put into it. "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The "so help me god" is a personal add-on, not part of the framers' wording. No religious preference there.

Next, in Article 6, "under the Authority of the United States, [the Constitution] shall be the supreme Law of the Land." This clause does a few things: establishes federal law supreme to state laws and also sets forth the wording of the Constitution as the law of the land, taking precedent over religious laws.

Then in the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... ." Again, no religious preference provided. In fact, it establishes that "we the people" are to be in charge of our religious or nonreligious identities and the government should stay out of religion.

The founders, regardless of their personal religious identities, did not put into our U.S. Constitution any religious preference and indeed purposely made it void of religious privilege. The answer to the question of whether we are a Christian nation: No.

Steve Petersen, Shoreview


FATHERS

Some are present but not helping

Kudos to columnist Myron Medcalf ("A message for absentee dads: It's never too late," June 16) for highlighting Black excellence in fathering and pointing out that absentee dads come in all races and persuasions. That is my experience too. He made the point that white dads deserting their families is not thought of in the same way as the prevailing narrative that the Black community has to endure. What astounded me, though, was the 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic that in homes with dads living with their families, between 30% and 55% of fathers were not "likely to have bathed, dressed, diapered, or helped their children use the toilet every day."

Race takes a back seat when nearly half of men living with their kids don't actually care for them. Guess who does? And there you have it. If we value families, if we love and honor our children, and if we really believe we are all equal as human beings, then the critical job of nurturing our little ones must fall to men and women. If you enjoy the procreation part, you're obliged to take care of the results. When men desert their families, we all lose. The children lose a trusted male figure. The mothers lose support for the endless, exhausting job of child-rearing. And the men lose their connection to the very heart of society.

We've come a long way from the stereotypical cold, income-producing dad and nurturing, bread-making mom, but clearly there's more to do. Today's world needs us to maximize everyone's potential, and that means men, at home and in their positions of power and legislative authority, must recognize that child care is critical, life-affirming work. Catch yourself when you say you're "babysitting" your own children. Pay attention to, and have a conversation with, your partner about how to divide the work of the household, including your hands-on care for the kids. Applaud male friends who stay home to raise their children. Support political candidates who stand for paid family leave and paternity leave.

Above all, love those children you brought into the world. We'll all be better off because of it.

Cheryl Bailey, St. Paul


OPTOMETRISTS VS. OPHTHALMOLOGISTS

Illustrating the difference

Regarding the editorial "On eye medicine, the 'ayes' nearly had it": I had a strange thing going on with my left eye coincident with the need for new glasses, so I went to the optometrist. The optometrist sold me new glasses and said the odd effect I was observing would settle down if I used eye drops but that I should maybe see an ophthalmologist. So I started using the eye drops and made an appointment to see an ophthalmologist a few days later.

The ophthalmologist got one look at my eye and arranged for surgery within a few hours. It turned out OK because my particular condition was not as fast moving as most, so no harm no foul. But there was a foul; the optometrist (eyeglasses vendor with fancy equipment) nearly caused significant harm because eyeglasses vendors are not doctors.

By the way, when I went back to the same optometrist to get a new subscription since my vision had changed due to surgery (having metal bands installed around the eyeball changes the focus of the eye) the same optometrist initially refused to honor the guarantee on my recently purchased glasses, which give you free new lenses if your subscription changes due to surgery. Seeing this ironic injustice, the employee of that company handling my paperwork canceled the charge anyway. I now buy my eyeglasses from a different vendor.

This situation might be improved if we changed the names of these practitioners. I propose calling optometrists "eyeglasses vendors" and ophthalmologists "eye doctors." Dead languages such as ancient Greek are amusing but sometimes cause confusion.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, who blocked a change that would have expanded optometrists' scope of practice, was right.

Greg Laden, Plymouth