October 08
00:00 2015

Respect your ancestors,

Dr. Ben Carson

To the Editor:

“Knowledge is my friend, ignorance my enemy.” That statement has been important to me and hundreds of my former students (1974-2014) who have entered my classroom before I retired.

As a private citizen, your right to freedom of religion or freedom from government sanctioned religion is your constitutional right protected by the First Amendment.

The Constitution also has no litmus religious test for citizens seeking public office. Both of these facts are taught in any Civics class or can be understood from a casual reading of our U.S. Constitution.

When any citizen seeking to represent my interest fails to express a simple understanding of these principles in our Constitution, my intelligence is insulted.

Dr. Ben Carson’s recent statement regarding the faith of over a billion people, specifically the religion of Al-Islam, who are commonlyreferred to as Muslims, vividly demonstrates his lack of knowledge or simple ignorance of the five basic pillars of Al-Islam.

His advisors would benefit substantially by researching the first Constitution called the Medina Constitution, which provided the first tenets of freedom of religion. That early community in Yathrib, now called Medina, recognized the faith of the Jewish citizens, Christians and non-believers in 638 A.D.

They were free to worship as they had been doing historically under the governor of that city, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, the last Prophet of the Abrahamic faiths.

Dr. Ben, an outstanding neurosurgeon, should resist being portrayed as Uncle Ben for the benefit of a political party. Dr. Carson, respect the struggle of your ancestors who were maligned and limited to roles such as an Uncle Ben, against their inherent God-given talents of human dignity and honor.

Fleming El-Amin



Alabama targets minority voters in closing driver’s license offices

To the Editor:

We continue to see challenges to voting rights across the country, and Alabama’s decision to close more than 30 driver’s license offices around the state disproportionally impacts African- American voters.  The decision is particularly troubling considering that many of the shuttered offices are located in rural areas and counties where more than 75 percent of the registered voters are African-American.  The closure of these offices in eight out of the 10 counties with the highest numbers of African- Americans blocks residents’ ability to obtain a driver’s license, which is required in order to vote in the state.

Alabama’s harsh voter ID law further restricts the ability of residents to obtain the requisite identification needed not only to vote, but also to drive, get a job or apply for a passport.

Alabama’s decision to close ID offices reminds us that 50 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the fight for equal access to the polls still continues today.  Having a say in our country’s Democratic process still does not exist for all.

U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield

District 1, N.C.

Chairman, Congressional Black CaucusWashington, D.C.


Planned Parenthood helps the poor, minorities

To the Editor:

On Monday [Sept. 28], my colleague Congresswoman Alma Adams [12th District of N.C.] and I had the privilege of hosting three brave patient advocates for a special press event on Planned Parenthood and their important work in communities of color.

These advocates traveled from Texas, Illinois, and New York to share their own personal and powerful stories about the role Planned Parenthood played in helping them lead happy, healthy lives.

We heard touching accounts of incredible strength in the face of insurmountable hardship, and were reminded that overcoming adversity cannot always be done alone.

The stories shared by Courtney Everette, Natarsha McQueen and Cazembe Jackson illustrated the undeniable value of Planned Parenthood’s impact in undeserved communities across the country. Despite our nation’s strides to expand health care access, African- American communities continue to face substantial disparities in their health care outcomes.

This fact – albeit hard for many of my conservative colleagues to acknowledge – underscores the critical need and significance of Planned Parenthood, whose health centers provide birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and lifesaving cancer screenings to millions of people every year.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore

4th District of Wisconsin

Washington, D.C.


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