Editorial Summary: Nebraska :: WRAL.com


Omaha World Herald. July 3, 2022.

Editorial: Religious freedom involves keeping government out of religious matters

It’s right there in the opening words of the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The religious provisions of the First Amendment held the country together for more than two centuries. They have made America a beacon in the world when it comes to allowing people to freely practice their religion – and preventing the government from establishing laws and policies that promote any church or religious practice. particular.

America must continue to respect and balance these two freedoms.

Past history and current events in the world have shown how governments sometimes persecute people of certain faiths. Or prevent some from exercising their beliefs. Or impose a single set of religious views on a pluralistic society.

But that’s not the American way.

That’s why it’s important to challenge the statements of some public officials last week after recent US Supreme Court rulings.

“I’m tired of this separation of church and state that’s not in the Constitution,” said Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado. She also said that “the church is supposed to run the government.”

The founding fathers had no such intention. Instead, they made it clear that they didn’t want America to have a state-sponsored religion like the Church of England. So it’s hard to imagine that they thought a church should tell the secular government what to do. And, by the way, which church should be given this power?

Closer to home, Nebraska Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen tweeted last week, “I strongly support efforts to bring prayer back to our K-12 schools. His campaign platform clarifies that he emphasizes Christian prayer, although he did not describe how those prayers would be organised.

It’s hard to see how Nebraska school officials could fairly add prayer to taxpayer-funded classrooms without threatening the rights of individual students to worship as they choose. Nebraska is home to people of different faiths, not all of them Christian, as well as others who do not embrace any religion. Even among Christian denominations, considerable differences exist in church doctrines and practices.

Public schools should respect the diversity of religious and non-religious views and avoid requiring or pressuring children to pray a certain way — or not at all.

Admittedly, the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment can be tricky to implement. The two principles – no state religion, but individual freedom to practice a religion – sometimes collide in real life and need to be sorted out.

So the Supreme Court was called to rule last week in a case where a high school coach in Washington state was prevented by his school district from praying at the 50-yard line after a game.

The district was concerned that a public prayer session by a school employee at a sanctioned school event could result in a lawsuit against the district for endorsing the religion. This fear is based on the possibility that some students on the team will feel pressured to participate in such prayers or excluded if they do not.

But the court ruled 6-3 that the key factor was the coach’s right as an individual to practice freely, which the district should not interfere with.

Not everyone agrees that the judges got it right, but these kinds of religious liberty cases will always be difficult as the courts try to weigh competing values. This Supreme Court in particular has signaled that it leans more towards individual religious rights.

But both parts of the First Amendment remain intact and essential. And the part that prohibits the government from establishing a religion protects believers and non-believers alike, because it separates matters of personal faith from any government influence or control.

As the Nebraska State Constitution says, “Everyone has the natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of his own conscience. No one shall be compelled to attend, erect or maintain a place of worship against his consent, and no preference shall be given by law to any religious society, and no interference with the rights of conscience shall be permitted.


The Lincoln Journal star. June 29, 2022.

Editorial: The study will save time, money and pain down the line

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska wants an environmental impact study on a pair of proposed carbon dioxide pipelines before permits are granted to build thousands of miles of pipeline across several Great Plains states to transport gas from factories of ethanol to deep underground sequestration sites in North Dakota and Illinois. .

The surprise, frankly, is that such a study is not already underway and the licensing process is moving forward without such an evaluation.

In fact, a study of the proposals should, if found to have little negative environmental impact, reduce opposition to the pipelines, make it easier to win the rights to build the lines on private land, and reassure the public. that the pipelines will have the benefits claimed by its proponents.

By sequestering carbon dioxide, Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions, which offers some 2,000 miles of pipeline, and Navigator Ventures, which offered 1,300 miles, could take advantage of a tax credit passed in 2008 that would provide $50 for each tonne of carbon. stored for up to 12 years – a recognition of the need to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to combat global warming.

Ethanol plants have been eager to sign up for the project because CO2 displacement will reduce their “carbon intensity” scores, maintaining their access to markets, such as California, with strict standards for fuel producers.

That would help Nebraska corn growers, who supply ethanol plants with about 280 million bushels of corn each year. That’s nearly 40% of the corn grown in the state each year, a grain that likely wouldn’t have a market if “carbon intensity” scores couldn’t be lowered and mills were forced to close.

Opponents, however, argue that the pipeline proposals are nothing more than a “money grab,” that the carbon dioxide burying technology has not been proven, and that the project won’t do. enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from factories.

The “cash grab” allegations are, to be fair, political rhetoric aimed at stirring up naysayers. But the questions of technology to transport and store carbon dioxide and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed in a study.

Permitting agencies, whether county councils in Nebraska, state agencies here and in surrounding states, and at the federal level, should require such a study before greenlighting the project.

Any time frame created would simply be prudent and could likely prevent years of opposition over the use of eminent domain and environmental issues that, at present, seem sure to occur, both in public bodies and in the courts.



About Author

Comments are closed.