Opinion: Letters to the Editor

Letters for Feb. 13: First Amendment has no funding clause

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Opinion,Letters to the Editor

First Amendment has no funding clause

Re: "Subsidized churches can't complain about regulation," From Readers, Feb. 10

Edd Doerr sets up a new governmental right: If government provides tax monies for a charitable entity to perform activities for the common good, the government can specify its rights. So he claims that funding a religious group to help people abrogates that group's freedom of religion.

In Doerr's milieu, what constitutional right besides religion can't the government eliminate, if it provides funding: speech, press, assembly, redress, etc.?

Doerr should read the First Amendment to the Constitution. It has no exceptions; not for funding a religious activity nor for any other government action.

-- John Naughton

Silver Spring

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Video in P.G. health classes endangers middle schoolers

Re: "Prince George's pulls video that advocates therapy for gay teens," Feb. 8

The Prince George's County school system was right to pull a video from middle school health classes that touts "therapies" that purport to change people's sexual orientation. The video producer's justification, that it is "intended to give students all of the information," ignores the fact that "information" on conversion therapies has long been rejected as dangerous, leading to depression and suicide, by every mainstream American medical and mental health professional organization, including the American Medical Association.

Indeed, the video producer's website links to groups that are notorious for pushing this discredited notion.

Certainly, "information" that is dangerous to students' health should not be included in health classes. The question remains, however, why the video was allowed in the first place, particularly given the fact that it appears to be the same video shown in Prince George's health classes in 2006, but removed in 2007 once educators recognized its dangers.

-- David S. Fishback

Advocacy chairman, Metro DC chapter,

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Olney

No one group owns the Internet

Re: "Keeping the Internet free from government shackles," Feb. 4

Kudos to Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., for offering legislation declaring that it is U.S. policy to support Internet freedom and the multistakeholder model. Congressional leadership is essential as the fight over Internet freedom, highlighted by the outcome of the International Telecommunications Union Conference, is sure to continue.

The Internet Infrastructure Coalition is a great example of how a free and open Internet can foster economic growth and innovation. Comprised of thousands of organizations that build the Internet, our industry generated more than $46 billion in direct revenue in 2010, a figure expected to rise by 20 percent in 2013.

However, our indirect economic impact far exceeds that amount, since our companies enable businesses to launch and expand, empowering local and global economies. None of this would be possible if Internet freedom were constrained.

The ITU Conference did not produce our preferred result, but it did highlight the fact that no one group owns the Internet. Preserving Internet freedom requires bringing all voices to the table to ensure that the Internet remains a global force for good.

-- Christian Dawson

Co-founder and board chairman,

Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition)

Reston

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