Letters for July 28, 2016

• Hawaii a state of many faiths • Enforcing the law isn’t radical

Hawaii a state of many faiths

After reading the article in The Garden Island newspaper regarding Angela Ka’aihue’s first run at public office, I find that there is no way I could cast my vote for her. First off, let me point out that our nation was not “founded on Christianity”. Quite the opposite, it was founded on the principle of separation of church and state. No one religion would be given preference over another. One of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson himself, in a letter to John Adams wrote:

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. … But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding …”

That certainly does not sound like someone who is endorsing the concept of a “Christian Nation.”

We also do not “need Christianity back in Hawaii.” We need common sense, compassion, and love and caring for one another. These concepts can be found in all religions, Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. These concepts can even be found in people who profess no religion at all.

By stating that we need Christianity back in Hawaii, Angela Ka’aihue is being disrespectful to the thousands of non-Christian citizens in our great state. A state that has always been and should continue to be a melting pot of many different cultures and religions.

Loyd Clayton, Hanapepe

Enforcing the law isn’t radical

Will Coggin, research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom — a shady front group that lobbies on behalf of tobacco companies, the junk food industry, agribusiness, and other corporations against public interest reforms —recognizes that “(e)verybody agrees that animals should have legal protections for their well-being.” (“Animal lawyers dog the legal system,” TGI July 26).

Yet, he is opposed to making those legal protections mean anything. As my own research at Harvard and others have shown, having laws on the books means nothing on the ground for animals if they aren’t enforced. Every day, countless animals across America are denied even the bare necessities — shelter from the elements, adequate food and water, space to move around. Even when minimum legal standards are violated, in the vast majority of cases there is never any enforcement.

Allowing for enforcement of basic animal protections laws that have been in place for decades is not radical. As Harvard Law professor and former Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass R. Sunstein has noted, allowing such enforcement is actually “very mundane.”

Coggin uses an age-old argument relied on by those opposed to increasing access to justice, invoking the ominous but never realized terror of “clog(ing) the courts” and “jamm(ing) up” the judiciary. As Sunstein has explained, “almost every federal environmental statute creates a citizen suit to supplement … enforcement” and “there has not been a torrent of frivolous litigation. On the contrary, there have been very few lawsuits and they have not been frivolous.”

If, as Coggin acknowledges, “Animal welfare laws are about as controversial as apple pie,” why not allow them to be enforced? If suit can be brought on behalf of the many corporations that the Center for Consumer Freedom lobbies for, surely it’s not such a radical idea to allow suit to be brought on behalf of animals who are tortured, abused, tormented, or neglected in violation of our basic laws and moral principles.

Delcianna J. Winders, Animal Law & Policy Fellow, Harvard Law School

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