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Vaccines: Religious exemptions should be as hard to get as draft pardons were

·4 min read

Vaccine exemption

How times have changed! In the Vietnam era, people wanting to avoid the draft often found it very difficult to get classified as a conscientious objector. They had to go to great lengths to prove that their deeply held beliefs justified not drafting them. Sometimes the obstacles could prove insurmountable.

Apparently, if you don’t want to get a COVID vaccine, it’s pretty easy to get a religious exemption. Indeed, what qualifies as a religious belief can be almost anything.

Conscientious objectors wanted not to kill other people in addition to not wanting to risk their own lives. People claiming newly-found “deeply held convictions” as their rationale for not getting vaccinated do not seem concerned with their own lives or the lives of those around them. They should ask themselves, “Whom would Jesus infect?”

Eric Thomas, Durham

Unsustainable debt

Congress is in the midst of debating and passing additional spending of $1 trillion for infrastructure and $3.5 trillion on a package focused loosely on education, anti poverty, climate programs and other enigmatic programs. Neither of these two record spending bills will be completely paid for from new taxes, although supporters think and say so.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury announced a $2.7 trillion deficit for the 11 months ending Aug. 31, derived from $3.6 trillion in revenue and $6.3 trillion in spending. That’s a 75% overrun. This increases our national debt to about $28 trillion.

Households and businesses cannot be managed or sustained with similar income and spending. How can our government justify and perform this magic trick? It cannot.

Franklin Smith, Raleigh

End drone strikes

If it weren’t already self-evident, the disastrous U.S drone strike in Afghanistan that killed a humanitarian aid worker and members of his family, including several children, revealed the impossibility of limiting the damage from any attack launched from so high up and so far away.

The strike was called “a tragic accident,” a phrase that could also be used to describe the larger policy of which it was a part.

The use of deadly drones is an affront to the allies who rallied to our assistance after 9/11, an insult to all who helped us in Afghanistan and elsewhere at great risk to themselves, and a propaganda bonanza for those who wish us harm.

The drone program should be ended before there are any more “tragic accidents.”

Lynn Mitchell Kohn, Durham

School bus drivers

What a scandal that we pay our school bus drivers so poorly. We entrust the safety and welfare of our children and grandchildren to them, yet we refuse them full-time contracts with benefits and a living wage. Just because their daily schedules are often split up does not mean they work part-time. Wake County needs to get its act together and fund the bus drivers properly so every child gets to and from school safely and in a timely manner.

Mark Pilkinton, Fuquay-Varina


Regarding “NC senator didn’t get his way. A hostile takeover of high school sports is his revenge,” (Sept. 19):

As a former coach, sports commissioner, and president of a youth sports organization in northern Durham County, I witnessed firsthand the abuse officials receive from parents, coaches and fans.

Truth be told, I was as guilty as the next guy for heckling officials after a questionable call. But that is a far cry from some of the behaviors I witnessed during and after recreational and high school events. Players fighting on the field and parents accosting officials should be grounds for disqualification from future games.

NCHSAA is by no means a perfect organization, but it’s certainly better than bureaucratic oversight from state government, which will open the door for constant meddling by politicians who think they are doing their constituents a service by bending the rules.

Jeff Hill, Bahama

Milley’s courage

Regarding “Milley: Calls to China were ‘perfectly’ within scope of job,” (Sept. 18):

For some time I have wanted to add U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney to the profiles in courage started by JFK. Now, I want to add the patriot, Gen. Mark Milley. I’d like to start a Hall of Shame and name Donald Trump chairman.

Roy Brock, Chapel Hill

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