Freedom of religion isn't a joke

This country is founded on the principle of religious freedom. This implies that people are to be free of ridicule for their religious beliefs.

There is no place in public — or, I would argue, private — discourse or on social media for "jokes" that deride the religious beliefs of any person or group. A county official who publicly engages in derisive behavior such as Jasper County Commissioner John Bartosh, when he posted to Facebook his "joke" that derided values held sacred by people of the Muslim faith, should not hold public office.

Commissioner Bartosh should resign his post. If he doesn’t resign, he should be removed from his office for conduct unbecoming. Freedom of religion is no joking matter.

Patricia O’Roark

Carl Junction

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Joplin’s wage discussion leaves questions

A new city manager is under some sort of pressure to present any new or novel method of promoting or even managing his city. Oftentimes, “even keel” does not seem an option.

The Globe presented a rather detailed discussion (Sept. 20) of the consideration of wages for city employees. The cities mentioned, included as comparisons or references, does not mention whether these constituted the entire list. There were cities on this list that don’t appear to be directly comparable to Joplin.

Some details that probably were considered but not especially mentioned deal with the amount of business generated by folks coming to town. Are the cities similar in revenue coming from folks living in city limits?

I’ll admit to being fairly ignorant as to all the revenues that go into our employee till. If we compare with Jefferson City, are we implying some sort of wish we may think is self-fulfilling? Do we see a likely procession to betterment? Was there any mention of cost of living in the larger cities that was presented that I failed to see? Is the turnover in city employees larger recently than in other local employment sectors? Have we hired a consultant that perceived an atmosphere (hint, hint) that anticipated such an increase?

Bill Hawkins

Joplin

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Rain not the only thing that dampened park days

Bill Caldwell’s column (Sept. 6) on the weather conditions dampening Play Day at McClelland Park was interesting. Time and people can bring about a change. Today, it is more prevalent than ever before. That is why there are marches and unrest every day, regardless of the weather.

During a certain time, situations would happen, and they were settled quietly. But not now because enough is enough. The present generation is not accepting things silently anymore. It’s like they are saying, “Look and you will see me, listen and you will hear what I have to say, and learn so you will know.” This is a workable way to get along together.

The Homemakers Club of 14 mothers met in members’ homes and did outstanding projects to benefit the community. At each meeting, the women would perform a project such as making cancer bandages, preparing objects and financial offerings to give to shut-ins for medicines, and cooking food for needy families. The members walked the streets collecting funds for March of Dimes, and scholarships were given to students.

During the holiday season, the club would celebrate with a party of family and friends at one of the dance halls. Each summer, a picnic was held for the children. Usually, the picnic was at Ewert Park, but because of the number in attendance one year, the members decided to go to McClelland Park on a Sunday. The club went to the park, set up everything and was having a joyous time when a park policeman came over to us and said we had to go to our park (meaning Ewert Park).

We asked him where was “our” park when our tax dollars also helped maintain every park in the city. We told him we were at one of our parks, so when we completed our picnic, we would leave. Some people in the park at the same time didn’t want us there, so they sent the policeman to tell us to go to our park.

We decided right at that moment that all the members would each call City Hall the next morning to let them know what had happened to the Joplin taxpayers who had not bothered anyone. On Monday, at City Hall, when all the contacts were made, they said the policeman had no right to contact us. We were attending the park as taxpayers, which gave us our rights to be there like every other resident. We never caused any problems. That is why you don’t know about unnecessary incidents not dampened by rain.

So let us live, learn and work together for peace and equality for all today.

Betty J. Smith

Joplin

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Preserve Joplin's Memorial Hall

This letter concerns the Joplin Memorial Hall. I have lived in and around Joplin all my life and am retired. I remember going to concerts, home shows and all sorts of events that were held there. It seemed as if there was always something going on there monthly, if not weekly. I have noticed that it has not been used much in the past several years. I know there are structural issues that need addressed, but it seems to me that repairs should be less costly than replacing the building. Plus, it is a tribute to the veterans that should be maintained.

I would like to see it utilized and and used for events regularly that would bring in money to keep it afloat. It would be a shame to demolish this historic building. I remember the demolition of the Connor Hotel. It should not have been razed, and as I recall, it was so well built that it did not want to come down. It would have been a crown jewel of the Joplin downtown.

I traveled the Four-State Area for my job and have been to Independence, Kansas, several times. Anyone who has been there or lives there knows that people there have well preserved their downtown with beautiful historic buildings still in place. They should be proud of their city. We should take their example.

I do not know why the arts center has to build directly in front of the beautiful Memorial Hall. There are many other locations that would be better, plus it would take away from precious parking spaces for the Memorial Hall. Downtown is good, but it can be better.

Ken Comer

Joplin

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Trump's policies good for economy

According to last month's Census Bureau report, in 2019, median household income increased by the largest annual increase on record at 6.8%. The poverty rate fell to 10.5%, the lowest level since 1959 and the lowest in history for Black and Hispanic Americans.

The labor force participation rate (percentage of working-age Americans in the workforce) for 25- to 54-year-olds increased to 82.9% during the first quarter of 2020. Between 2007 and 2015, the labor participation in this group declined to 80.7% from 82.9%.

Eventually the pandemic will end, and President Donald Trump's policies have been better for the economy. It will be difficult to return to these good numbers if Democratic billionaires are successful: Tom Steyer has spent more than $345 million (OpenSecrets.org), Michael Bloomberg vowed to spend $100 million in Florida alone (Forbes), and George Soros has spent hundreds of millions in prosecutor races across the country to elect those who vow to lock up fewer criminals.

Ellen Lanear

Joplin