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As the parent of two children in the St. Louis Park schools I am deeply troubled by the Star Tribune commentary “St. Louis Park case affirms: Religious freedom is for all Minnesotans” (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 27) suggesting that religious freedom is more important than respect for LGBTQ inclusion in school curricula. My children have a mother and a father, but they have classmates who have single parents, two moms or two dads. I also have friends with transgender kids. I applaud our school district for its approach.

Learning about these other types of families and gender identities is not an infringement on anyone’s religious freedom. Parents who don’t like the St. Louis Park curriculum can open enroll their kids into less progressive districts.

Celebrating this as a victory suggests that discrimination is OK if someone uses religion as a basis. That is a dangerous precedent that should give us all pause.

Matt Flory, St. Louis Park


St. Louis Park has caved to six families who are offended by LGBTQ topics in school. Our LGBTQ youth and families struggle every day with issues of diversity and inclusion, as well as suicide and depression due to the ignorance of others. Our public schools should be a safe haven and learning environment for them. They are unable to “opt out” of their day-to-day reality.

Public education is for all. If it doesn’t conform to personal religious beliefs and prejudices, may I suggest that these six families find a religious school tailored to their specific needs.

Mary Jane Miller, Chanhassen


The message I got from “St. Louis Park case affirms: Religious freedom is for all Minnesotans” is: We won; now we gloat. The commentary affirms and reaffirms “that the district has granted our clients’ requests” to opt out of classes that taught subjects that violate the families’ religious beliefs. Then the commentary proceeds to show distrust for the system by promising to “monitor the situation to ensure that our clients and other families receive the opt-outs they have been promised.”

The system finally worked, without appeal to the courts, as the writers point out. Be gracious, not grudging, in victory.

Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis


Living solo isn’t a precise indicator

Regarding “Mpls. is listed as a lonely city” (Feb. 28): Wow, that headline grabbed my attention. This headline is based on the statistic of nearly 44% of residents living alone. Wait a minute! How do you go from that very basic statistic to labeling a city “lonely,” and judging that 44% of its residents are lonely? The Oxford definition of “lonely” includes these adjectives: isolated, friendless, outcast, forsaken, rejected and forlorn. Tell that to those who live alone because they prefer it, because it works for this time in their lives, or because the timing didn’t favor living with their friend. This article consigns everyone who lives alone as isolated and friendless. It makes the assumption that having roommates would in all cases be better than living alone, and, further, there is an underlying suggestion that being married is best of all. Ridiculous! Many people who live with others feel lonely.

Loneliness is not synonymous with living alone, nor is it caused by living alone. The surgeon general’s report as quoted did not link living alone and loneliness, yet it was used to bolster that link. You need to pay more attention to your adjectives and inferences.

Mary Bolton, Stillwater


So you say you want enforcement

Several letter writers repeat the worn-out argument that there are plenty of laws on the books to stop gun violence, so “If only … .” But that is shallow thinking and erroneously assumes that “the system” can actually prevent the majority of gun violence with a little more willpower. That much widespread policing of the population (by police and acquaintance) is not realistically in society’s reach. But why would widespread searching and enforcement action be necessary? Because both mental health issues and guns are widespread, and only growing. To add irony to this argument, the same people who argued that restrictions on clip size and ammo are both unconstitutional and would be ineffective (along with red-flag laws) now want more enforcement as their only answer.

The rest of the developed world shows us, constantly, that commonsense regulation, less firepower and less gun-rights-are-everything thinking are what will end this self-inflicted carnage. To bring home the fact that an entire country can go insane, consider that the U.S. Supreme Court is now deciding whether our government can ban the cheap device that makes a long gun an automatic machine gun, used in one sitting in Las Vegas to kill 58 people who no longer have life or liberty, nor can pursue happiness.

David John Paulson, Minnetonka


It’s not all dispiriting news

I read Laura Yuen’s column on Feb. 25, “The dysfunction of our disrespectful politics,” and would like to refer readers to a recent forum held Feb. 21 at the Washington Cathedral, “With Malice Toward None, Goodwill to All, Reclaiming Civility in American Politics.” This is part of the National Governors Association initiative, “Disagree Better.”

This week, a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) called for the end of democracy. If we are going to save it, we need to learn how to communicate better and express our different opinions without being hostile to those who don’t agree with our positions. We need to seek to better understand, not be understood. At the same time, we also need all our elected officials to engage in civility and confirm that they are committed to supporting democracy. The silence has been deafening in regard to elected officials rejecting the CPAC conference speaker, who clearly stated the aim is to end democracy. In our very bitter and divisive world right now, the forum provides a way forward for those who truly want to engage in a civil society that embraces democracy for all.

Terri Fishel, St. Paul


It’s our wishes that count

Human remains can go through a variety of processes: donation, embalming, cremation and theatric debut, to name a few. When handling remains, the thing to ask is, “Does this respect the wishes of the deceased?” (“Say no to human bones sold as curios,” editorial, Feb. 24, and “Starring your former skull,” Readers Write, Feb. 27.) Some people want to be laid to rest. Some want to train doctors and other health care providers. And, yes, some want to participate in the arts. When actor David Tennant, playing Hamlet, worked with skull of composer André Tchaikowsky, as Yorick, he was acting (pun intended) with respect for the deceased. But willing one’s skull to a theater is vastly different from trafficking stolen body parts as mere “curios.”

Speaking as an organ donor, I’d rather my “too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew” than wind up as home decor for someone who thinks Ed Gein is the next Martha Stewart.

Helen Risser, Edina