The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 10, 2013

Readers' Forum 9/10 | Officials' call was in poor taste

JOHNSTOWN — I wish to express my disappointment and anger with the officials of a local elementary football game.

I have no complaints about their calls. I am, however, extremely angered by their poor judgment and their decision to resume play while an injured player was still lying on the field.

A player was injured on a play where his opponent scored a touchdown. He was quickly receiving appropriate attention from coaches, his parents and medical personnel. Before he was removed from the field of play, however, the officials simply moved both teams to the opposite end of the field for the point-after attempt and allowed play to resume.

At least one coach protested this proposal when it was presented to him, but the officials proceeded anyway. The officials are tasked with controlling the game, and must bear the burden of this decision, which was in extremely poor taste.

I know that there were other games scheduled and that they had a schedule to keep, but continuing to play while an injured player is still on the field is, in my opinion, simply and totally unacceptable.

I feel that the officials owe a formal, written apology to not only the player that was injured but also to his parents and family for the disrespect, lack of concern, indifference, and lack of empathy that they displayed by their callous decision to resume play. Shame, shame, shame on them.

Dr. Michael Z. Rice


Make choices before speaking out

If one were to ask everyday Americans what they consider to be their first freedom guaranteed by the constitution, they would probably say “free speech.” But is it?

Freedom of choice is the correct answer. It all begins with making choices before speaking out, using a free press or assembling to protest the government.

Thoughts precede speech and actions. Thoughts are filtered through the conscience. The conscience is governed by one’s world view, i.e. one’s religion whatever that may be.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It is in the language of the First Amendment that sets America apart from other governments and makes all of the difference in the world because free thoughts allow creativity, innovation and progress. America’s greatness would be lost if “the free exercise of religion” was taken away by Congress making laws prohibiting free religious thoughts.

Yet that is exactly what Congress is doing with the Christian religion. It is progressively becoming intolerant to the very source of our 224 years of constitutional guarantees of freedom.

So when someone protests expressions of Christianity in the public square, remind them where they got the right to object to the “free exercise” of one’s conscience to speak about their beliefs. It works both ways.

Dr. Bill Choby


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