Just let it be

I hardly know where to begin, however, it does seem as if religion has taken over politics to the point where if you are not an evangelical, you are not an American citizen anymore. That’s all you can hear on TV from the political pundits anymore: “I believe in my Lord.”; “ I was saved.”; “I want our next president to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.”; etc., etc. And from the rest of the citizenry, there is a silence so loud, it’s like a huge boulder is hanging over us just waiting to drop should we voice anything to the contrary.

But … I am a Jew. I am not an observant Jew, but I consider myself a Jew in every sense of the word. It is my culture, it is my heritage. And to the extent that I practice any religion at all, it is Judaism. And I, and many others like me, and millions not like me, have paid a harsh price for it. I make it a point to wear my stars of David conspicuously (I have 14 of them on the chain around my neck). I think it is important to do so because I want it understood that I know what a terrible price was paid for my right to do just that. Our religious freedoms have taken a heavy toll on us.

However, and this is a BIG however, there was supposed to be a separation of church and state. The only part of religion that should have any play in this election process is the Freedom OF. That means: we do not HAVE to practice ANY religion and if you do practice a religion, that is your right to do so. As long as the practice of that religion does not impinge on the rights of others, we are free to practice away.

It is not unlawful to be a Jew, but that freedom is not mentioned. It is not unlawful to be a Native American and practice your ancestor’s customs, but that freedom is not mentioned. It is not unlawful to be a Muslim, or an atheist, or an agnostic, or a Buddhist, but those freedoms are not mentioned today. Only the freedom to be a Christian, and most specifically, an evangelical.

In addition to being a Jew, I am also a woman of age. I have no idea how many more elections I will be around to see. But with all the talk of our Constitution, the rights afforded to us by it, and who will be our next new Justice on the Supreme Court, I shudder to think that once again the specter of religious zealotry has raised its head and many of us will have to pay dearly for it. Before we come to the day of reckoning (voting), I hope each and every one of our citizens will come to realize that this country has grown because of its many freedoms.

We need to open the doors of free thinking, true religious freedom, true political freedom, and let our people be free to seek out Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, wherever they may find it. Within the LGBT community (and their right to marriage, the same right the rest of us have), among women who wish to use birth control or stop a pregnancy, among people who want to own their guns (can we keep it down to a certain number … why does an individual need a whole arsenal?). As long as nobody’s rights are being violated, can’t we just agree to stop attacking one another and let it be (sorry John Lennon, but you said it so well, it’s hard to NOT quote you)? Just Let It Be.

Jan Richman Schulman

Senior snookers

The pilot program for Ventura Senior Billiards was extended for another six-month period (until July), thanks to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Partnerships Departments partnership with Stiix Billiards, 2520 E. Main St.

Two regulation Brunswick Gold Crown tables are reserved for Ventura senior billiard players from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. Free play for one hour (or more if the tables are not in use). A signup sheet is provided at Stiix Billiards.

Thank you Denise Sindelar and Jerry Matchin for this continued opportunity for the senior players.

Tom Buchan
(a senior billiards player)