Letters to the editor

Staff Writer
The Kansan

Kobach needs fact checking

Kris Kobach visited town to talk to the Rotary Club (Kansan, June 16). I wish I had been there in person. I'm relying on the reporting by Chad Frey. If his reporting is accurate, Kobach is in severe need of fact-checking. That's not surprising, as he promoted one of the biggest scams in election history, latching onto Trump's idea that 3 million people voted illegally in 2016. Of course, when he looked, Kobach couldn't find any of them.

He claims in his 15 years of teaching at UMKC, "many students arrived in his law school classroom without having taken a civics course." That's false on its face. Every state in the U.S. requires high school graduates to take U.S. government. I checked.

He talked about "when the founders drafted the First Amendment, they weren't prohibiting the government from mentioning faith or religion in the public square, as is commonly understood today." He should know there's a difference between mentioning, speaking freely, and forcing people to listen to religious exercises.

"Kobach listed a variety of cases since the 1950s in which the court prohibited prayer in public schools, Bible reading in public schools, prohibited the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools ... "

I have come to the point that whenever I see this lie, promoted by certain televangelists and some politicians, I will fight against this with all my might. The real fact is, the Supreme Court case of Engel v. Vitale in 1962 ruled that schools, being an arm of the government, cannot force students to pray or do religious exercises. But ... students can voluntarily pray in public schools anytime they want when not disrupting school. You can voluntarily read the Bible in public schools, and use it in class if it is done in the context of history or literature, but not indoctrination.

Now readers, you are going to have to ask yourselves which situation is most likely: a) that a lawyer, law school professor, doesn't know all this, and a retired teacher from a little 'ol school in central Kansas DOES; or, b) Kobach does know all this, and is lying to you. You decide. Before the August 4 primary.

— Brian D. Stucky, Goessel

Kansas Black history museum in jail

The Kansas African-American History Museum (TKAMM) is a beautifully curated museum with a dedicated staff and board. Ironically, it’s physically surrounded by the Sedgwick County Jail. The museum, a historic landmark, the former Calgary Baptist Church in what was the original black neighborhood of Wichita. Today, sadly, this historic black neighborhood is still populated by mainly African American men who live in the jail. The church was declared a historic landmark by the City of Wichita decades ago, I served on the committee.

The irony of a historic black church surrounded by a jail and now TKAMM in a neighborhood populated by African American men in jail, is stunning mentally and visually. People of the State of Kansas, Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita and especially the African American community deserve better. White leadership who have perpetuated this extreme example of institutional racism over time must lead the way to build a new museum.

Today, black lives matter and black history matters and local and state leaders among the majority population of Kansas need to honor the legacies of African American Kansans. We must build a proper museum from which we can all learn and grow. If black lives matter.

— David H. Wilkinson, Lawrence