Spur of the moment

EDITOR: As a veteran who served reluctantly, but honorably, in the Vietnam era, I was bothered by reports that Donald Trump as a young man repeatedly evaded compulsory military service on a medical technicality. Although heel spurs kept the president out of the draft, these days he seems to get around on a golf course amazingly well.

Trump has publicly attacked his own institutions of government, refused to impose much-needed Russian sanctions passed by Congress, branded members of the opposing party as “traitors,” for not applauding him, and stated that he’d like to see a government shutdown. After these revelations and many more, I have to ask readers what kind of man, in spite of his history of draft-dodging, orders the Pentagon to give a military parade in his honor? Character and words absolutely do matter!

Bernard McWilliams, Wilmington

Do your job

EDITOR: The state of North Carolina has paid $300,000 to a magistrate who, for religious reasons, would not perform civil marriages for gay couples. What a great use of our tax money! Imagine the amount of food that would have bought to feed hungry children in our state. And this was to appease someone who didn't like part of her job and whose religious beliefs were that gays are not entitled to equal rights.

I have worked in many jobs where I was forced to do things that I didn't believe were morally right. I had the option to quit (which I did), or continue to meet the requirements of the position. Had I chosen not to do the things I was told to, I would have been terminated, and with no severance pay, retirement benefits, or attorney fees. Unfortunately, in private industry, you cannot pick and choose what tasks you like to do, or which ones are in line with your views.

If gay marriage is legal and you are a magistrate, then you perform them. You are not entitled to a huge settlement for not doing your job. You don’t have the choice to decide who marries whom. And you should not have the choice to pick which jobs you want to do. Just do the tasks that meet your job description.

Religious freedom does not give you a right to choose which tasks of your job you will do.

Donna D'Angelo, Leland

Editor’s note: The payout was ordered by an administrative law judge for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Judge Michael Devine ruled that the state failed to accommodate Gayle Myrick’s religious beliefs as required under federal law. North Carolina law now allows magistrates to decline to perform same-sex marriages by citing religious beliefs, but they then must sit out all marriage duties for six months.

Stewing over oysters

EDITOR: A recent StarNews article reported on the oyster beds in the public waters of Masonboro Sound. A nearby resident’s complaints about the beds undermining property values are unfounded. I urge him to appreciate what he has and encourage more oyster beds.

Not only do they slow down boat traffic, oysters are our best defense against pollutants in our water. Both oysters and oyster reefs do a huge job in helping our ecosystem. They don’t just filter water, they shelter fish and crabs, and with filtered water comes more seagrass, which is a feeding and breeding ground for other species.

Finally, along with more seagrass comes more land. So if the irritated resident is smart, he will be out there seeding oysters in public waters to add to his private property.

To the officials who grant licenses to the fishermen, please continue to do so. Last time I checked, private property ended at the water and from that point it is public property. As a taxpayer, I would love to see more oyster reefs in the area to help combat the continued amount of pollutants in the water. To the fishermen, thank you for helping the area’s ecology.

Christy Jobe Carter, Southport