Readers comments 6.20.12
Last Saturday’s celebration at El Barrio Park was a grand event. Yet, there was a residual undercurrent of anger.
Councilmember Sam Pedroza, in his comments to those gathered at the park, complained, again, about those who had questioned the appropriateness of using city funds to support a formal Catholic mass at the event. He felt they were trying to be too “politically correct” in raising the constitutional principle captured by the phrase “the separation of church and state.”
That American constitutional principle had its origins in the early years of our country’s history. It does not deny the importance of the Catholic Church in providing great support and comfort for members of the Hispanic community in Claremont at a time when that community was the target of prejudice and segregation.
Ironically, his complaint seemed to challenge a central theme of the celebration: that the Hispanic population of Claremont was, and is, as American as anyone else. That theme was embodied in the presentation of colors, the singing of the national anthem and the emphasis on the involvement of local Mexican-Americans in the national sport, i.e., baseball.
When council members take an oath to uphold the Constitution, surely that does not mean parts of it can be ignored by simply attributing adherence to being too “politically correct.”
Dean McHenry, Jr.