December 18, 2012

George F. Will [“The anti-union backlash,” op-ed, Dec. 16] strained credulity by using a quotation from Thomas Jefferson that had nothing to do with the subject at hand.

When Jefferson wrote, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical,” he was denouncing the various ecclesiastical establishments that dominated religious life in most of the colonies and the push to establish Christianity as the official religion of the new nation. Such domination of officially entrenched churches in the colonies included provisions so draconian as to be comparable to the worst excesses of Islamic sharia law. Thus Jefferson’s choice of the words “sinful and tyrannical.”

In the preceding paragraph of his column, Mr. Will berated those who oppose what is euphemistically called “school choice,” words that more often than not refer to the unceasing effort of some churches to extract taxes from the public at large for the support of sectarian schools. This is precisely the kind of raid on the public till that Jefferson considered “sinful and tyrannical.” Most assuredly these words had nothing to do with the subject of Mr. Will’s column, modern labor laws.

Stan Hastey, Alexandria

I didn’t agree with much of George F. Will’s gleeful condemnation of unions, but I heartily agreed with his closing quote of Jefferson: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

How soon will contributions to political “educational” organizations such as the Heritage Foundation (whose outgoing president was paid more than $1 million a year) cease to be tax-deductible and their tax break go toward payment of things such as the federal debt? I disbelieve and abhor most of their “educational” political opinions.

Harold Childers, Lexington Park