I take issue with two letters to the editor that appeared in the Nov. 22 Roundup Mr. Roberson’s and Ms. Von Somogyi’s.
Mr. Roberson’s letter was a slightly trimmed version of his preachy defense of the mayor’s behavior at an earlier Town Council meeting. While I applaud Mr. Roberson’s counseling of the mayor in his Tuesday “accountability prayer group” meetings, I would simply point out that, as mayor, Mr. Murphy is accountable to Payson’s voters. The issues surrounding Mayor Murphy, as our highest elected official, have to do with the fact that some of his actions reflect quite badly on our town. While I and others are quite willing to leave Mr. Murphy’s spiritual life to the church or temple of his choice, Payson (like the nation) is governed as a democracy, not a theocracy. Indeed many people fought and died, and continue to fight and die, for this principle.
Similarly, Ms. Von Somogyi would have us curb another cornerstone of this nation’s democracy reedom of the press. Roundup publisher Richard Haddad was taken to task by her for questioning Mr. Murphy’s suitability to serve as mayor, given his recent embarrassing appearances in police and media reports and a past history reflecting an apparent tendency to abuse power. I found Mr. Haddad’s careful editorial comments very appropriate, even restrained. But, Ms. Von Somogyi would evidently have these opinions muzzled, pending court convictions or word from her God.
Until recently, I thought that this nation stood for the separation of church and state and that Jesus supported that notion, saying (Matthew 22.21, King James Version), “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s ...” But from these two writers, we are hearing a New Gospel that, in my view, deserves critical evaluation.
Don Crowley, Payson