Joel A. Harrison

READER'S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON THE MEANING OF CHRISTIANITY AND RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS - A REACTION TO THE MT. SOLEDAD CROSS CONTROVERSY

 

“…devote your time, energy, passion, and money to making sure that everyone has decent shelter, food, education, and medical care. That will be the true monument to Christianity.” – Joel A. Harrison

By Joel A. Harrison

January 8, 2014 (San Diego) -- In a 20-year saga that never ends, on December 12 U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled that the cross atop Mount Soledad was unconstitutional. Burns ordered the cross removed within 90 days; but then stayed that order until all appeals have been exhausted. And on December 19 an article in the San Diego U-TA reported an appeal is underway.

A similar controversy in East County several years ago was resolved when a cross atop Mt. Helix was transferred from public ownership to a private group of area homeowners. (Privatization is not an appropriate option for Soledad, since the site is a U.S. military memorial.) Instead of rehashing the Constitutional pros and cons, I would like to reflect a moment on my view of the meaning of Christianity—and the most appropriate monuments to faith and humanity.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SHOULD EMPLOYERS BE ABLE TO EXCLUDE BIRTH CONTROL FROM HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE?

 

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

December 11, 2013 (San Diego)--The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether for-profit companies can be forced to provide full contraceptive coverage for their employees despite religious objections from their owners. Many people believe that health insurance is something offered by employers, a sort of bonus.  In fact, it is part of what I have known as one’s “wage package.”


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READER'S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON KILLING PIT BULL TO SAVE PET

 

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

July 11, 2013 (San Diego) – Lee Patisson, a young Navy diver, bitten himself while trying to protect his dog, was recently forced to kill a pit bull that was attacking his pet dog.

According to a San Diego U-T story: “Pattison said he wants to make it clear that he did not shoot the dog without exhausting what he felt was every other means. He tried grabbing its collar and hitting it with his fists. The dog was undeterred. He ran inside and got his shotgun, and struck Bodi [the pit bull] with the butt of the gun five or six times. . . Pattison said Bodi was often tied up on his neighbor’s front doorstep, but the dog was known to break loose . . . He said it was the second time in about a month that the dog had attacked Bolt [Pattison’s dog]. Pattison does not face any charges. Wayne [the dog’s owner] has been cited for failure to keep the dog leashed and failure to protect the public.” (Man Who Killed Pit Bull Says He Is No Hero, July 4, 2013).


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READER'S EDITORIAL: FREEDOM VS. GUN CONTROL - AN ABSURD DICHOTOMY

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

January 2, 2013 (San Diego)--Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut the news and internet has been abuzz with some variant of “Freedom vs Gun Control,” as if no reasonable rational alternative exists beyond this absolute dichotomy. In the mix is always the 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The 2nd Amendment has been interpreted both as a right to individual self-defense and, by some, as a check on government, i.e. a right to use force to overthrow a “tyrannical” government.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: UNION-TRIBUNE CROSSES THE LINE

By Joel A. Harrision, PhD, MPH

October 25, 2012 (San Diego)--In June, during the Primaries, I was appalled to see on the front page of the U-T San Diego both op-eds supporting Carl DeMaio for mayor and a list of voting recommendations. Historically, American newspapers, at least over the past century, have kept separate their news and editorial departments as well as their respective pages.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND STATES RIGHTS

 
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

 
October 25, 2011 (San Diego)--The citizens of California voted to legalize medical marijuana, but the feds are now raiding our local shops. As a disclaimer, I have never used marijuana or any other recreational drug; but see its value in alleviating human suffering.
 
In a comprehensive review of the science the prestigious Institute of Medicine found that marijuana does alleviate several medical problems: “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base” (1999) and the following year published a version for the general public: “Marijuana As Medicine? The Science Beyond the Controversy (2000).” Subsequent research has only strengthened the IOM findings.  

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