Jim Ayers, Gov. Knowles' chief of staff, says in an Empire interview that "Alaska has lost its soul." The cause he believes is money; then curiously throws in church opposition to same-sex marriage and failure of the Legislature to approve a constitutional amendment regarding subsistence as signs of this problem. It appears as if Mr. Ayers' statement is an exercise in self-serving partisan politics rather than a thoughtful assessment of the condition of our society.
Indeed, Alaska's culture may have lost its soul. But my view of what comprises proof of this differs greatly from that of Mr. Ayers. I believe there are much better examples of our culture losing its soul. Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence to show the Knowles administration is part of the problem.
What should we think of a society that permits the destruction of its most defenseless members? The Knowles administration has been an ardent defender of abortion - even to opposing a ban on virtual infanticide where a baby is forcibly delivered and then killed moments before the complete delivery from the birth canal. We have hundreds of babies aborted in Alaska each year and we have the governor's right-hand man concerned about Alaska losing its soul over permanent fund dividend money and subsistence. There seems to be no perspective of the relative importance of issues. That, my friends, is a good indication of a society that has lost its soul.
Also, the Knowles administration objected to requiring parental knowledge and consent for a minor child's abortion. According to Gov. Knowles, a 15-year-old girl should be able to get an abortion without her parents knowing. This is an attack on the family and a direct denial of parental rights and responsibilities - surely a sign of a sick society.
Then there is the same-sex marriage issue. The Knowles administration attempted to defeat efforts to define marriage as a special union between one man and one woman - finding it acceptable to institutionalize sodomy in state law. Mr. Ayers criticizes the Catholic and Mormon churches for opposing homosexual marriage. Instead, he thinks the churches should be running ads about how it is time for Alaska to find its soul again. Same-sex marriage is a way for a culture to lose its soul, not find it.
The irony of the whole business is that the governor's chief of staff should be expressing concern about Alaska losing its soul when the administration he works for is contributing to it.
Sidney D. Heidersdorf