Columnists > Mailbag


Issue: "Bible translation blues," Nov. 21, 1998

Educate first

Lynn Vincent's well-done article on whether we will ever have a pro-life governor in California brings up a series of interesting philosophical questions ("Will a pro-lifer ever reign in California?" Oct. 24). It is true that here in California there are large numbers of voters who use abortion as a litmus test. Unfortunately, for too many of them the litmus test is that they will vote only for someone who is pro-choice. Matt Fong, our candidate for U.S. senator, has taken a more moderate position on abortion, saying that abortion should remain legal during the first trimester. While some may say that's a compromise of his pro-life position, others may say it's a realization of the role of law in a democracy. In a democracy law follows public opinion more than it molds it. That molding takes a long time and often comes in stages. Many right-to-life groups have been extremely diligent and effective. That's why we are close to eliminating late-term abortions. I think if we continue in our education effort, we will make more progress. Laws will follow as a natural consequence as the public is educated. - Larry Wiener, Alhambra, Calif.

He earned it

One comment about your article on Dan Lungren: You described his father as a "Purple Heart winner." As a military officer, I think a more appropriate description is "Purple Heart recipient." The term winner implies a contest, but a medal is recognition of excellence or, in the case of the Purple Heart, suffering wounds in combat. - Michele Reboulet, O'Fallon, Ill.

Hate crimes in Kentucky?

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The horrific death of Matthew Shepard is the pretext that is being used by Christian bashers to indulge in their favorite sport. Now the far left wants to pass national "hate crime" legislation. I have several questions regarding this knee-jerk reaction to Shepard's murder. Do the existing laws against murder specifically exclude the murder of homosexuals; do they read: Murder is illegal unless a homosexual is the victim? If the murder of homosexuals is already covered by existing laws prohibiting murder, are homosexuals better or superior to heterosexuals? Is that why the radical left is pushing for "hate crime" laws? Will the proposed hate crime legislation include the murder of Christians? Why was there no demand for hate crime laws when the students who were praying in Paducah, Ky., were murdered? There has been hysteria about the ads aimed at homosexuals who are unhappy with their lifestyle. Do homosexual people who choose to leave the lifestyle lose their free speech rights because becoming "straight" is not politically correct? Does the radical left accept responsibility for the hate crimes committed against Christians worldwide, particularly since Christians are continuously vilified in all forms of the media? - Bernadette Reilly, Ft. Myers Beach, Fla.

So-called Christians

Your article "Who's bashing whom?" (Oct. 24) was obviously written before the funeral of Matthew Shepard, where the sport of "bashing" sank to new levels as so-called Christians turned out and protested. Raised a conservative Baptist, I would expect such abhorrent behavior from the evil liberals, not those close to God. - J.T. Foster, Coventry, Conn.

Hate disparity

I see an interesting disparity between the media's reports of the recent murder of a gay student in Wyoming and the burning of property at the Vail, Colo., ski resort. The alleged murderers in the student's case don't have any connection to groups such as Focus on the Family or the Family Research Council, yet these groups have come under fire for encouraging and fostering such atrocities against homosexuals. Some news reports have implicated those actually charged with the crime and Christian organizations in the same breath, as if their beliefs and goals are in any way similar. This is all despite the fact that these groups have vigorously stated that they in no way tolerate murder or hatred of anyone, no matter what their lifestyle might be. On the other hand, an extreme environmental group has recently claimed responsibility for burning several buildings and causing $12 million in damages to the Vail ski resort, in the name of saving the habitat of the lynx. If we applied the same logic to this group as some in the media have applied to the Matthew Shepard case, then members of the Sierra Club or the Audubon Society are practically guilty of arson. Perhaps it also hails the creation of a new category of hate crimes, those against snobby rich skiers! Of course, this is a ridiculous idea-the idea that the media apply the same standards to those on the left as they do on the right. If this were the case, then credible environmentalists would speak out against damaging property but would be widely labeled as pyromaniacs and condoners of arson. - Danny Whiteman, Columbia, Mo.


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