War, Religion, and the Media

The editorial "The False Faith of Zealots," March 19, hints at the problem of religion-bashing in the media when it says, "Wars too often are misprefaced by the word `holy.' " "Religious" also too often precedes "fanatic," but "unholy" never does. The extreme fringes of the political right are discredited as religious, but how often are extreme left positions described as atheistic, amoral, or at least nonreligious? Too often faith is linked to "blind" and "cult."

Even when religion is brutalized, like incidents of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or the murder of Roman Catholic nuns in South America, they are decried as crimes against humanity, with nary a mention of faith or religion. Yet the public mind is titillated with the sexual backsliding of televangelists and Catholic priests, as if these wayward souls were the exemplars of true religion. Why present lust, rage, and greed as examples of religion except to discredit it? Edward Spencer, San Mateo, Calif. Rodney King tragedy

Regarding Jeff Danziger's editorial cartoon, March 18: I fail to see the humor in Mr. Danziger's portrayal of a black man striking himself in the head with a police baton while white police officers assume foolish poses. There is nothing funny about the tragedy that occurred in Los Angeles with the arrest of Rodney King.

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The incident resulted in the death of more than 50 people. Millions of dollars in property were lost. Also lost were businesses, jobs, self-esteem, and respect for law and order. Gained was a greater sense of fear and distrust in the community. I don't believe the California Criminal Justice System is a joke and those working within that system buffoons. Richard T. Smith, Bakersfield, Calif. From one generation to the next

Regarding the editorial "Don't Ask Retirees to Fund Deficit," March 12: I am part of the generation that ran up a huge debt. It is my generation's obligation, not my children's and grandchildren's. It would be a severe blow to the next generation to pass that debt on, along with the pollution, depletion of resources, environmental degradation, and overpopulation that they will inherit. I've had a good life. I owe my children the same. Richard Hoffman, Murray, Ky.

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