EDITORIAL LETTERS

On-Line Churches Can't Replace Real Thing

I read with interest the article ''Churches Extend Outreach to World Wide Web,'' Oct. 24. When cities were obliterated by war, returning soldiers went to their churches to find physical and spiritual help in their time of need. If church buildings disappear because of lack of care, where will people go for help? Will the Internet be operative during a man-made or natural disaster? Will it supply needed food and shelter at such a time?

I agree with the last paragraph, which states: ''Church is the community celebrating together.'' We need to support local churches and not become isolated by the electronic media.

Walter L. Stockman Douglass, Kan.

Clinton's message about family

In the opinion-page article ''Clinton: We Will Win the Day,'' Oct. 20, I appreciated the things that President Clinton had to say about family. The absence of fathers in the home may really be the ''single biggest problem in our society.'' However, I think the absence of mothers in the home is also something to be concerned about. I hope people will continue to recognize the importance of family in our society. Through this realization, the world will become a better place to live.

Julie Luke Sugar City, Idaho

Turkey's human rights abuses

If the European Parliament accepts Turkey's gesture of political liberalization (''Turkey Whips Up a Batch of Reforms Before EU Vote,'' Oct. 30), it will be a victory of public relations and money over public policy and morals.

Ankara's emendation of the ''notorious eighth article of the Antiterrorism Law'' and the release of 2 out of 6 Kurdish parliamentarians is a pathetic attempt to cleanse the wounds of continuing human rights abuses. The six Kurdish legislators whose fates were settled in a five-minute show trial on Oct. 26 were guilty of nothing other than verbally expressing their outrage at a political system that sanctions hatred, abuse, and murder.

Reacting to the courts decision to uphold her 15-year sentence, Leyla Zana (a well-known politician and human rights activist) displayed the calm realism only acquired through long years of oppression: ''I am still alive ... if the Turkish generals think that by having judges who are at their service sentence us, they can scare us and reduce us to silence, they are wrong.''

Where Turkish brutality has failed, American and European political and economic interests may succeed. A ''yes'' vote on Turkey's admittance validates Turkish policy, mocks the Kurds' struggle for empowerment, and may reinforce the belief that, in Turkey, political struggles must be fought with more than words.

Kathryn Cameron Porter Fairfax, Va.

President

Human Rights Alliance

Farmers work hard for low pay

It greatly disappoints me to read editorials such as ''Farm Reform, at Last?'' Oct. 17. The writer makes it sound as if farmers have committed a crime.

It is because of United States farm programs that consumers have this great abundance of goods available, since farm prices, though higher today than they once were, still do not provide adequate income for farmers to continue to produce, much less provide conservation measures for land.

And in spite of government farm payments being cut substantially in recent years, there are congressmen such as House Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts who would cut farm payments even more with his ''Freedom to Farm'' bill. Since wheat and corn loan rates would be drastically reduced and production (planting) controls eliminated, the so-called ''Freedom to Farm'' bill should be described as ''Freedom for Farm Prices to Fluctuate the Max'' act.

Doug Wildin Hutchinson, Kan.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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