Religion and government should not be adversaries

Your July 31 editorial "Faith-based or faith-biased?" raises the critical issues regarding the relationship between government and religion. However, I am concerned that the editorial supports the wrong side of the issue. It acknowledges that " ... a big part of the effectiveness of faith-based social organizations is their ability to offer clients ... a change in outlook and perhaps a spiritual boost." However, the editorial intimates that it may be necessary to separate the religious element from the social-service one in order to avoid conflict with the federal Constitution; and it warns about the danger of " ... weakening the constitutional bar against establishment of religion."

The real danger we face is the stark misinterpretation of the original intent of the writers of the Bill of Rights. This editorial implies that the Constitution mandates a state of hostility between government and religion - that government and religion cannot occupy the same space. However, the intent of the authors of the Bill of Rights was to avoid government sponsorship or support of a particular type of religion -not to eliminate or "ban" religion from the public forum.

John Katrakis Barrington, Ill.

Say no to a TV in the bedroom

Regarding your Aug. 1 article "And for every child, a TV in the bedroom": Parents, please, just say no! TVs in the bedroom do have an effect on children. We see it every day in our small K-5 elementary school, where I am the principal. We work carefully to address children's mistakes (discipline), absenteeism, and tardiness. We meet with parents, the teacher, nurse, counselor, and any other involved adult or agency when we see serious behavioral issues.

In almost all cases recently, after parents tell me: "We do not use that kind of language in our home ... I do not allow violent behavior in my family ... I cannot get her up in the morning ... He wakes up at night," we have been shocked to discover how many of these children have TVs in their bedrooms.

Children are watching (unsupervised) WWF, cable movies, MTV, and specific shows such as "South Park" and professional sports. Children as young as first and second grade have used the most foul language to both classmates and adults. They try dangerous head locks and flipping other children over, by the neck. And they often cannot tell me the meaning of the words they use. Get rid of those TVs and let them play.

Jo Sullivan Lynn, Mass.

I was shaking my head as I read the Aug. 1 article, "And for every child, a TV in the bedroom." What a disturbing commentary on some parents' permissiveness. What happened to the once-held belief that a child's bedroom is a sanctuary, a place to retreat to, for quiet, rest, private moments, and privacy? TVs can be an intrusion.

I'll never forget the droopy-eyed first grader I had in my classroom one year who often had to spend mornings with her head down on her desk. Her genuine desire to learn couldn't compete with her sleepiness from having watched TV the previous evening late into the night.

Betsy Sander Oconomowoc, Wis.

Captivating Tiger

It was disappointing to read Douglas Looney's column on July 25 about Tiger Woods ("Tiger is so good ... he's boring us to tears"). If Tiger Woods is so boring, then why are networks setting TV rating records almost every time Tiger plays? Why are PGA Tour events where Tiger plays setting attendance records? Yes, Tiger is lapping the field in many of the tournaments he enters, but the world is captivated by his performances.

Rick Lipsey New York

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Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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