Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the pros and cons of better fuel economy, security concerns over illegal immigration, e-mails that go public, and religion vs. atheism.

Improving fuel economy: Is it worth the cost?

In response to the article, "Fuel economy back on US agenda," from May 10: The article states that improving fuel efficiency will cost more money.

It's time to debunk that claim.

There are safe, reliable, and comfortable cars on the road today that meet or nearly meet the proposed goal of 35 miles per gallon (m.p.g.).

What are we waiting for? Why not give the automobile companies five years, rather than 13, to meet a minimum standard of 35 m.p.g.?

What would be the downside of such a standard? No more luxury cars like Ferraris, Rolls Royces, and Porsches?

These fine automobile companies can apply their extensive engineering talents to create cars that make sense in a world threatened by global warming, air pollution, and limited oil supplies.

It's true that we may not have cars that can go 150 m.p.h. or from 0 to 60 in five seconds.

But will we be taking steps to save the planet? Are any of us willing to risk the future for a ride in a two-ton SUV?

We can some take serious and maybe somewhat painful steps today toward the goal of a sustainable economy and a habitable Earth.

Or we can take tiny, timid steps that may put our children's and grandchildren's future in jeopardy.

Roger Bower
St. Louis

In response to the May 10 article on Congress's actions on standards for automotive fuel economy: The article does not mention one of the more common ways automakers increase the gas mileage of their vehicles: making them lighter in weight.

But lighter vehicles often mean more traffic deaths. How many of us are prepared to increase our risk of death in order to prevent a small rise in temperature?

To satisfy the true global-warming believers, a carbon tax would be more effective and far less lethal. I'd prefer to pay the tax than to pay with my life.

Chris Crawford
Cincinnati

Amnesty for illegals will hurt security

Regarding the article, "Senate nears immigration overhaul," from May 10: The immigration system in our country is not "broken" as politicians would like us to believe.

Existing laws are simply not enforced.

Any Senate bill that rewards illegal behavior with a path to US citizenship constitutes an amnesty.

Amnesty would include mainly lawbreakers from Latin America, but also from the rest of the world.

This means that radicals – such as the alleged Islamic extremists in New Jersey charged with conspiring to kill our soldiers at Fort Dix – would be also be eligible for legal status in the US.

It is terrible that Washington politicians plan a "path to citizenship" for illegal aliens, when they don't even know who is in our nation, and when our border remains insufficiently protected.

Bob Allan
Rochester Hills, Mich.

A public test for your private e-mails

In response to Daniel Schorr's Opinion column from May 11, "The problem with e-mails: hard to delete": I have very little sympathy for any of these folks.

When I worked in the government, it was in the early days of e-mail, and I was just a lowly cog. But even I recognized that you should never put anything in an e-mail – in terms of content, word choice, or tone of voice – that you wouldn't want to read in a national newspaper (I used to say The Washington Post) or see on "60 Minutes."

Everyone should have figured this out during the Iran-contra affair.

If people have anything that sensitive that doesn't pass the Washington Post test, they should write it down on a piece of paper as a short staff memo that can later be shredded.

Of course, if what they're writing is that sensitive, then maybe what they're doing is wrong.

Karen Selva
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Religion and atheism: Not at war

In response to the article from May 10, "Christians and atheists start a calmer dialogue": I appreciate this article. Many of us unbelievers are constantly hearing televangelists and other radical voices in the Christian community railing against the "war" that atheists are supposedly waging against Christianity and religion in general.

This so-called war is news to me, and probably is to other agnostics and atheists as well.

I have received no call to arms, nor do I even communicate regularly with others who believe only in life before death.

All I have ever asked is not to have what I regard as the irrational beliefs of others imposed on me in our public schools, our courts, our government agencies, and the many other legacies of 18th-century European Enlightenment that have guided America to greatness since its founding.

We may continue to choose to live in a true democracy or we may choose instead to live in a theocracy, but we may not choose both.

Talking more quietly about the attendant issues may help both sides to appreciate why.

Neil R. Hughes
Athens, Ga.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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 Op-Ed.

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