Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the separation of church and state, offering the exonerated jobs, the term 'ecoterrorism,' Mitt Romney, and the Six-Day War.
NO ONE'S RELIGION SHOULD SWAY THE '08 RACE
Regarding the June 6 article, "Can the religious left sway the '08 race?": The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was absolutely right when he said, "We already have too much religious rhetoric in what should be a secular-oriented campaign." And, for that matter, there is far too much influence peddling in Washington's political circles by Christian fundamentalists and others who seem as if they would just as soon mandate a one-religion nation, as did the extremists of Iran.
America's Founding Fathers made every effort to see that this was a nation that offered its citizens freedom of religion – freedom to choose whatever religion they wanted or none. Candidates should neither be asked questions about their religion nor should they respond if they are.
OFFER THE EXONERATED JOBS, NOT MONEY
Regarding the May 30 article, "What do states owe the exonerated?": If states have to pay crippling restitution to the wrongfully accused, they will fight harder not to admit mistakes. Add to this the consideration that even if the exonerated gets monetary compensation, he will only receive a portion of his very well-deserved reward.
So I hope someone considers non monetary restitution. The state can do a lot. It can exonerate the wrongfully imprisoned. It can give first consideration to them for public jobs. Possibly, it can provide free training at state colleges, trade academies, and the like to go with a job offer.
WHEN 'ECOTERRORISM' IS A FITTING TERM
The May 18 article, " 'Ecoterrorism' case stirs debate in US," quoted Oren Segal about a firebomb left "at the home of a UCLA primate researcher." According to the Seattle Times, the device was actually left (accidentally) at a neighbor's house. The Seattle Times article noted that the FBI said that if it had ignited, the device was powerful enough to have killed the occupants of the house where it was left. It said, too, that another UCLA primate researcher decided "to stop his primate research after several years of harassment and threats to his family."
These are just two of many examples of intimidation by extremist environmental groups. If threatening physical harm to the neighbors and family members of researchers is not terrorism, I don't know what is. While discussing whether crimes against property by "ecoterrorists" should be considered true terrorism, we should not lose sight of the fact that not all of these radicals are so careful in their activism. At least some animal rights and environmental radicals are, indeed, terrorists, and they should be treated as such.
V. Wensley Koch
US NEEDS ROMNEY'S LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Regarding the June 1 article, "Thompson in '08? His entry would shuffle GOP race": Fred Thompson is a good man with a conservative record. Beyond the fact that he's apparently a good Christian, however, I have to wonder what unique skills he brings to the table. He had a pretty average Senate career, it seems. I have to say that after reading Hugh Hewitt's book on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, I'm convinced that Mr. Romney is the right man for the job. Anyone rejecting him because of his Mormon faith is doing liberals' work for them. Romney brings a level of leadership this country desperately needs. All candidates talk big. None can match Romney's execution at turning chaos into order.
AN EYEWITNESS TO THE SIX-DAY WAR
Regarding the June 5 article, "Forty years later, two views from the West Bank's Road 60": On June 5, 1967, the day the Six-Day War began, I was living in Cairo, with my husband and two very young daughters. From where we lived I could see, on the opposite side of Cairo, the bombing of the military airport. The civilian airport was close to the military airport and was, therefore, closed – no incoming or outgoing flights. All telephone communications were suspended so I could not telephone family in England to let them know that the girls and I were safe.
At the end of the six days, English and US nationals were not looked upon too kindly as the powers that be felt that their problems were caused by Britain and the US. There were riots on the streets of Cairo protesting the involvement of Britain and the US.
The family felt it prudent that I not show my face in town, even to buy groceries. So I was taken out of town with our daughters to the family farm in Beni Suef, south of Cairo, where we stayed with my husband's grandparents until the family felt it was safe for the girls and me to return home to Cairo. Whether or not the family overreacted to a political situation did not matter; they wanted the girls and me to be safe.
While watching a public-television documentary recently about the buildup to those six days of war, I recognized many places where I had lived or visited. All were places where I felt safe. I was involved in, and watched in person, a historic time in the Middle East.
Janet L. Zimmer
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