Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the use of charities, Palestinians and the Paris conference, Muslims in the media.

Charity is for more than the poor. It can be for society.

In response to Daniel Grant's Dec. 20 Opinion piece, "Rethink tax breaks for charitable giving": I think Mr. Grant errs in his assumption that helping the poor is the only facet of charitable contributions. Gifts for medical research, education, religion, cultural institutions, and even The Christian Science Monitor rarely directly benefit the poor, but do benefit our society. For example, our art museum in Cleveland has no admission fee because it is supported by charitable contributions which have created an endowment so rich or poor can visit and benefit by the exhibits. Similarly, a contribution to a college does not directly benefit the poor, but does benefit us all by allowing more exposure to advanced education.

As to deductibility of contributions, I think consideration is due to those of us in the middle or lower classes. The rich have more money than they need, and can give out of charitable impulse without regard to the tax code, although there is a lot of publicity about their gifts, and institutions pursue them because of the size of the gifts they can make.

The rest of us, I think, will always make nominal contributions that we can afford. However, there is a point where most of us have to decide whether to make additional contributions that will necessitate us doing without something.

I think that as long as Congress continues to use the tax code to encourage certain activities (buying a home rather than renting, investing in energy saving equipment, etc.), the deduction for charitable contributions should be one of those encouraged activities.

William Brown
Lakewood, Ohio

Enough is enough for Palestinians

Regarding the Dec. 19 article, "Global donors exceed Palestinian expectations at Paris conference": The international community will soon realize that their latest decision to financially support the PLO power clique at the expense of Hamas is the worst decision they could have possibly taken.

Creating two separate states for one Arab population living in the territorial boundaries of former Palestine always was an artificial invention that had no basis in history, geography, or demography. It was a fiction contrived by the international community at a particular time to solve a particular problem.

There are two questions that remain unanswered.

When will the international community stop pursuing this fiction? And when will they turn off the money tap trying to make it happen?

Solutions, other than another Arab state, are possible and achievable.

Pursuing those solutions have a far better chance of success than the continued promotion of a 70-year-old concept.

Surely the time is fast approaching for these donors to cut their losses and simply say enough is enough.

David Singer
Sydney, Australia

Positive media needed for Muslims

Regarding the Nov. 20 article, "Why L.A. police nixed plan to map Muslims": As a Muslim American (born and raised an American and a Muslim for seven years), I have often felt marginalized in the news.

It seems there are plenty of news sources and polls with negative views and information regarding Muslims. All things considered, the Monitor has remained kind and unbiased toward Islam; even liberal and free radio have not been so encouraging.

Erica Charves
Portland, Ore.

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 may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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