Letters to the Editor

Readers write about why the world is safer without nuclear weapons, how the government cannot legislate whom churches marry, why America must change the way it invests, and why tickets for men's basketball games cost more than tickets for women's.

A nuke-free world is a safer world

In regard to the April 9 Opinion piece, "Obama's bid for nuke-free world: Bad idea": Author Richard Harknett's commentary on President Obama's proposal to begin work toward a world free of nuclear weapons bypasses the facts to get to his conclusion.

Mr. Harknett ignores what Australian Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Butler calls the "axiom of proliferation," which is that as long as any nation holds nuclear weapons, others will seek to acquire them. India, for example, which once campaigned for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, joined the ranks of the nuclear weapon powers after failing to see any movement toward nuclear disarmament as required of the signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). And it is no coincidence that India's acquisition of nuclear capabilities accelerated neighboring Pakistan's successful nuclear initiative.

Now, of course, it's neighbor Iran's turn to follow this classic proliferation pattern. And who will it be after Iran, if it succeeds?

If, as Harknett states, proliferation can be contained and managed while preserving the nuclear capabilities of the few, then why hasn't that strategy already worked? Why are there now nine nuclear powers, rather than the five that existed when the NPT was first signed?

There is only one way to stop the threat of nuclear proliferation and its accompanying dangers. It is the same conclusion the world came to concerning both biological and chemical weapons: a careful, verifiable global ban on both the possession and use of nuclear weapons.

Nathan Pyles
Lake Mills, Wis.

Churches can't be told by government whom to marry

Regarding the April 6 article, "Gay marriage ruling has Iowans weighing their values": This article states that, "Pastor John Beller...worries that state legislation might one day force him to perform marriages that would otherwise be against the tenets of his church."

With all due respect, Pastor Beller's fears are unfounded.

No church in America has ever been told by the government that it must perform any marriage ceremony. For example, last I checked, the Roman Catholic Church is still free not to marry divorced persons.

Of course, a little fear-mongering never got in the way of some "Christians" to bear false witness against God's gay and lesbian children.

George Olds
Hamilton, Ontario

Change the way America invests

In regard to the April 9 Opinion piece, "Obama vs. the culture of greed": There is a glaring oversight we all seem to make when regarding Wall Street – that short term investment schemes, derivatives, hedge funds, and other get-rich-quick schemes do nothing to contribute to the economy of this nation.

There is more than a little something wrong with this. These "investors" are far worse than anyone receiving a government entitlement. Where do you think the money they make comes from? Most of it is from the ether – the source of all "bubbles." But much of it, especially commodity derivatives, comes from you and me. That's right, you and I pay higher gas costs, higher food costs, higher everything because of derivatives, which drive up the price commodities are traded at.

And yet many of us still look down our nose at people on welfare, whose receipt of benefits does not make things more expensive for the rest of us. Have you ever heard of welfare recipients causing economic downturns?

Why don't we start discouraging these practices by eliminating hedges and bubble-producing short-term stock trading, as well as disallowing nonparticipants from playing around with commodity derivatives? Instead, we should encourage actual investment by restoring capital gains taxes.

And we most definitely need to outlaw the practice of speculation on credit – the main reason for the current economic crisis.

There was a day when buying stocks meant investing in companies and when the value of stocks were determined by their dividends. That was when America truly prospered. I say we go back to those good times and put Wall Street out on the street where they put many of us.

Michael Wolf
Colfax, Wash.

Why do tickets for men's basketball games cost more than women's?

In regard to the April 3 Opinion piece, "The price gap between men's and women's basketball tickets is madness": Maybe it's men's basketball that is overpriced, rather than women's basketball being overpriced.

It's absolutely astounding how much people will pay to attend a game. Can the college kids afford it? Certainly not in my day. (Even now, at 60 years of age, I wouldn't spring that much to watch a game). I'm glad I got in to the games free when I was a student.

Randal Seech
San Clemente, Calif.

The disparity in ticket prices could simply reflect a difference in demand for the product. So, let's do a simple test: For one season, increase prices for women's basketball games to the same level as men's basketball and see what happens to attendance.

David Holmes
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must include your full name; your city, state, and country; and your telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear on our website, www.CSMonitor.com. E-mail letters to oped@csps.com. Or mail letters to Readers Write, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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