The front-page article "Britons Debate Monarchs' Role in Church and State," Jan. 27, emphasizes the trivial position of the monarch in modern British government. Despite the apparent insignificance, the crown contributes to Britain a unifying element that stabilizes the nation.
The queen acts as a living symbol of Britain and the Commonwealth. Similar to a nation's flag or national anthem, the queen evokes patriotism and unity throughout her popularity. Because of her experience, she can also become a resource concerning past legislative and executive decisions for the prime minister. Some reform may be necessary since Prince Charles has proven himself unfit for this royal position; yet the role of the crown itself remains vital.
A further upsetting of constitutional conventions might lead to a complete bottoming-out of current British government. "God save the queen" and let the pomp and circumstance of unity and stability continue. Brad Mortensen, Rexburg, Idaho Gays in the military
Regarding the front-page article "Clinton Faces Early Showdown on Ban on Gays," Jan. 27: I am appalled by the arguments brought forward by some Pentagon officials and people in Congress to keep gays out of the military.
In my view, those who are afraid that opening the military to homosexuals would undermine the morale and the ability to fight ignore a few facts: There is more to gays and lesbians than their sexual orientation; heterosexual men in the military would not be exposed to sexual harassment more than women in the service are exposed to harassment; most of the 1,500 men and women expelled from the military last year because of their homosexuality did not harass other members of the service - though, at the sam e time, many cases of sexual harassment toward women in the military remain undetected and therefore unpunished. Thomas Kolb, Aalen, Germany