Vouchers for addicts violate church-state divide

Regarding your Jan. 31 editorial "Vouchers for addicts": If The Christian Science Monitor will not take a stand for the separation of church and state - who will? The editorial made government vouchers for faith-based help groups sound expedient and practical. Well, they would be, but at what cost to our freedom?

This is a dangerous foot in the door which could and probably would lead to tax money going to any number of religious-based causes.

We should not be fooled by the plan mentioned. Just because the choice is left up to the addict does not, as implied, mean any less government money will go to religious organizations. Take a good look at the countries where government money supports religion. You may not like what you see!
Barbara Carlin
Windsor Locks, Conn.

Regarding your Jan. 31 article "Bush's drug plan: a violation of church-state divide?": It troubled me that the article did not probe more deeply into the constitutional arguments surrounding President Bush's drug-treatment voucher proposal. Constitutional law experts are willing to contend that, under the Supreme Court's current understanding of the First Amendment, a voucher program where addicts have a wide range of religious and secular treatment options easily passes constitutional muster.

Indeed, a federal district court judge in Wisconsin recently upheld a program conducted by FaithWorks Milwaukee as a legitimate treatment option for state parolees and probationers. In so doing, she followed the precedent set by the Supreme Court in its Ohio voucher decision this past summer.
Joseph Knippenberg
Professor of Politics
Oglethorpe University

Passing the buck on car pollution

Thank you for the interesting Jan. 27 Work & Money article, "The family muscle car," about the tug of war being played out between the automotive industry and sanity. It's clear that automakers have abdicated any and all responsibility for the pursuit of high profits on high-margin models. They use rebates and heavy lobbying to stonewall normalizing SUV regulations with passenger car regulations - meaning it's legal for SUVs to pollute more and get half the gas mileage.

President Clinton gave us a line with a full-electric auto-industry consortium that wasted millions of dollars.

Now President Bush funds some pie-in-the-sky hydrogen vehicle program. Who will wager that no $20,000 hydrogen car will be released at the end of this program?

Also, I didn't read the citing of any focus groups concluding that housewives and other nonrace drivers need 300 horse power engines.
Kamalesh Thakker
Beverly Hills, Calif.

Resource consumption vs. birthrates

In response to Jackie Leonard-Dimmick's letter in the Jan. 30 "Readers Write": Her remarks on birthrates reflect a common misconception about the correlation between the number of babies born and each baby's demand for earth's resources. As two new American babies grow in our US society, they consume approximately as much as 14 babies in some developing countries. Perhaps we could learn from populations that use less of the world's resources, and start using them more humanely.
Annie Higgins
Jenin, West Bank

Democracy at home and abroad

Rumor has it that President Bush schemes to impose democracy (with a Dubya) on Iraq. Might he not try it at home, first?
Sydney Bernard Smith
Dundalk, Ireland

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.

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 to oped@csps.com.

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