Lavishing love on pets can benefit individuals and society
Regarding Gary Bauer's May 31 Opinion piece, "Do Americans love pets too much?": To imply that pet owners love animals more than children is ridiculous.
Greater societal awareness of the need for humane care of animals and children should be celebrated as a sign of the ability of humans to show love and compassion to all creatures.
The fact that some people have pets and not children does not necessarily mean they love pets more. It could just as easily indicate that people are aware that the planet can't support the same rate of population growth as it could in decades past. Or that the need for financial security forces some into delaying parenthood until it becomes a physical impossibility. Or that some people do not have the patience or desire for children.
While it is possible that some pet owners spend too much money on their pets, the same can be said of some people's spending on their children.
I consider it a moral imperative to care for and spay or neuter my formerly homeless pets who were rescued from shelters. Shelters and rescue groups make it much easier for people to care for and protect homeless animals than society makes it for childless people to do the same for children in need.
I think Gary Bauer misses the point in his Opinion piece about Americans and their pets.
The question is not whether humans are morally superior to animals but whether the human capacity for moral awareness – which, as Mr. Bauer points out, can lead to acts of great compassion and forgiveness – should only include other members of our own species in its scope.
Why is some people's forgiveness of the Virginia Tech gunman, which Mr. Bauer extols, a praiseworthy thing, while the forgiveness of an accidental killing by a dog is bizarre?
I, too, believe that humans are made in the image of God, but I believe that God's goodness also shines forth from nonhuman creatures. And it's not either/or: Love and compassion can be freely and generously offered to both animals and humans.
I read with great interest Gary Bauer's Opinion piece about whether Americans love their pets too much.
While Mr. Bauer's piece is based on facts and figures gleaned from published resources, I must kindly point out that he failed to include any conversations with individuals as to why they have pets and no children. My husband and I of 23 years could not have children. It was agonizing, and adoption is in no way an easy or expedient process.
Our pets have provided great comfort. Aside from the fact that they fill a wonderful niche of love in our home, they allow us to exercise the fathering and mothering qualities of care, intuition, and responsibility. Practicing unconditional love by caring for pets has great benefits. And those fathering and mothering qualities actually spill over into other parts of our lives and bless those around us.
Marcella C. Lehr
Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
The boon of diversity in high school
I enjoyed Jim Sollisch's May 30 Opinion piece, "At graduation, reflections on race."
As I think back on my years at Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio, which culminated in graduation 70 years ago this spring, I have many things to be grateful for – music, academics, and most of all, getting to know Jewish people as individuals.
The great divide at that time was religion, not race.
There were less than a half dozen black students at any one time during my years at Heights High. But about half the student body there was Jewish.
As a Christian with almost no previous contact with Jews, the experience was truly life-changing. I learned that Jewish people had all varieties of interests and experiences.
Christians and Jews made friends according to interests.
Music was my main interest outside academics, and in the symphony orchestra, we valued ability above everything else. That led us to two first division placings in national competitions.
Getting to know individuals of different groups makes all the difference.
Ruth A. Densmore
Kennett Square, Pa.
Allow Arabic schools, but monitor their teachings
Regarding the June 1 article, "Arabic school in N.Y.C. creates stir": This subject is not an all-or-none issue. Both supporters and critics have very legitimate concerns.
In my view as an American Muslim of Arab descent, there are very simple litmus tests we must enforce. The curriculum of an Arabic school must be completely void of any hatred and intolerance especially against Jews and Christians, irrespective of any political and/or military conflicts between Arabs and the "West."
Teaching Arabic history is fine but only if it is accurate and balanced as opposed to being biased or based on propaganda.
We must increase the number of Americans capable of speaking Arabic, but we do not need anyone with misleading and misguided agendas that promote hatred and religious bigotry.
Let's allow the school in New York to prove its value, and let's monitor its curriculum and scrutinize its teachers, instead of rejecting the school outright.
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