Vatican Has No Place in U.S. Politics
Rarely have I read anything which angered me as much as the article in The Sun July 18 concerning the Vatican's decision to once again meddle in American politics by urging Roman Catholic leaders to fight all legislation in the U.S. which could ban discrimination against homosexuals.
The Vatican justifies itself by stating, "The church has the responsibility to promote the public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values."
The church teaches that homosexuality is an "objective disorder," which leads to a "moral evil," although a homosexual orientation is not sinful itself. Alas, scholastic sophism is still alive and well within the Catholic Church.
This is a regrettable intrusion by the Vatican into the emotionally charged question of whether gays and lesbians should have legal protection from discrimination in housing and jobs.
Rome's position should not influence what Americans must decide for themselves in their own civil realm, a realm that was thankfully divorced from any established church by the framers of our Constitution.
The morality or immorality of homosexuality has no bearing on the question of extending legal protection to a group of people who are frequent victims of discrimination and violence just because they are different from the mainstream. This is a political and social issue, not a theological one.
However, the universal church does have a responsibility to reach out with compassion to the strangers and outcasts among us. This responsibility is at least as old as Levitical law.
For the church to single out any group as not worthy of either the church's or society's protection is to not only abrogate this ancient responsibility, but it recalls times past when some churches used the auto de fe and pogroms as a means of purifying their flocks and riddling those within the community who would otherwise pollute the faithful with harmful religions, social, scientific and political ideas.
As an American, I resent a foreign theocratic government urging its own agenda on domestic politics. As a Christian, I am dismayed by the continual intolerance and lack of charity displayed by so many religious leaders and the laity, both here and abroad. Christ commanded us to love one another as we love ourselves and to not judge others lest we be judged.
Finally, I am tired of the unhealthy intrusion by the clergy, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, into a realm that is not theirs to enter.
The clear division between the City of the World and the City of God goes back long before our Constitution and long before St. Augustine's book. Jesus said that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and render unto God the things that are God's.
As American citizens, the clergy have a right to believe and vote anyway they want. But to intrude theology into the body politic is antithetical to our current interpretation of the separation of church and state and to have foreign clergy urge this breach is an affront to me as an American. In American politics, Rome should mind its own business.
The closing paragraph in the Opinion * Commentary column by William Pfaff (July 16) reads "Bosnia's is a lot better cause than Kuwait's: the defense of a community under attack because it has chosen our values."
Since no one knows for certain why the United States under President Bush pursued the Persian Gulf war, without having achieved any purpose, one has to wonder whether or not Mr. Bush might choose to send American military power into Bosnia, if for no other reason than to attempt to salvage his declining popularity and hope that he might continue in the presidency.
Margaret G. Orman
Encouraging Male Teachers
Your recent editorial, "Where are the Male Teachers?" (July 17) is blatantly sexist. Increasing the number of male teachers should be one consequence of, not a reason for, educational reform.
If the status of the teaching profession is improved, perhaps more males who qualify will be willing to join the ranks of those female and male educators who have invested in our nation's future at considerable personal cost and in spite of the obstacles created by the lack of textbooks, large classes and limited programs (to name only a few).
Let's make the reforms needed in education. But let's make them for the right reasons. We need a vision that is not clouded by bias.
The recent article and editorial about the absence of males in oupublic school systems is right on target. I believe that their absence perpetuates the sexual stereotype that here is another job just for women.
I also believe that "to increase the number of male teachers, the status of the teaching profession must be raised" has sexist overtones to it. Implied in this is that lower professions are for women.