Sacred TruthHow ironic that the media cite the Catholic...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 01, 1993

Sacred Truth

How ironic that the media cite the Catholic Church for unjustly imposing its moral teaching concerning abortion on others while at the same time applaud the archdiocesan stand that gun control is a moral issue tied to the belief that life is sacred. It reminds me of the "grocery store" Catholic.

Pope John Paul II is right on target with his most recent encyclical.

When freedom of conscience becomes an absolute, it determines one's value system. When man, not God, decides good and evil is there a foundation for the basis of truth?

Can the autonomous conscience determine truth outside the teaching of the church?

illian M. Mihm

Perry Hall

Toy Weapons

When my children were born, I decided that I would not allow toy guns in my home or any weapons. It was a decision easier said than done, as I soon found out.

Nintendo came with a duck shooting game, and I had to hide it before giving the game to the kids.

Water guns in summer were a given at our pool, but again I did not give in. Born and schooled during the peace marches and anti-war sentiment following Vietnam, I felt that children could be brought up without the killing games.

My friends said it would be easy when my first child was a girl, but when my second was a boy, I persisted, and it was only difficult in his friends' houses.

I was able to keep all those violent toys and games outside my house. I even was able to keep my children from watching violence both on television and in the movies.

In my fancy suburban neighborhood, I am unable to keep the neighbors from purchasing the violent replicas for their children.

An eight-year-old boy walked into our yard one afternoon holding what looked like a switchblade and, calling to my children ages 11 and 9, threatened to cut them with his knife.

My husband went outside after my son came running in for help. He attempted to speak to the grandfather of the child, who was baby-sitting. He refused to take the knife away because it was only a toy -- a knife replica, which was really only a comb under the switchblade mechanism.

My husband questioned, "Who would buy such a thing for a child?" The same parents that take their children to R-rated movies when they are only six years old.

When we ask ourselves why our children are using weapons on the streets, we need to ask ourselves what lessons we are teaching them.

Suzanne G. Schwager

Baltimore

VOA's Credentials

The implication in your Oct. 18 editorial, "Radio Free Europe's Independence," that journalists at the Voice of America have little editorial and operational freedom and that our broadcasts are somehow compromised is a disservice.

It is not only a disservice to the professional men and women who write and report the news every day in 46 languages but also to the millions worldwide who listen to VOA.

We are mandated by law to be an accurate, objective and comprehensive source of news to millions of listeners, not just in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but worldwide.

A prominent Moscow editor characterized us as the best Western radio source of news and analysis for Russian listeners during the recent crisis when Russian TV was off the air.

From Haiti, where local print and electronic media are muzzled by fear, the New York Times reports VOA's Creole service and CNN are the most respected sources of accurate information about the U.N. embargo aimed at restoring democracy.

VOA is universally respected. That's why more than 2,000 local radio stations have become VOA affiliates, turning to our constantly expanding global network.

This extends our reach far beyond the traditional shortwave listenership we have built since 1942. Hundreds of national networks in other countries and local FM or cable outlets simulcast our news.

Sid Davis

Washington

The writer is VOA's program director.

Public Servant

My compliments to you on the superb coverage of international news which your staff continues to present to the public.

In particular, I wish to commend Richard O'Mara on his BTC front-page article in the Oct. 7 edition.

His analysis of President Clinton's decision to escalate our presence in Somalia was intelligent, logical, concise and comprehensive. It offers persuasive arguments as to why, now that the original humanitarian mission of feeding the starving is essentially accomplished, the time may be appropriate for strong military measures to complete our mission.

My compliments also on the overall layout and appearance of that day's front page. The blend of content and graphics (from President Clinton to Michael Jordan) was balanced and stylish.

Over the past five years . . . I have trained or made presentations to 4,000 people from 39 countries. Life outside the United States is, at times, incomprehensibly different than that within our shores, where we enjoy the daily benefits of miracles grown mundane from familiarity.

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