Immigration imperils U.S. environmentSteve Weinberg's...


November 22, 1996

Immigration imperils U.S. environment

Steve Weinberg's Perspective article of Nov. 10 fails to recognize the immoral impact of uncontrolled immigration, and indeed population growth, on what is left of wildlife and the rest of creation in the United States.

Of course, America cannot just treat the symptom and close the doors; we must put most of our energy into eliminating the problems that lead people to decide to emigrate. And we must work for a more equitable standard of living throughout the world.

But we also have a moral responsibility of stewardship to the creation here which we were entrusted to protect.

And we will forsake this responsibility if we allow foreign governments a convenient excuse for not taking the politically difficult steps needed to mitigate their people's desire to emigrate.

In order to preserve the small fraction of the creation left, we must take a balanced approach and reduce, not eliminate, our high levels of immigration.

$Robert Bloksberg-Fireovid


Confirmation is more than a party

The conclusion of Susan Reimer in her Nov. 10 column, ''Guiding a child toward a leap of faith,'' prompts this letter. I agree that confirmation won't resolve her son's internal debate regarding religion.

However, I heartily disagree that confirmation is ''merely a bon voyage party.''

Confirmation is the ritual by which the Catholic church receives an individual's lifetime commitment to its belief system. As such, confirmation is a hefty decision for anyone to make, let alone a teen-ager.

I applaud Joe Reimer's questioning, and I encourage further critical thinking on his part regarding confirmation. I hope he doesn't just go through the ritual because it's expected or to please his relatives.

rgie M. O'Shea


Farrakhan fails to recant or atone

I'm afraid Gregory Kane (column, Nov. 20) just doesn't get it.

It's well and good to be moved by a person's account of their own spiritual journey. In an age in which people are recognizing the need for personal meaning in life, I do my best to aid them in their search and rejoice in their discoveries.

But within the tradition from which I teach, deeds say far more than words.

Louis Farrakhan's confessions regarding his personal life and the forgiveness evinced by his lieutenants are only a nice beginning.

They hardly constitute a change in outlook which would justify placing responsibility for reconciliation with the leader of the Nation of Islam in the hands of the Jewish community, as Mr. Kane seems to do in the final paragraph of his column.

I was amused when Mr. Farrakhan adopted a Jewish concept (Yom Kippur -- Day of Atonement) at the beginning of his effort to change his public image. What saddens me is that the adoption should have been so incomplete.

The Jewish concept of atonement is dominated by the idea of teshuvah -- imperfectly translated as ''repentance.'' Enshrined within that idea is the belief that atonement is incomplete until a human being who has harmed another has atoned directly to that other.

In Mr. Farrakhan's failure to recant his inflammatory comments (including the phrases ''gutter religion'' or "dirty religion,'' the distinction between which escapes me) he has failed to atone.

In the face of such failure, it is impossible for the Jewish community to take his call to dialogue seriously.

I am happy for Mr. Farrakhan that he is finding within himself the possibility of forgiveness. The Jewish community possesses that possibility as well.

Perhaps Mr. Farrakhan will acknowledge and atone for the hurt he has caused. Then we will have the opportunity to demonstrate our capacity to forgive, and true dialogue can begin.

Contrary to Mr. Kane's impression, the ball is in Mr. Farrakhan's court.

Rex D. Perlmeter


The writer is rabbi of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Ellen Goodman got it right

Ellen Goodman had it just about right Nov. 19 when she described attempts to legislate a minimum number of inpatient days for mastectomy patients as "protecting access to health care one body part at a time."

That inpatient coverage for radical surgery, particularly of a type that involves significant emotional as well as physical ramifications, is now a subject of public debate is itself a reflection of how benumbed our collective consciousness -- and conscience -- has become.

Where will it all end?

Clearly, nothing short of a single-payer, universal health care nTC system, which combines the best features of the Canadian and Western European systems, will solve the health care crisis in America. But as Goodman noted, we will probably spend years in foolish debate about the relative merits of specific body parts before coming to our senses and scrapping the inequitable and inefficient system now being shoved down our throats.

Howard Bluth


We need to learn to live with deer

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