Letters To The Editor


October 22, 2004

Catholic faith carries tenets of social justice

The Sun's editorial "A faith-based president?" (Oct. 14) mentions the Catholic bishops' "call to political responsibility" document.

But in addition to the well-known Catholic teachings about abortion, cloning and assisted suicide, it is important for Catholics to note that the document mentions many other issues.

They include working for a more just economic life with decent jobs and just wages, providing adequate assistance to poor families, overcoming a culture of violence, combating discrimination and defending the right to quality health care, housing and food.

The document also stresses overcoming global hunger and poverty.

The same document cites a recent Vatican statement that says, in part, "A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church's social doctrine does not exhaust one's responsibility toward the common good."

The statement also declares that the use of weapons that cause disproportionate harm or that cannot distinguish between civilians and soldiers is unacceptable.

The meaning is clear -- calling the killing of innocent Iraqi civilians in the current war "collateral damage" goes against Christian teaching.

All of these things mean that Catholics who think their voting decision can be based on only one or two issues, without taking into account all the social justice issues, are badly mistaken.

Andrine Stricherz

Ellicott City

Church should clean its own house first

How dare some Catholic bishops come out against Sen. John Kerry's candidacy ("A faith-based president?" editorial, Oct. 14)?

Perhaps they need to be reminded that the finest part of the U.S. Constitution ensures a careful separation of church and state.

And in light of the Catholic Church's record of abuse, cover-up and lies over the last three years, never mind the previous seven centuries, one might wish officials of the church would pay more attention to raising the moral tenor of their own institution, and keep their tainted hands out of the political sphere.

Nancy Rome


The writer was associate producer of the documentary Abused and Catholic.

Kerry's Catholicism is no moral compass

I love to watch the moral gymnastics Sen. John Kerry performs in explaining his faith as it relates to his politics ("A faith-based president?" editorial, Oct. 14).

When asked about abortion, Mr. Kerry has stated that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception, and has the greatest respect for life. Yet he supports abortion rights because, he says, he can't govern or make law based on his religious beliefs.

I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this issue. But how can he square this with the fact that he is divorced and remarried -- which violates the tenets of the faith he professes and has no bearing on how he would govern?

What good is being a Catholic if he doesn't heed the church's teachings -- in his public or private life?

The truth is that while President Bush has a faith-based moral compass, popular or not, Mr. Kerry has only a political compass, pointing in the direction of the nearest Democratic voting block.

Jonathan Goodman


Bush is wrong about homosexuality

All the discussion, in The Sun's editorial "Compliment or cheap trick" (Oct. 17) and elsewhere, about Sen. John Kerry's reference to Mary Cheney's homosexuality ignores the question that prompted his remark and the president's outrageous and revealing answer.

Asked if he thought homosexuality was a choice, the president replied, "I don't know," thus refusing to recognize the findings of science, as he has done on other issues.

And if Mr. Kerry was using Mary Cheney to make his point that homosexuality is not a choice, it was just as legitimate as the vice president's use of his daughter to demonstrate that he disagreed with the president.

Saul Friedman


Why there's no outcry about the murder rate

Why should a crime statistic indicating that the murder rate is up 11 percent upset communities, galvanize citizens and anger public officials in Baltimore ("A cumulative effect," editorial, Oct. 18)?

The Sun has used the death of Kareem "ManMan" Hanks as an alarm bell for this sentiment. However, in the same editorial, The Sun reported that arrests and violent crime in the city are down.

The Sun also cites the work of Harvard criminologist David M. Kennedy, whose analysis of Baltimore's murder rate indicates that those most at risk of murder are repeat offenders caught up in the drug trade.

Perhaps public outcry over murder is lacking because it is apparently mostly criminals killing each other, and not law-abiding citizens.

With fewer violent criminals on the street because of the culling effect the murder rate has, violent and property crime rates have fallen.

If the violent drug barons of Baltimore continue on their path of genocide, other crime rates should continue falling, which would benefit every citizen of Baltimore.

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