- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 10, 2000

Study on Catholic priests is full of holes

Let me start off by stating that yes, I am a practicing Roman Catholic; yes, I know many priests; and yes, priests can have serious personal problems. (None I have known, but I have met Georgetown University's Rev. Robert Drinan. He defended President Clinton's veto of the partial-birth abortion ban, so I guess that counts.)

When I read the article claiming that Catholic priests have four times the rate of AIDS as the population as a whole, I had to check out the facts ("AIDS takes toll on Catholic priests nationwide," Feb. 1). As a result, I have learned a few facts about the bogus study cited in the article, performed under the auspices of the liberal Kansas City (Mo.) Star. (I am originally from Kansas City and know from experience that it is liberal.)

n According to the author's own data, only half of 1 percent of priests have AIDS, a fairly minuscule number, to say the least.

n Also according to the study's numbers, 96 percent of all priests either strongly support or have no problem with the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality or AIDS, but you would not think so from reading the politically motivated Kansas City Star article.

n Only 27 percent of all priests surveyed even responded. According to top sociologists and statisticians, this is a poor response rate, invalidating any attempt to draw meaningful or reliable conclusions.

n The Kansas City Star made a big deal about the Catholic Church not having an official policy on AIDS (outrage of outrages). Oh, but the paper failed to mention that the Kansas City Star does not, either (oops).

n After a thorough critique of the study, a leading statistician, David Murray, research director for the nonpartisan scientific group Statistical Assessment Service, concluded that the analysis was inadequate and incomplete.

n The study fatally erred when it compared the research population with the entire U.S. population, which includes women and children, who cannot be priests. Thus, the sensational conclusion is false.

n When Mr. Murray and S. Robert Lichter of the Center for Media and Public Affairs used the same numbers and performed a proper statistical comparison, it showed a tremendously lower percentage of AIDS cases among priests and no higher proclivity toward AIDS among priests than among the general population.

I can understand why liberal publications such as the Kansas City Star and other groups get such a cheap thrill out of bashing the Catholic Church, but I would hope The Washington Times would do a better job of critical analysis before going to print.

JIM RENNE

Alexandria

If Gainer made remarks, they need to be taken in context

There is now an interesting twist to the dispute between D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and Carl Rowan Jr. about whether Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer complained that he had to promote blacks "to give them their little piece of the world" ("Police chief tussles with writer on radio show," Metropolitan, Feb. 3).

Taken out of context, this remark is indeed racist. But the written statement obtained by WTTG-TV (Channel 5) from the person who says he heard Chief Gainer's remarks indicated that the context was affirmative action that Chief Gainer was unhappy about having racial quotas forced on him.

Under these circumstances, Chief Gainer's remarks would not have been racist. To the contrary, he was complaining that he was being forced to discriminate on the basis of race.

ROGER CLEGG

General counsel

Center for Equal Opportunity

Washington

'Collective power of color' or another form of racism?

I won't even go into the history of how many TV shows that reflect the experiences of people of color have been canceled because of the lack of advertisers willing to sell their products on shows that do not have whites as their main characters or issues of white America as their main themes ("Color television," Editorial, Feb. 7).

Bill Cosby and other blacks named in your editorial only serve to prove the point that people of color are just as capable of entertaining across racial lines and generating advertising dollars for their sponsors.

What The Washington Times calls "race-hustling" I call race-hoarding, and I think it's about time. I personally no longer wish to spend my time or money on industries with backdoor mentalities toward blacks.

What The Times needs to understand and the TV networks are becoming painfully aware of is that if people of color as a group are frustrated with their lack of representation by the networks and other industries, we will hoard our consumer dollars to adequately express that frustration.

This is not about the color of television but the collective power of money and, more to the point in this case, the collective power of color.

WAYNE THOMAS

Gaithersburg

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I appreciate your perspective and willingness to address an issue that often finds itself perpetuating race baiting. Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is a racist no matter how his statements are colored. Thanks.

BILL LYLE

Springfield

Lecturer a poor selection to speak for all of Cyprus

The schoolmarmish error-filled lecturing of Turkey over Cyprus by Greek-Cypriot representative Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis takes audacity to new heights ("Lecturing Turkey," Embassy Row, Jan. 26). She no more speaks for all of Cyprus than the People's Republic of China speaks for Taiwan. Indeed, Greek-Cypriot leader Glafkos Clerides confessed to his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart, President Rauf Denktas, during direct negotiations in 1997 at Gilon, Switzerland, that he did not represent the Turkish-Cypriot people on the island.

Furthermore, Turkey's candidate status for European Union membership granted in December is not hedged with enumerated obligations regarding Cyprus or otherwise. Like any other candidate for membership, Turkey has to fulfill its obligations under Copenhagen criteria and nothing else.

While Turkey's troops on Cyprus are in accord with 1960 international covenants a conclusion affirmed by an Athens court in 1979 the Greek-Cypriot administration has flouted 1960 treaty obligations by destroying the 1960 equal partnership constitution for the Republic of Cyprus, illegally applying for EU membership on behalf of the entire island, and enshrining as official policy Enosis (union) with Greece.

The negative attitude of Greek-Cypriots, not Turkey, besets talks over the island of Cyprus. Without provocation, the former are accumulating a weapons stockpile as if preparing for war, including Russian, French, South African and Greek missiles, battle tanks, armored troop carriers, attack helicopters, heavy field artillery and radar systems. The per-capita military spending by the Greek-Cypriot administration sits at the world's peak, greater even than any of the Big Five on the U.N. Security Council or NATO member.

The Greek-Cypriots persist in a 37-year-old draconian embargo on Turkish-Cypriots that denies them customary opportunities for international trade, travel and relief aid, telecommunications, postal and transportation services and participation in sporting events.

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis herself shamelessly sought to extend the embargo to the arena of free speech and educational exchange. In a Dec. 22 letter to President Richard L. Judd of Central Connecticut State University, she urged the institution to "cease" its 5-year-old cultural, scientific and educational cooperation with Eastern Mediterranean University, located on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Her bullying tactics and assault on academic freedom failed, but exemplified her unremitting hostility towards Turkish-Cypriots.

Is this any way to promote a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem?

AHMET ERDENGIZ

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

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