- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 4, 2000

Robertson's irreligious attack on McCain

This Pat Robertson business has me confused. When Mr. Robertson said several months ago that he would campaign against Sen. John McCain in South Carolina, I wasn't really worried. After all, he's a prodigious fund-raiser for his own "ministry" and a variety of political causes; the proverbial grain of salt, I thought.

I have been stunned, however, at Mr. Robertson's taped phone messages accusing John of all manner of sins, from destroying free speech to having a bigot as a campaign adviser in former Sen. Warren Rudman.

I am more bewildered that so many voters are taking them as Gospel, so to speak.

So, let me now ask a few theological questions: Do members of the Christian Coalition really suppose God Himself whispered into Mr. Robertson's ear and told him to attack John? Do they think He also told him that Texas Gov. George Bush is the emanation of God's light, and that Mr. Robertson should actively promote his political efforts? In short, do they really think Mr. Robertson speaks for God Himself?

I am a Christian; a churchgoing Episcopalian. But unlike Mr. Robertson, I don't think I have the moral high ground, nor do I think God has told me to campaign for John, and against Mr. Bush. I think God has told me to try to do the "right thing" and to "tell the truth."

I have to question any man who thinks God tells him to bash a man like John.

Further, if intuition means anything, I would proffer that God spent more time with John in a prisoner-of-war camp than with a man who uses the name of God and a TV license as a weapon against another Christian who has served his nation as honorably as he can for 36 years including keeping his own faith with God for 5* terrible and torturous years.

John was appointed as one of the chaplains by his fellow POWs to lead services in those terrible days when the practice of religion often meant days of beatings.

That's a pretty profound manifestation of faith, don't you think?

It is a paradox to me that this TV minister not only sets himself up as a judge of John, but that this barrage on John is accepted by so many persons of the Christian faith.

I cannot believe that Mr. Robertson represents God in this matter.

Not my God, at any rate.

JOE MCCAIN

Fairfax

Joe McCain is the brother of Sen. John McCain.

Health advocates don't deserve Nazi tag

Walter Williams labels as "lifestyle Nazis" the American Medical Association, the U.S. surgeon general, me and others because we've urged people to change their diets and stop smoking ("Lifestyle goose-steppers update," Commentary, Feb. 19). I find it extraordinary that anyone would slap the Nazi tag on anyone, particularly on Jewish people (including me), and that a self-respecting newspaper would print such a crude slur.

Besides the need to learn about common courtesy, Mr. Williams might learn some facts about health before mindlessly insulting health advocates.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 20 percent of Americans particularly blacks and Hispanics are obese. Several hundred thousand Americans die prematurely every year from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancers caused by poor diet and lack of physical activity.

That's why such organizations as the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the surgeon general are urging Americans to be more physically active, and to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and less fatty meat and dairy products.

MICHAEL F. JACOBSON

Executive director

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Washington

The Coast Guard could use a boatload of support

Christopher Lehman's Feb. 24 Op-Ed column, "Stranded at Sea," was right on target. Mr. Lehman did an outstanding job of outlining the various roles and missions that require a robust and well-funded U.S. Coast Guard in the 21st century. Mr. Lehman's column added to my outrage that the U.S. Coast Guard is the 38th oldest in terms of ships and equipment out of the world's 41 coast guards.

Frankly, I don't know of too many taxpayers who would have heartburn if their precious tax dollars were invested in rebuilding the fifth and quietest branch of our nation's armed forces. If the pleas by ordinary citizens in support of a robust U.S. Coast Guard fall on deaf ears in the White House and Congress, there are always big supporters to help, such as retired Army Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the nation's highest-ranking military officer, Gen. Powell once remarked, "The Coast Guard provides National Command Authorities a unique instrument in the nation's security tool bag."

If the public wants more illegal drugs and immigrants flooding into this country or don't care about safety on the waterways, then it can disregard the Coast Guard's readiness woes. If the public doesn't want more drugs on children's playgrounds or doesn't want to be stranded at sea for a long period of time, I highly recommend support for the Coast Guard's Deepwater Mission Project, the U.S. Coast Guard's plan to rebuild itself for the 21st century.

KRISTY HOFFMAN

Washington

Responses to paying big at the pump

Responses to paying big at the pump

We in Maryland have some of the highest fuel prices in the nation. Not coincidentally, we also have some of the highest fuel taxes in the nation. Our governor, Parris N. Glendening, refuses to budge even though he is sitting on a $1 billion surplus ("Maryland's surplus won't be used to cut gas prices," March 1).

Typical of most career politicians, Mr. Glendening considers this his money. What that means is that he and his administration have hoarded $1 billion in taxpayer money without using it to provide services. Now we have to read democratic politicians like state Sen. Gloria Lawlah complaining. Well, live with it. We in the middle class who work and still cannot make ends meet have seen our parents and other elderly relatives leave the "Free State" because of outlandish taxes. I have no sympathy for those in liberal tax- and-spend counties such as Prince George's and Montgomery who gave us Mr. Glendening especially because many vote for Mr. Glendening and his type because of his party affiliation.

The next time you Glendening supporters complain about the theft he perpetrates every time you put a gasoline nozzle in your car, just save it. If you are poor or working-class and cannot afford Mr. Glendening, think about this the next time the Democrats try to sell you another tax-and-spend Democrat. Until then, bite your tongues and pay.

We have once again seen the politicians who claim to be the champions of the poor and underprivileged treat the working class with ruthless contempt. So it is up to you, Prince George's and Montgomery counties; get a clue.

FRANCIS J. GOULART JR.

Owings, Md.

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While visiting the District on business, I am encouraged by the ongoing interest in gas price increases to try to relieve the pessimism of Washingtonians.

Back home in the United Kingdom, we are forced to abandon our gallon and buy gas by the European liter, currently retailing at around $1.20. Like your government ours takes a massive tax profit from gas sales and has gone so far as to introduce the policy of a gas price "escalator," which ensures that prices rise per year ahead of the inflationary rate. So, if I were to tell readers that back home a car with a four-cylinder, 2000cc engine and above getting 30 miles to the gallon is considered "large," it kind of puts things into context.

Next time your readers stick that nozzle in the gas tank and sigh, they should just think of us in the land of the $5 gallon.

MARK JONES

Kent, United Kingdom

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