- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

No government favoritism

It’s interesting that a champion of church-state separation like Edd Doerrproposes that the government removeCalifornia’s statue of “missionary” Miguel Junipero Serrafrom the National Statuary Hall and retainthatof “Civil War hero” Thomas Starr King. (“Reagan in, Serra out,” Letters, Tuesday)

In fact, Mr. Doerr is proposing that the government favor one “missionary” over another. Serra was a Catholic priest and King a Unitarian-Universalist preacher. If wewant the government to favor one missionary over the other, then we need to use a nonreligious criterion to avoid any undue entanglement of church and state.

I propose using historical significance as that criterion. The names of the great cities of California bear witness to thehistorical significance of Serra and the Spanish missions. I believe there’s a middle school in Los Angeles named for Thomas Starr King.

ALEX BROWN

Springfield

Episcopal property issue could have been averted

If the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia had stayed true to its orthodox heritage, the property issue might have been averted (“Episcopalians want law voided, property back,” Nation, Wednesday).

The fact of the matter is that the national church has turned a blind eye to its conservative members “over issues of biblical authority and the 2003 election of the openly gay Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.”

The church has no qualms about imposing its radical social agenda upon its members most of whom object to it but is up in arms over the 1867 “division statute.” In short, the church has fallen away in recent years by assimilating into a secularist society where anything goes.

If the statute is “hostile to the concept of religious freedom,” as the diocese contends, the church leadership might do well to take another look at the reasons leading to this crisis. The facts may be quite revealing.

BRIAN STUCKEY

Denver, Colo. Co.

Democrats not thinking about general election

As it turns out it wasn’t just Florida and Michigan who had early primaries and violated Democratic National Committee rules. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina also had primaries earlier than DNC rule 11 allowed.

However, the Democratic Party decided only to enforce the rules against two of the five states that violated them. So why is it that the Democratic Party can arbitrarily punish two states and decide to let three other states ignore the rule? I think the Democrats are manipulating the outcome of the election and that they are not thinking about winning the general election where Florida and Michigan do count.

MARC PERKEL

San Bruno, Calif.

Global diseases require government action

In urging that the pending bill to expand the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) be trimmed back (“Fighting HIV/AIDS,” Op-Ed, Tuesday), Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, rests his argument on a number of misconceptions.

The bill would authorize $50 billion over five years, yet he incorrectly states that it would be “more than three times President Bush’s original 2003 proposal.” In fact, it would authorize $37 billion over five years for AIDS programs (including those that promote fidelity), a 23 percent increase from the $30 billion the president proposed, while adding $13 billion for tuberculosis and malaria programs.

The total is still less than 2 percent of the discretionary budget, so it is misleading to suggest this bill would bust the budget. The global health programs it would authorize are, in fact, a worthy investment in nonmilitary U.S. leadership, which Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has said is crucial to long-term security. Mr. DeMint is right to praise private giving, but the enormity of global disease threats requires urgent government action.

DAVID BRYDEN

Communications director

Global AIDS Alliance

Washington

Medal of Honor recipient

When will the media get it right (“Soldier earns Medal of Honor,” Around the Nation, Saturday)?

Awarding of the Medal of Honor is not the result of a winning a contest, or, as in the Boy Scouts, of gaining enough points for a merit badge. Pure and simple: Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis of Knox, Pa., was the recipient of the Medal of Honor for “extraordinary heroism” by giving his life to save the lives of four of his comrades by falling on a grenade thrown into their Humvee.

MIKE BENGE

Falls Church

Unprofessional president

The photographs of unprofessional behavior between newly commissioned Air Force officers and President Bush on the front page of Thursday’s edition are incredibly disappointing.

Their behavior was clownish, and it sets a horrible example for everyone in the military.

The office of the president deserves the utmost respect. We must seriously question the maturity and judgment of officers who fail to grasp this concept.

SGT. STEVEN PRYOR

Marine Corps

Bowie

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