- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2002

The ACLU's commandment

The current moral state of American society has generated a great deal of interest in "values education" as well as other means of attempting to stem the tide of our cultural decline ("South pushes to post Ten Commandments," April 13). Whether posting the Ten Commandments will ultimately assist in this moral endeavor is debatable, but let us briefly consider the legal aspects of this proposal.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others maintain that state and county governments, as well as other public institutions and organizations, cannot display the Ten Commandments because that would violate the "separation of church and state" found in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

I would like to remind the ACLU and its agenda-driven friends that the First Amendment begins with these words: "Congress shall make no law ." Since when do state and county governments, school districts or any other public institutions or organizations qualify as Congress?

Unfortunately, the people of this country have permitted activist judges to legislate from the bench to the point where the Constitution's provisions have been twisted to ends for which they never were intended.

The Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to restrict the actions of the federal government so that there would be minimal interference with the affairs of the people. They never intended that government should extend its reach into the everyday lives of the people a fact that stands in strong contrast to our modern political establishments.

Simply put, if the people of a state, county or school district should determine that they want to display the Ten Commandments, there is nothing in the Constitution to prohibit it. Only the federal government is restricted by the First Amendment. The politicization of our court systems, however, has seen to it that agendas rule where the law once did.

It is high time that the ACLU stopped dictating to people how they should live and let them decide that for themselves.


ROBERT F. HAWES JR.

Lexington, S.C.

Women's studies' programs don't demonize men

Concerning your April 4 story "College text study finds women reading hate male," this kind of irresponsible, undocumented attack on women's studies is not new.

I very much doubt that you could find any of the "texts" you describe used in Mount Holyoke courses. Our curriculum does not demonize men or anyone else. In fact, we insist that courses that are requirements in women's studies examine gender in its imbrication with race, class and sexuality. One cannot speak of race and class or sexuality, for that matter without including men.

What is different about women's studies and causes disproportionate anger is that we regard all institutions and social customs as open to examination and challenge. Women's studies programs and feminist scholars nationally are developing theoretical frameworks for examining how these gender systems of power are created and manifested in social structures and relationships. We are concerned with how gender is implicated and invested in systems that privilege and depreciate race and class. These systems, which are based on male models of power and society, hurt men as well as women.

I taught the introductory course for Women's Studies for many years at Mount Holyoke and was continually attacked by those not taking the course for being anti-male. The reason, clearly, was that women were placed at the center of our examinations, our analysis and our understandings of social change. Like all good teaching, women's studies challenges stereotypes and demands that students examine what they know and how they know it.

The Independent Women's Forum report is just another in a series of attacks and is hardly worth the trouble of a response. The interesting question is why these things keep turning up and getting this kind of media attention.


JEAN GROSSHOLTZ

Chairwoman, Women's Studies

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, Mass.

Prohibition makes poppies profitable

Prohibition makes poppies profitable


In your April 16 front-page story "Afghan poppy growers settle in for long struggle," our drug czar John Walters claims that the opium trade funds terrorists. What he consistently fails to mention is that opium only funds terrorists because it is illegal and, therefore, incredibly profitable. Terrorists do not make money by selling beer or tobacco because these drugs are legally traded and do not have the enormous profit margin of the illegal ones. If we were to go so far as to outlaw milk, Mr. Walters can rest assured that terrorists and other criminals would reap huge financial rewards peddling illegal dairy products.


MATTHEW HOGG

Burlington, Vt.<

Error and space

In the April 17 story "Tunnel vision for disaster," you report: "The Defense Department set up the facility in the abandoned turnpike tunnel two years ago after a Border Patrol agent stopped an Islamic extremist trying to cross the Canadian border with material for a large bomb in his trunk. An investigation revealed that the explosives were part of a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport."

This obviously is a reference to the arrest of Ahmed Ressam at Port Angeles, Washington. The Border Patrol had nothing to do with it. The Border Patrol is part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which is part of the Justice Department. The explosives actually were discovered by a customs inspector, an employee of the U.S. Customs Service, which belongs to the Department of the Treasury.


TIM SARNECKI

El Segundo, Calif.




According to your April 15 story "Reagan flights return to old level," "The resumption of flights would end an episode that shut down all but military air traffic nationwide for the only time in American history."

In fact, both U.S. and Canadian airspace were shut to all airlines and nonmilitary air traffic at least three times before September 11.

The largest such closure was during a series of defense exercises in the 1960s, which are described in exhaustive detail in the March issue of Air & Space Smithsonian magazine.


ROGER A. MOLA

Arlington, Va.

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