- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Medal's metal not measure of soldiers' mettle

The Feb. 4 front-page story "How much metal should be in a Medal of Honor?" speaks volumes about the problem with most elected officials today.

The crux of the controversy is that the cost to the government for a Medal of Honor, awarded to members of the armed forces, ranges from $29.98 to $75, while the (so-called) Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to nonmilitary luminaries, costs $30,000. The solution to this problem proposed by a bipartisan group of House members is to make the Medal of Honor 90 percent gold, which would raise its cost to approximately $2,000.

I guess when you are spending other people's money, common sense and frugality go out the window. Rather than raise the cost of the Medal of Honor, why not make the Gold Medal 10 percent gold, reducing its cost?



The front-page story "How much metal should be in a Medal of Honor?" comes as quite a surprise. I had no idea the Congressional Gold Medal costs taxpayers $30,000. Rep. Joe Baca, California Democrat, ought to be ashamed of himself, as should the other 15 House members who have proposed to raise the cost of the Medal of Honor.

Rather than change the Medal of Honor, I would prefer to see the cost of the Congressional Gold Medal reduced; $19.95 sounds like a reasonable figure.

Apparently, Mr. Baca doesn't understand. I doubt that he has ever served his country on active duty in one of our armed services. The "value" associated with the Medal of Honor has nothing to do with money; it has to do with love of country and self-sacrifice.


Wardensville, W.Va.

Enlightenment not source of founding faith

I appreciated William Rusher's review of Pat Buchanan's new book, "The Death of the West" ("A devastating look at our future," Feb. 3). I for one intend to purchase and read it.

However, Mr. Rusher has made an error in his column regarding the Enlightenment. He, like many others, wrongly credits the Enlightenment for the religious faith of our founders, and that simply is not accurate. Many revisionists would like us to believe so, but the facts say otherwise.

Alexander H. Stephens' "History of the United States," published in 1872, makes no reference to the Enlightenment. It does, however, mention the arrival of John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield, who were instrumental in evangelizing the Colonies.

Paul Johnson's "A History of the American People" does not mention the Enlightenment, either, but it does go into significant detail on what became known as the "Great Awakening." The Great Awakening, which occurred in the early 18th century, created the biblically grounded environment in which the founders were raised. That is why Perry Miller, a Harvard University historian, said, "The American revolution was a spiritual revival that had the astonishing good fortune to succeed."

One of the reasons "The Death of the West" is so prophetic is that much of our nation's history is being ignored. Karl Marx wrote, "Take away the heritage of a people and they are easily persuaded." With educators such as those in New Jersey so determined to wipe out any mention of our nation's grounding in biblical principles, it may take less than the 50 years Mr. Buchanan predicts in his book.


Falls Church

Taking advantage of tragedy

I am shocked, but not surprised, that Luis Tolley, director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is still trying to use the Columbine tragedy to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens ("Gun-rights backers push for reciprocity," Feb. 1). His comments also point out the true agenda of his organization: To make this a nation in which only the police and criminals are armed.

For years, the "reasonable" gun-control organizations have repeated the mantra that all gun owners must receive training, go through a background check and be licensed before they can possess a gun. Nearly every concealed-carry permitting process does just that. Before issuing a permit to carry a concealed firearm, the applicant must complete a firearms training course, submit to a background investigation and pay for a license. Isn't this what Mr. Tolley's group labels "sensible and reasonable gun control"? You'd think they would be behind concealed-carry laws 100 percent.

No, Mr. Tolley, the people of Colorado have not forgotten Columbine. We have not forgotten how those armed maniacs were able to walk through a school killing innocent unarmed students and teachers. Nor have we forgotten how much criminals favor unarmed victims. The people of Colorado want the right to defend themselves as they, not you, choose.


Vice president

Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Evolution and conservatism

I must respectfully disagree with Phyllis Schlafly's Feb. 2 Commentary column, "Ohio tackles evolution conflict." The scientific facts of evolution are as real as the electron and calculus. It becomes even more obvious by gazing into the eyes of our nearest relatives, the chimpanzees, with whom we share 99 percent of our DNA.

The real question that should occupy Mrs. Schlafly is trying to understand how the subject has been co-opted by the left in the political debate. After all, it is the unyielding characteristics of human nature that continually cause liberal policies to fail.

The problem for most conservatives is that they see us in a state of moral free fall if they accept evolution. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are millions of moral people who believe in evolution. There are numerous examples of rudimentary morality in the animal world. Young baboons have been known to jump out of trees onto a leopard and sacrifice themselves for the troop. African hunting dogs return many miles from the hunt to their dens and regurgitate food for the pups. Some of the greatest predators i.e., lions and wolves are very social animals and live in groups.

Conservatives make a big mistake by relinquishing the evolutionary playing field to the left. The playing field they are relinquishing is anything but politically correct.



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