- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2003

If Augusta gives an inch, feminists will take a mile

Wouldn't you think that after nearly 25 column inches, someone who works in two think-tanks would have come up with more than "take a mulligan boys, take a mulligan" to resolve the Augusta National Golf Club dilemma ("A Christmas mulligan," Op-Ed, Monday)?
Indeed, columnist Harlan Ullman fails to realize that any capitulation Augusta National Golf Club would make, however slight, to the Council of Women's Organizations would be a total victory for the council.
Furthermore, nowhere in his column does Mr. Ullman call the gender policy at the club what it really is: one of many bylaws, those rules adopted by an organization or assembly for governing its own meetings or affairs. There can be many bylaws. Another of Augusta's bylaws makes the club's membership very limited. I can imagine there are men with more money than most of the current Augusta members, who nonetheless understand that they will not be allowed membership for the same reason a woman will not be allowed membership: Augusta is a private club conforming to its bylaws.

Virginia Beach

'Oh, Liberty Tree!'

I am reluctant to criticize any of our troops who are serving overseas, but this game of being politically correct must stop. In particular, I'm referring to "U.S. troops get Bosnian education" (World, Sunday).
As a Christian, I am somewhat dismayed that the commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Brig. Gen. John T. von Trott from Harrisburg, Pa., an area where I grew up, would deny Christian GIs the Christmas spirit in an effort to be PC. Instead of a traditional Christmas tree, Gen. von Trott's post displays a "Liberty Tree" lest Muslim Bosnians be offended. Yet Muslims were allowed to have their Ramadan and celebrate their Eid al Fitr without being afraid of offending Christians, both locals and GIs. Why the double standard?
Furthermore, Gen. von Trott even invited the local imam in Tuzla to lecture our troops on Islam. I'll bet no military chaplain was invited to give a lesson on Christianity or Judaism to the local Muslim population so that they might better know those religions.
Why should I be surprised at the denial of Christmas to our troops in Bosnia when one considers what is happening in this country? Across America, even the utterance of "Christ" and "Christmas" in schools is forbidden, yet many Islamic students are provided a room to pray during school hours for the entire month of Ramadan. Just as the former Soviet Union banned Christ (and Saudi Arabia and other nations still do), our nation has gone one better by suppressing Christianity in a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles. At least one thing can be said in favor of the Soviet Union's religious policy: It didn't play favorites. All religions were oppressed.
It seems that, in the name of "diversity," only the oppression of Christianity is allowed, and now it has extended to our armed forces.


Cheap guns aren't unique to Pakistan

Jack Kemp ("Call Saddam's bluff," Commentary, Thursday) justifies berating Pakistan's effort to curb terrorism by citing the rise of democratically elected religio-political parties in Pakistan's two smaller provinces and by citing a quote from columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave about the easy availability of illegal firearms in Pakistan. (The quote: "All the extremists detained following Gen. [Pervez] Musharraf's pledge to the United States last January to quench terrorism are now free men in a country where a Kalashnikov (AK-47) can be rented for $2.50 a day and any kind of a weapon obtained at one hour's notice.") Mr. Kemp is wrong on both accounts.
He is wrong on the first account because he fails to understand that the religio-political parties won the popular vote as a direct result of the anti-American sentiments created by U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. He is wrong on the second account because Mr. de Borchgrave's characterization of Pakistan is incorrect and unfortunate. It is incorrect in the sense that a gun also can be rented or bought on short notice in any major U.S. city if one is willing to pay a relatively small price. (Renting an AK-47 for $2.50 a day in economically depressed rural Pakistan is approximately equivalent to paying $150 here.) Mr. de Borchgrave's characterization of Pakistan is unfortunate, because the rise of illegal weapons in Pakistani society is the direct result of the unchecked inflow of weapons given by the CIA to the Afghan Mujahideen who were fighting against the Soviets.

Juneau, Ala.

Teaming up on wrong union?

For reasons unknown to all but your editorial board, you gratuitously mentioned the Teamsters Union in Sunday's editorial "What teachers' union dues paid for," which purportedly was aimed at the Washington Teachers' Union.
Though the editorial suggests the Teamsters Union is being criticized widely, almost all negative criticism comes from the National Right to Work Foundation a sham group backed by big business with the singular goal of harming workers by limiting their right to organize. For the editorial to infer that the Teamsters Union is facing criticism from legitimate groups encompassing a wide spectrum of interests is misleading.
In fact, it would have been more appropriate for you to note that the Teamsters Union political action committee DRIVE (Democrat Republican Independent Voter Education) is funded through voluntary contributions from our members.
If you have a problem with the Washington Teachers' Union, take it up with that union. Taking potshots at the Teamsters doesn't suit you.

Director of communications
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

The costs of Christian witness

The Christians shot in the Yemeni hospital were shot for witnessing to others in the course of their hospital work ("Missionaries were devoted to work," Nation, Tuesday). So when is this still primarily Christian nation going to say enough is enough? Our patience with the authentic Muslim reaction to Christianity and the West has gotten to the point where it is viewed as weakness by Islam's warriors. After all, the Koran promotes as one of Islam's goals the subjugation of Christianity. There's no getting around their term for Christians, infidel, and its meaning.
The man who committed the murders can find justification in his religion. He was not really an extremist, though his methods seem so to us. He did what he did because the victims were suspected of baring Christian witness to Muslims. And what is Christian witness?
Christian witness means showing love for someone who hates you, while you still hate the bad things they do. It means having joy in your heart because your sins are forgiven. Christian witness means experiencing peace of mind, knowing someone greater and mightier is in control, cares for you and lends meaning to your existence. Christian witness tries to possess patience with adversity. It makes an effort to employ gentleness in speech and action, endeavors to instill goodness all through one's life. Christian witness is humble, or at least tries to be, while struggling to exert self-control, which is sorely lacking in the world.
That's what Christian witness is. That is what those medical missionaries in Yemen were killed for? Their witness? Were they patient with someone? Were they kind? Did they exert self-control? Did they give someone hope by telling them about joy?
They were serving in a hospital. They were extremists, too, but in the sense that not many people would do the work that they did. That's why they were "cleansed" by that practitioner of the Muslim faith.

Mauckport, Ind.

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