- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 25, 2003

The virtue of crisis pregnancy centers

Serrin M. Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, hit the nail on its head when she wrote that "women 'choose' abortion precisely because they believed they had no other choice" ("Women deserve better than abortion," Forum, Sunday). She correctly noted that such women are abandoned or pressured by the baby's father, or they lack financial resources or emotional support.
Volunteers at some 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States see the same stories repeated over and over. We here at the Gabriel Project provide women long-term support and friendship by enlisting faith-based groups to care for all of a pregnant woman's needs. The Gabriel Project has directly helped more than 1,000 women to prepare for motherhood, deliver their babies and become more self-sustaining.
Recently, a Muslim woman from West Africa was impregnated and abandoned by the child's father. This illegal alien was completely alone, had a high-risk pregnancy and had no place to stay. The people at a Montgomery County church were present to assist her through all her needs. They showed her she was lovable, and they loved her. The woman had a successful delivery and returned to her native land. Her experience was so special that upon returning to her native land, she has launched a successful Gabriel Project organization for pregnant women there, so they, too, could find a loving, life-giving alternative to abortion.
In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," Mark Antony states, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
In this case, the good that people do ricochets around the world. That is how the scourge of abortion will be washed from the Earth.

Executive director
Gabriel Project Inc.
Bowie Md.

A ball and a strike on D.C. stadium funding

I commend The Times for an excellent job debunking the myth that somehow taxpayer financed sports stadiums are somehow cost free and, therefore, should be financed with the public purse ("The true costs of baseball," Editorial, Wednesday). These giveaways to wealthy private businesses mark a wholesale abandonment of common sense.
While few states or municipalities have grasped this basic concept, Massachusetts Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran has long and successfully resisted calls to provide taxpayer financing for private stadiums for private sports teams.
Massachusetts rejected pleas from the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots for free stadiums and instead offered in the Red Sox's case and provided in the Patriots' case only infrastructure improvements. Such sensible and appropriate financing is what any government should provide to any private business.
Wholesale giveaways of public money to private businesses, merely because they are sports teams, make no sense at best, and at worst are feckless uses of the public's money. Other states and municipalities could learn from Massachusetts' example.

New York

"The true costs of baseball" editorial went on and on in a negative tone about not publicly funding a new stadium for baseball. Of course a new stadium and all of the necessary infrastructure will cost quite a lot. I think the question to be answered is, "Is it worth it?" Obviously, the editorial board at The Washington Times would answer no. But I think this is an opportunity that we Washington area residents haven't had in more than 30 years and that we should grab the Montreal Expos by the tail.
Not all taxes are bad. Taxes that are used to inflate our ever-expanding government are a bad thing, but taxes used to provide a state-of-the-art stadium, entertainment, a stronger sense of community and commercial opportunities for area business are a good thing.
We should take a long-term perspective on publicly funding a new stadium. The economy is going through a rough spot right now, but later on we may be sorry we missed an opportunity to bring baseball back to Washington.

Rockville, Md.

Fast-food litigants should have been deep-fried

The good news is that a judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by two plaintiffs who claim that their obesity is the fault and responsibility of McDonald's, the fast-food restaurant chain to which they paid too many visits ("Judge doesn't swallow suit about fat children," Page 1, Thursday).
The bad news is that, before the plaintiffs and their attorney were thrown out of court on their fat heads, they were not assessed damages for wasting the time of the court and the nation with their frivolous, idiotic and audacious lawsuit.
It is also disappointing that the judge left open the door to another avenue for the plaintiffs to victimize McDonald's should they be able to show that the restaurant chain deceived customers about the composition of its products.
The pathetic trend in our nation today is for individuals to refuse to take responsibility for their foolish actions, as they seek to plunder the deepest pockets available by clogging our courts, in this case pitiable McDonald's, the intended victim.
It will not end until the judicial system says that enough is enough. When will hefty punitive damages be implemented to put a stop to this attempted thievery?

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Senator shamelessly reopens healed wounds

Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's mean-spirited criticism of President Bush for honoring Confederate soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery was also a slap at the South ("Reid hits Bush for cemetery wreath," Nation, Wednesday).
I personally know something about healing old wounds. In 1970, I and some 35 Marine veterans of Iwo Jima gathered with Japanese survivors on top of Mount Suribachi for a memorial ceremony honoring the dead on both sides. The Japanese laid a wreath on the plaque honoring the American dead, while a 5-year-old American boy named Kent Arnold (named for his uncle who was killed in the battle) laid one on the plaque honoring the Japanese dead. Later in Tokyo, Iwo Jima veterans of both sides held a reunion that was marked by the spirit of friendship and reconciliation.
That happened 25 years after the battle. Now one would think that after 138 years, the bitterness and hostility of the American Civil War would have been laid to rest long ago, but the likes of Mr. Reid keep reopening old wounds. Even when the Civil War was in its final bloody stage, President Lincoln called for reconciliation "with malice towards none, with charity for all," including Southerners.
This was taken to heart by some of the warriors themselves. Historian John M. Taylor recounts the postwar friendship between Union Gen. William T. Sherman and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. When Sherman died in 1891, Johnston was a pallbearer. Because of Johnston's old age and the cold weather, a member of the party said to Johnston, "General, please put on your hat." Johnston replied, "If I were in his place, and he were here in mine, he would not put on his hat." Ten days later, Johnston himself died.
We are told that presidents have laid wreaths on the Confederate monument at Arlington dating to Woodrow Wilson. Whatever one's point of view of the Civil War may be, these Confederates died defending what they believed to be a just cause, and more than nine out of 10 Southerners never even owned a slave.
One can only shake one's head at the lack of grace and charity exhibited by Mr. Reid's cheap shot, undoubtedly made for partisan political purposes.


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