- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The benefits of a Catholic education

Thank you for your excellent article on the new breed of Roman Catholic colleges (“Answer to a Prayer,” Page 1, Tuesday).

Your reporter captured the heart of the problem of dissent presentinmainstream Catholic higher education and showed how such colleges as Christendom in Front Royal, Va., Ave Maria in Michigan and Florida, the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and Thomas Aquinas in California are attracting students, nourishing them with the truth and challenging them to live authentic Catholic lives in the world. A certain percentage of the graduates follow a religious vocation — 10 percent to 12 percent, your article stated — but the majority are out there, working, marrying, having children and happily bearing witness to their faith.

I am grateful that all six of my children were able to attend Christendom College. I believe that sending them there is one of the most important contributions I could make to their lives. I can see it had a strong influence for good on them all.

OLIVIA MCFADDEN

McLean

Give aid to elderly, not amnesty to illegal aliens

After reading the article “Democrats embrace amnesty for illegals” (A1, Saturday), I am totally convinced that the Democratic Party is trying to destroy the entire country.

One of the reasons we had the tragedy of September 11 was because of the lack of security of allowing foreigners into our country. They are still continuing to conduct insufficient security screenings for foreigners and are giving assistance to illegal aliens. Yet, the senior citizens of this country, who have made contributions to society all of their lives, are not given any assistance — insurance is a disaster and we have no medication. Yet, we are willing to help outsiders.

I am utterly disgusted with the Democratic Party and Congress. These gentlemen and ladies continue to get their salaries and complete health insurance coverage for them and their families after they retire. Yet, when it comes to the middle class in this country, there is absolutely nothing. They even gave themselves a salary increase, but yet there is no money in the budget for prescription drug aid or improvingMedicare.They should be ashamed of themselves. Such behavior is outrageous.

They should live in Miami. I certainly would like to see if they would feel the same, or if they would say “not in my backyard.”

IRAIDA RIVERO MENDEZ

Miami, Fl.

Democracy demands an educated population

In regard to the article, “Bush touts benefits of school reforms, readies Iraq address,” (Nation, Sunday): As a teacher since 1973, I would have flunked President Bush for his behavior at school and for his behavior as leader of the free world. He promotes education by hamstringing not only teachers, but all our nation’s students.

His promotion of massive unrestricted immigration of 2.3 million annually into this country is making it a nightmare for our teachers to teach and students to learn. First of all, we must contend with over 100 languages that we can’t understand, nor can we teach. Our students suffer as we try to work with more confusion than the Tower of Babel.

Further, Mr. Bush spends billions in Iraq while forcing our students into trailers outside our schools because there is no room for the millions of immigrant kids. We all suffer. It’s impossible to teach kids who must contend with bullying and incredible ethnic strife in our schools.

Even worse, democracy is a delicate form of government that demands an educated populationwithasimilar moral/ethical code speaking the same language. We are losing all three, as Mr. Bush inundates us with millions of people from cultures that clash with ours. The crisis accelerates by the day and the signs of it escalate with each newscast.

Before he criticizes American citizens, he needs to stick the microphone in his own ear and listen to what is happening to us. A quick look at California will show anyone what’s in store for all of us as this immigration monster grows by 2.3 million per year. What’s worse, our leaders are doing this to their own country. Our country.

FROSTY WOOLDRIDGE

Louisville

Burn, baby, burn?

Steve Chapman asks (“Soaking taxpayers to douse fires,” Commentary, Tuesday), regarding forest fires and President Bush’s Healthy Forests Initiative: “Why do we make such efforts to prevent something that has been part of the lifecycle of forests for eons?” Well, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tornados have been with us for eons, too. However, we don’t blame the people who live in California, Florida and Texas, who build homes on flood plains, fault lines, beaches or in tornado alleys, as he blames those who build homes, in his mind, that are too close to forests.

We spend money to monitor, warn and protect people from those other natural disasters as best we can. That is a legitimate function of government. We don’t tell them to fend for themselves or that we are “free not to save their bacon.” By his logic, the population of the United States should move to a benign place like North Dakota, where the only natural disaster is frostbite.

The fact is that the current rash of forest fires is anything but natural. The unprecedented fires of recent years are not the fault of other people’s refusal to live sensibly, but on bad forest management — which found a happy home in the Clinton administration. The Clintonites and the environmentalists cut back timber harvesting by 80 percent and used laws and lawsuits to put swathes of land off-limits to commercial use.

A General Accounting Office report estimates that one in three forest acres is dead or dying. Tens of millions of acres are dying from insects and diseases. They are time bombs planted by environmentalists, waiting to explode. It is no accident that forests managed by private timber companies tend not to suffer such catastrophic fires.

Blaming the recent devastating losses of homes and businesses, the current rash of forest fires and the risk firefighters face trying to save them on the fact that we permit people in a free country to live where they choose is like blaming the crime victim for living in a high-crime area.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

Felons, guns and property

If Glen R. Ellis is a convicted felon, there should be no question of whether he is charged (“Putting property ahead of life ends in disaster,” Metropolitan, Tuesday).

As a convicted felon, he is in violation of state and federal law if he has a firearm in his possession at any time. Merely picking up the gun is a federal crime for Ellis, and there is a mandatory minimum prison sentence. I have not heard that Ellis fired in self-defense, and shooting someone for the theft of property is not legal anywhere.

I am a supporter of individual gun rights through the Second Amendment, but the law is the law.

C. SCHAUMBURG

Fairfax, Va.

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