- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Choosing a lifestyle

The headline on your story about Focus on the Family’s recent Love Won Out conference in Silver Spring (“Homosexuality a choice, group contends,” Commentary, Sunday) got it exactly wrong. In fact, conference host Mike Haley, mindful of how often our message is mischaracterized by the media, went out of his way at a news conference during the event to tell reporters that we don’t believe anyone chooses to have same-sex attractions, but that they are the result of several complex factors, including family dynamics, personality, temperament and environmental factors.

Mr. Haley did mention the word “choose,” but only to describe the decision he made to stop acting on his own same-sex attractions because living homosexually was not what he desired for his life. It may be a fine point, but it’s a crucial one: We don’t believe anyone wakes up one morning and says, “I think I’ll be attracted to someone of my own gender today.” But we do know that thousands of men and women like Mr. Haley, after years of feeling empty while living as homosexuals, have decided to walk the long, difficult road to overcoming their same-sex desires — finding personal and spiritual fulfillment as heterosexuals at the end of that journey.

That’s the message Love Won Out offers — that there is an alternative for gays and lesbians who are dissatisfied living as gays and lesbians. That message is far from hateful, as those who protested us in Silver Spring maintain. It is hopeful.

GARY SCHNEEBERGER

Media Director

Love Won Out

Focus on the Family

Colorado Springs

Animal testing useless for humans

Amy Doolittle’s recent article on the Center for Consumer Freedom, a consumer advocacy group that is leading a denigratory campaign against PETA, was misleading (“PETA foes campaign on medical research,” Culture, et cetera, Friday). I invite readers to visit consumerdeception.com to have a detailed bio of what CCF is and does. As far as animal testing goes, should humans have relied on the effects of penicillin on mice we would have never discovered its benefits, since penicillin kills mice. What about strychnine that kills humans but has no effect on monkeys? Aspirin is good for humans but kills cats, and arsenic is poisonous to humans but cures sheep. Vioxx, Celebrex and Lipobay are the most recent failures of drugs which were tested on animals but have toxic effects on humans. Vioxx has, at the moment, 11,000 litigations pending.

Fleming did not discover penicillin torturing chimpanzees, saccharin was blamed as carcinogenic after being tested on animals and thalidomide caused deformities in children after positive animal test results.

The truth is that instead of conducting fake tests on poor animals, labs should start using alternative methods — such as tossicogenomics, approved by the FDA, USDA and EPA. No good can come from exploitation, torture and killing.

CINZIA MADDALENA

Washington

Pro-life, pro-choice

Nat Hentoff (“The devaluing of human life,” Op-Ed, Monday) tells the story of a 9-year-old boy explaining to his physician/abortionist mother that abortion is killing a baby. The mother retorts that there are months when abortion cannot be performed. This is an incorrect assertion that Mr. Hentoff did not correct.

In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot stop a woman from having an abortion in the first six months of pregnancy but can prevent an abortion in the last three months of pregnancy except if it is done to preserve the life or health of the mother.

In another decision, Doe v. Bolton, handed down on the same day as the Roe v. Wade decision, the court defined health so broadly that any reason suffices to qualify as a health exception. The result is that abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

It is more than 33 years since the Supreme Court decisions gave us abortion on demand for all nine months of pregnancy. It is about time it is reported correctly.

JOHN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring

My hat is off in respect to Nat Hentoff and his Monday column, “The devaluing of human life.” Mr. Hentoff has described in a few short paragraphs the essence of the two ongoing political debates. The two issues involve the ethics of killing a fetus and that of the death penalty for capital punishment. There are many Republicans who are against abortions but for the death penalty and plenty of Democrats who are for abortion but against the death penalty. Mr. Hentoff has succinctly exposed the hypocritical ethics that must be used by each side to hold those two opposing views.

Life is always precious. Mr. Hentoff ends his article with the sentence, “And so, the termination of ‘lives not worth living’ goes on.” This applies both to those on death row and those unborn waiting for death in the abortion clinics. While I understand that the victims’ families need closure in death penalty cases, it should be easy to have life without parole mean just that. This could also free our society from the worry of executing the wrong person.

As Americans, we need to hold ourselves and our country to a higher standard of morality and place a higher value on human life.

NEIL C. ARNOLD

Fort Belvoir, Va.

The good and bad of Yugoslavia

Jeffrey Kuhner himself is mistaken — not the Macedonian Prime Minister he quotes — about the Yugoslav idea and on several other counts (Yugoslavia, rest in peace, Commentary, Friday).

First, Yugoslavia was dead not when Montenegro declared independence this month, but when Slovenia and Croatia did so 15 years ago after Slobodan Milosevic had started to recreate Serb domination by force.

Second, the Yugoslav Federation consisted not just of six South Slavic republics but also of two autonomous provinces: mostly Albanian Kosovo and ethnically most diverse Vojvodina. The former is on the path to independence, while the latter — singularly among the eight constituent parts of the old federation — has not regained even the level of autonomy it enjoyed until 1988 when Milosevic’s hired hordes seized it.

Third, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was not just an artificial creation by victorious Allies in 1918 but indeed the dream (much like German and Italian unification) of South Slavic intellectual elites, particularly those living in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. That it was later abused by those who pushed their own nationalistic goals of domination (as correctly observed by the author) could hardly be blamed on the dreamers more than the American Civil War could be blamed on the Founding Fathers.

Finally, while Mr. Kuhner correctly notes many atrocities committed in that country, he completely ignores the best of Yugoslavia by burying it between Tito’s war conduct and the fall of communism. Yet, having been born there of deeply religious and anti-Communist parents and having grown up there as a member of the continuously decimated Hungarian minority, I am deeply grateful for all the intellectual and material opportunities the Yugoslavia of 1968-88 offered even to a non-Slav — especially compared to the much worse lot of Hungarians and others in the neighboring, and threatening, Soviet block.

Yugoslavia was many things both good and bad, but never a God, not even a failing one. Depicting it, however, as almost Satanic — instead of those who brought such fate upon its peoples — is warped and unjust.

TIBOR PURGER

Fairfax, Va.

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