The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 26, 1996 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, January 26, 1996
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Page 12
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B2 FRIDAY. JANUARY 26, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Sallna, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal ©aol.com Quote of the day "If it had gone on much longer, this chaplain would have been required to register as a lobbyist." state Rep. David Adkins R-Leawood, referring to the controversial House prayer offered Tuesday by Pastor Joe Wright By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal From the depths of our souls THE ISSUE Prayer in public places THE ARGUMENT Don't limit prayer by making it public T he Kansas House of Representatives Tuesday got a good look at the real face of public prayer. It wasn't pretty. Pastor Joe Wright, of Wichita's Central Christian Church, delivered the usual morning invocation before Tuesday's session of the House, as many ministers from around the state are often invited to do. But Wright's offering was anything but routine. The good pastor equated welfare with laziness, tolerance with the worship of false gods, and attacked abortion and homosexuality. It offended some House members enough to bring them to their feet, and to the podium, to denounce such sentiments. But it is rude and pointless to criticize the minister for doing what he was asked to do — to pray. What is wrong here is the widely held belief that all those inoffensive, unmemorable, beige homilies we have heard in legislatures, graduations and so many other public forums over many years are really prayers. A real prayer is a person's heart talking to God. Wright — Pastor Joe to his friends — was telling God what was honestly in his heart. The problem here was that many others, whose hearts contain different ideas to share with God, were listening and were offended by what they heard. The sentiments Pastor Joe expressed Tuesday are offensive and hateful. The true contents of a human soul often are. But no other human being has the right to tell Pastor Joe to clean up his conversations with God just because other people are listening. It is time to be honest. Prayer, to be real and meaningful, is the most private experience a thinking human being can have. If it is true look into one's soul, it. will doubtless offend a great many people. To expect any prayer to be sanitized for our protection is to rob it of its feeling, of its meaning. It is not the public forum that needs to be protected from prayer. It is prayer that needs to be protected from the public forum. People who are about to enter legislative deliberations, or go to school, can pray alone or in groups of like-minded people before entering the public sphere. At a minimum, many people will find that it cleanses the spiritual . palate before beginning a difficult task. For those who so benefit, it would be ridiculous to replace a meaningful encounter with the Infinite'with some one-size-fits-all babble, stripped of all its real meaning to ensure that it offends no one. Prayer in legislative bodies or public schools is a sterile hybrid of the most public and the most private. Those who value either should do all they can to keep them apart. Police chief defends the Bill of Rights Sunday's editorial, relative to your opinion that I don't respect constitutional rights and "need a refresher course in the Bill of Rights," was very disappointing to say the least. I have always felt that it is a great privilege to be a police officer in a democratic society, and I have spent my entire law enforcement career protecting the civil rights guaranteed in the Constitution, which form the foundation of our democratic society and the rule of law. Moreover, it is my personal and professional belief that it is incumbent upon all members of the Salina Police Department to enforce the law and deliver police service in a manner that respects and protects the rights guaranteed to each citizen by the Constitution and our laws. Despite what you may think, that is exactly what we strive to do, and our record over the past five years proves it. Please don't judge and condemn the dedicated men and women of eh* Salina Police Department by <vr.« misinterpreted statement by their chief during the , of an hour-long interview, better, George. And citizens, whom we both e better. JAMES D. HILL Chief of Police Salina T THE OBSERVER You have to be rich to run Without his millions, Steve Forbes' presidential candidacy would be going nowhere S uddenly he is Steve.,Never heard of the guy until the other day, and already I'm calling him Steve. Rich is what Steve is. Rich, rich, rich. Rich, rich, rich is what you have to be nowadays to run for president. If unrich, what a downer! Months and years of your life have to be spent raising the necessary millions. Think of the horror: having to spend 95 percent of your life being charming to the kind of people who can cough up millions. We are talking lobbyists, corporate extortionists, lawyers, publishers half-mad with the lust for power, movie and television titans. Because without millions, Jocko, you're going nowhere, * you're a joke, you are dead, dead, dead, which is a joke without a punch line. And don't get huffy about being called Jocko. We are talking about your doomed run for the presidency, and there's something infectious about the fake breeziness of presidential candidates. You call them Steve, you call them Bob. You call them Bill, Phil and Pat. Go ahead and be a T CAN SHE SAY THAT? LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 RUSSELL BAKER The New York Times Jocko. It will make you sound manly, a regular guy who will never let anybody stuff his shirt, by golly. Lamar Alexander would love to be Jocko. Because who is going to vote for somebody called Lamar when they can have Bob, Bill, Phil, Pat or Steve? See there? You don't even know who Lamar Alexander is, do you? If he were Jocko Alexander you'd know. But Lamar Alexander? Doesn't sound like a regular guy. Sounds like an investment banking house. Steve's last name is Forbes. Being rich, rich, rich means he doesn't have to court moneybags for his presidential running money. He can use his own. He doesn't have to be charming to anybody but himself. You can see the advantage of this in Steve's warm, genial, pleasantly unlined face. In that face you see none of the alarming desperation etched so plainly in the faces of Bob, Bill, Phil, Pat and — can you bear to hear this? — Lamar Alexander. Steve's thing is the flat tax, whatever that may be. After being elected, he would have Congress enact the flat tax and good things would ensue. We would bury the IRS, for instance. (Three cheers and a big locomotive for that funeral!) Serbs, Croats and Bosnians would start behaving, humility would flourish in Texas, oil companies would donate 50 percent of their profits to charity, and Hillary Clinton would be sent home under orders never again to do anything but needlepoint. Actually, Steve doesn't make all these claims for the flat tax, but neither does he say anything except that flat taxing would make life better for taxpayers everywhere. Which is disputed by the likes of Bob, Bill, Phil, Pat and — oh, let's say it — Lam. Nasty old self-interest may motivate their disagreement with Steve. Steve's flat-tax thing has been fetching the voters with the idea that, in a time when nobody else has an idea worth listening to, Steve's idea is a humdinger. Actually Steve's idea is nutty. You don't have to understand the flat tax to see why. The why is in its simplicity. Anybody with any experience of anything dreams of somebody discovering the one great, simple, unified-field solution to everything. And knows there's no such thing. The rule every voter ought to embroider and hang oh the inside of his skull is, "Beware of the simple solution." Last election, Ross Perot made things sound simple by saying our problems could be solved if we got out of the car, looked under the hood and went to work on the mess under there. Anybody here looked under the hood of his car lately? The day when you could fix things in there with pliers and a screwdriver are no more. It now takes a rocket scientist with computer backup just to find the spark plugs. Fixing the United States is even more complicated. Anybody remember the passions exposed by the O.J. Simpson verdict? Anybody really think the flat tax will fix all that? The problem is not Steve. He looks like a rich, rich, rich man enjoying an outing. The problem is people who will take him seriously. Phil Gramm, a blue-collar Republican The Republicans indulge themselves in their own rounds of class warfare I Journal wastes space and costs too much Some time back The Journal solicited opinions and suggestions from their subscribers in order to update the newspaper and change it to be exactly what the readers want. Oh-oh, I said. Here comes the increase. The new format included: full color photos all through every edition of children cavorting in the snow, in the parks, autumn leaves, blossoms, etc. The black- and-white photos are very clear and detailed. As a result, the newspaper became larger because of needlessly used space; and surely, anyone who can read does not need a letter of the alphabet to precede each page number. If we want art for viewing, we have excellent local sources available, such as the Salina Art Center, the Bluestem Gallery and the public library. Now, the Jan. 7 edition of the Journal proclaims in big black letters the rising cost of paper. The cost of everything else has risen, as well. My 2.6 percent increase in Social Security benefits does not keep pace. I'm sorry, Journal. When the inevitable cost increase strikes, I am not sure I can afford the luxury of having you, after years and years of your appearing at my home. — DELLABURCH Salina was walkin' along, mindin' my own bidness the other day, when Our Man Phil Gramm popped up and announced to the world that he's a "blue-collar Republican." So now I know how Jessica-who-fell-in-the-well felt. I went home to lie down from the shock, and then class warfare broke out in the Republican ranks. I had to put a cold com- $ press on my head. Robert Novak said on CNN the other day that discussing class was "unbecoming to a Republican." That's Novak, the party's etiquette officer. The vision of Gramm in a blue work shirt is still haunting me ($19.99 at Academy Surplus, Phil), but aside from the injuries I got while falling about laughing, I'm much better now. All this class warfare was touched off by Steve Forbes and his Itty-Bitty Post- * card brainstorm. For you latecomers to the festivities, Mr. Forbes — of the Forbes magazine fortune — is hell-bent on making our lives simpler. Thus, he wants to institute a flat tax rate so we can all file our returns on Itty-Bitty Postcards and eliminate the IRS. The R's, naturally, are enchanted with this notion: The poor pay more, the rich pay less, and it's all so simple, see? Besides, it does away with yet another gummint bureaucracy. MOLLY IVINS Fort Worth Star-Telegram The television commentators were priceless in their attempts to help us understand how we will all benefit, or not, from the Itty-Bitty Postcard scheme. "Take an average, middle- class family making $80,000 a year," said one pundit. The median income for a family of four in this country is slightly more than $30,000. That means one half of such American families are living on less than that. Oh well, the guy was only off by 160 percent or so. Another chunk of the political press cprps was at the University of Texas this weekend, peering at Professor Jim Fishkin's experiment. Fishkin is the guy who thought it would be interesting to find out how voters would vote if they knew something more about the issues than they can find out from campaign ads. So he got this scientifically selected, random sample of Americans together to study and discuss public policy for three days, and it turned out to be an interesting deal. The social scientists were in seventh heaven. "So this is what America looks like," they kept saying. Social scientists are used to counting black and white, male and female in polls, but apparently they never think of stuff like guys with ponytails and people in wheelchairs. Two people obligingly died before they could attend the issues convention, which made the statisticians very happy because it was statistically perfect. As I have long maintained (oh, I am just right all the time), when you get a bunch of perfectly, statistically average Americans together, what you notice is that (A) they're quite bright, (B) they're quite nice and (C) they like each other a lot more than they thought they would from seeing each other on the DOONESBURY nightly news. Unfortunately, none of this seemed to affect the politicians, who were just as politicianish as usual. Good on Fishkin, and may he and all his works flourish. But the fact is that we're not going to get a better form of democracy until we change the way campaigns are financed. Congress is busy making the campaign financing mess worse instead of better, so let's go back to our Truth- in-Packaging proposal. This is the one where we make politicians like NASCAR race drivers and force them to wear the logos of the special interests who pay for them on their clothes and briefcases.. Using a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity on the presidential candidates' top career patrons, we can chart how Truth-in-Packaging would work. Bob Dole's all-time top career patron is California's Ernest & Julio Gallo, from whom Dole has gotten $381,000. (We're not in Kansas anymore.) Imagine him decked out in a fine Ernest & Julio Gallo jacket and a T-shirt that says, "I (heart) Gallo." Dole would also sport an Archer-Daniels-Midland gimme cap ($217,000) and have ADM logos displayed on his campaign buses (170 trips on ADM planes; this courtesy the Forbes campaign via The Nation magazine). Visualize President Clinton, on the other hand, outfitted in a designer jacket from his top contributor, Goldman Sachs ($107,850), and an "I (heart) Gallo" gimme cap ($50,000). And we also might want to envision Gramm rigged out in a lovely bulletproof National Rifle Association jacket ($440,000), along with an official American Medical Association stethoscope to show the support of his second top career patron ($140,467). By G.B. TRUDEAU 'MIKE: WHY PO I THAT5AM % YOUANPZQNK ALWAYS HANP15 II fT'5BY TH5.MAILBA6?»}\ POPULAR , EV&&PAY, 6IVBN GARPEN-FR55H NEW POLLIN6 PATA... PATA WHICH VOXPOPUU! WU&TtTALOVB IT! GOHFIRMS THAT... H&&5TH5 LAT& MR..P! CWRACT8®

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