The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 7, 1996 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, October 7, 1996
Page 4
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A4 MONDAY. OCTOBER 7,1996 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 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal © Quote of the day "Ronald Reagan had vision. Jack Kemp has vision. Hillary Clinton has vision, although ifs one I don't agree with. I • don't sense that from Bob Dole." Phil Mabry Texas voter By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal The dance of death THE ISSUE Public executions THE ARGUMENT Death penalty makes no sense without them A politician caught telling the truth last week has been dancing around all sorts of rhetoric trying to get himself out of trouble. Just another example of how absurd anti-crime posturing can get. In a TV debate Sept. 29, the candidates for Colorado's open U.S. Senate seat were asked if their support for capital punishment would extend to public hangings. Tom Strickland, the Democrat, said he favors the death penalty but would not support public hangings. Wayne Allard, the Republican, said he would. Strickland and his political allies jumped on the statement over the next several days to denounce Allard's view as barbaric and outrageous. By Wednesday, Allard was backpedal- ing. He never retracted his statement, but noted the question of public hangings was probably not something that would come before the Senate. The Democrats, meanwhile, continued to lay on to Allard's alleged bad taste, calling the idea of public executions "barbaric" and a throwback to "the wild, wild West." Executions are barbaric, whether they are done in a dark prison chamber at midnight or on the gallows in the town square at high noon. The shame of this entire argument is that the politicians are trying to have it both ways. They want to look tough on crime, so they support capital punishment. But they want to look refined and civilized, so. they want executions done out of the public view. This is positively surreal. The case for capital punishment is that knowing the ultimate penalty awaits will deter murder and other crimes. Yet we are so squeamish about the reality of killing human beings — even nasty ones — in cold blood that we want it all done where no one, even those we want to warn, can see it. Either this culture wants capital punishment, or it does not. If we want it, it is wrong of us to demand whatever ' -benefits it offers without also being willing to suffer the indignity of seeing the dirty deed done. Someday, America will join the rest of the civilized world in realizing that the death penalty is beneath us. But as long as we hide the reality of what we are doing from our own eyes, that realization will be far too slow in coming. T CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Making the right choice A woman's choice comes before pregnancy A ccording to the Sept. 29 issue of the Salina Journal, an Oklahoma City woman was convicted of first-degree murder. "The jury that convicted Debra Sue Dewberry on Friday recommended a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole." Her crime? She claimed her baby was born dead, so she dumped it into a dumpster. The jury believed that the baby had actually taken a breath and then was drowned in a toilet. The day before Dewberry's conviction, the U.S. Senate voted not to override President Clinton's veto of a bill that would ban partial-birth abortions. This is considered a medical procedure to end a pregnancy that has progressed past 20 weeks up through the third trimester. In this procedure the "fetal tissue" is pulled by the leg into the birth canal by the "doctor." Then the doctor delivers the "baby," oops, "fetal tissue" with the exception of the head. Then a hole is made in the "fetal tissue's" head large enough to insert a suction tube to remove the "fetal tissue's" brain. The now deceased "fetal tissue" is fully delivered and then disposed of. The "doctor" receives his fee and the "mother," oops, "liberated woman" is rid of her little problem. Unfortunately for Dewberry, the jury believed that her "fetal tissue" was fully delivered before it's life was terminated. By allowing it to take it's first breath, it be- DOUG ROGERS For The Salina Journal PRIVATIZATION? LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL came a "baby," and we all know how precious babies are. People who terminate babies deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison. This whole ordeal reminds me of one of those "What's wrong with this picture" puzzles. I can't believe that we've reached a point in this country where a person who believes that life starts in the womb is considered narrow minded and a person who performs this type of procedure is called a doctor. I'm sure that I will be accused of not being "pro-choice." However I believe very strongly in a woman's right to choose. If I'm correct, we now know what causes pregnancy to occur. Every woman has the right to control her body, and no one has the right to impregnate her without her consent and active participation. Why, there are even inexpensive methods of preventing pregnancies if a woman chooses to use them. Don't tell me I'm not pro-choice. A woman has many choices to make. But when her choices lead to pregnancy, there is another life to consider — a life so full of potential that, if it is allowed to take just one breath, will be protected with the full power of our legal system. If Dewberry had only thought to puncture her "little problem's" skull with a pair of scissors while the head was in the birth canal, she would not have had to face trial. Well, maybe she would have been arrested for practicing medi- . cine without a license, or illegal dumping. But if that child had not taken a breath, it would have only been fetal tissue and murder would not have taken place. You tell me, "What's wrong with this picture?" • Doug Rogers, Concordia, is a househusband and a member of the Salina Journal Board of Contributing Editors. We must open our hearts to the truth and to love This letter is in response to your lead article of Sept. 24, "Ministers on TM: 'Truth is not being told.' " I must commend you that included on the same front page was the article "Together Again," about the reunion of two former prisoners of war who stood by each other through the years. Either by exquisite journalistic integrity or merely divine guidance, both sides of a case were presented together. Love is always love, whatever you wish to call it or wherever you find it. Love is always love regardless of who expresses it. Men, women, Easterners, Westerners, Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and even agnostics and atheists all are' human beings struggling to achieve a working relationship with love. Since many have expressed the idea that love is the essence of the divine within humans, I guess it could be said that the struggle is a struggle of establishing a relationship with the divine. Certain facts have come to light about love which transcend all cultures, religions and other groups of thinkers. It has been said that love is patient, kind, tolerant, giving, gentle, understanding and is inclusive rather than exclusive. Love heals rather than wounds. Sometimes it is an act of love to simply remain quiet and allow people to be who they are and respect the fact that they are discovering their own way. Other times it seems like the loving thing to do is to simply tell the truth. Much, if not all, of our human dilemma revolves around the way people interact with themselves and others and call it love. People sometimes become very abusive and hurtful in the name of love. It is not loving to engage in any activity which is abusive or hurtful whether or not someone declares to be so. Anyone who still thinks otherwise might want to read "People of The Lie" by M. Scott Peck. Spiritual pride and arrogance are forms of what Father Leo Booth calls "religious abuse." Sometimes we humans, with the seemingly best of intentions, horribly attack, hurt and abuse other people with the idea of setting them straight on certain matters. We do this in our own lives, we do this in our communities and we do this in the world. The fact that we do this does not make it right. Disguising hate, arrogance, pride, self-justification and rationalization by calling it "Christian" does not change what it really is, and that is spiritually harmful to another human being. If all this were intended to retaliate or set straight the author of a recent article or the people quoted in that article, I would be engaging in exactly the same erroneous behavior. My entire purpose for this discourse is simply present another view. We all have a great deal to learn about truth and love and how to express these principles in our lives. When we close our minds we close ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. When we open our minds and our hearts we discover a great reality of life which lies beyond any box of identification we may give it. When we let go of our prejudices, hatreds and biases, we discover what is meant by emptying ourselves. It is there in the seeming emptiness that we find the truth about love, about God — a God of principle which transcends any name we could give it. From personal experience I can say that the communities following the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are committed to expressing true spiritual qualities of love not to just merely talking and thinking about them. I would hope that our community can do the same and somewhere within themselves find the courage and the strength to stand up in truth and. love. It is time tp set all else aside and open our mind's and hearts to the inclusiveness of love. — GERRY SICKLER Salina • Gerry Sickler is an ordained Unity minister. Letter made a troubling suggestion 1 responded with horror to Jack Selbe's letter to the Journal ("Pray for them") in the Sept. 22 paper. I urge Mr. Selbe to explain his meaning. Maybe then I can stop assuming the worst. He suggests a prayer for President Clinton. He believes "the best one could be found in Psalms 109:6-12." I did what he obviously hoped. I looked up those verses of Psalm 109. They petition that a man be judged, condemned, killed and have his office taken by another. Verse 9 reads: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." Verse 12 continues: "Let there be none to extend mercy unto him; neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children." Surely Mr. Selbe does not advocate the death — or the assassination — of the president. Surely no Christian would pray for such an event. I fervently hope that this "prayer" is unrelated to the recent statement by Pat Robertson that his followers should not despair about the lead President Clinton has over Senator Dole. He assured his people that surely a miracle will occur — that divine intervention will change the apparent outcome of the coming election. I am reminded of a line in "Becket," a play about the assassination of Thomas Beckett in the 12th century. King Henry II, frustrated by the moral stands taken by his old friend Thomas after he became archbishop, said to his lieutenants, "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?!" His men acted on his obvious meaning. I sincerely hope that I misread Mr. Selbe's suggestion, — SHARON TEXLEY Lindsborg P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 Bible calls on us to pray for those in power In a recent letter to the Journal, someone suggested that we pray that awful sufferings be heaped upon the president of the United States. This is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches. "First of all, then I urge that supplications,' prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in' high position that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every 1 way." (First Tim. 2:1) " ; Who were the kings when St. Paul wrote those words? Well, to say the least, they were 1 Romans and not Christians, and yet God's servant at that time told us to pray for them, not to bring down horrible suffering upon them. ' The political activity of the so-called "Chris- - tian Collection" has made for some strange bedfellows. This group, strongly anti-abortion, is aligned with a presidential candidate, Bob ' Dole, who, with the National Rifle Association,' fought hard against the Brady bill and against the assault weapons ban. The other Republicans are fighting hard to eliminate the Head, Start program, and health care and education' for children. We must also remember that Bob Dole voted against Medicare when it was first; introduced in Congress. It almost forces one to • conclude that the "Christian Collection" and' its allies are saying: "We will defend every; baby from conception to birth, but after you' are born, baby, you are strictly on your own." — EUGENE K. NELSON Lindsborg Teach every child You may be in trouble. Reading your, columns I find I agree with your opinions more often than not. Your opinion "Alien intelligence" (Sept. 20) was brilliant. The John Adams quote was almost enough to make you cry. This was the kind of thinking that founded our country, and- I embrace it wholeheartedly. If a child, any child, comes to school and wants to learn, teach theml It doesn't make any difference if the children are aliens or not — teach them. If they stay and live here it can only improve ouri country, and if they go home it will improve theirs. Can that hurt us? — FRANK CLOUTIER Wakefield LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL are encouraged. We reserve the right to edit them for clarity or space, Please Keep ' letters brief and to a single subject, •• Please include a daytime telephone • » number for confirmation,' '•'-',''; ' ?» . i <•'•> SBURY By Q.B. TRUDEAU HftPOP, POYOU WANNA IF X COULP awM&s TO TAK£ M& TO A MW/&-

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