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Top 10 Letters

Pinch, the separation of church and state, Abu Diddy, and more.

8:30 AM, Jun 9, 2003
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.

*1*

Noemie Emery is right on target (And a Pinch Shall Lead Them). I went to school with young "Pinch" in the late 60s (The George School, in Newtown, Pennsylvania) and was no more impressed then than Emery is now. As for readership, I'll note that my family grew up reading the Times--an ingrained habit beginning quite young. We'd fight over who got what section and then argue over its contents. Thirty-five years later, out of 7 readers in the family, only my 78-year-old mother still subscribes.

--Chris Fountain

*2*

An excellent piece on the Sulzbergers. As a waggish friend of mine puts it, "The New York Times is the world's most pretentious family business."

--Scott Belliveau

*3*

I hope that someone at the Republican National Committee pins to a prominent cubicle wall Noemie Emery's words: "spoiled rich white boys from prominent families, who tend to accede to positions of power, without talent, without being tested, and sometimes without having a clue." Dynasticism is rarely, if ever, a virtue. It is almost inconceivable that the best candidate for president or senator would be a former president's inexperienced son, or a former president's brother--or for that matter, his wife. Democrats in Minnesota have learned the hard way the price to be paid for politics-by-primogeniture. Let's hope Republicans can learn some republican virtue by 2008 and avoid their apparent reflex to regard the surnames "Bush" and "Dole" as necessary and sufficient qualifications for the highest positions in the land.

--Scott Rogers

*4*

As a Christian minister, I am not accustomed to being accused of wanting to see dead churches, as Terry Eastland asserts (The Only Good Church is a Dead Church ).

Dead churches aren't what I want, but we might get them if President George W. Bush continues to promote welfare plans for houses of worship. Since taking office, Bush has labored to find new ways to put religion on the dole. Through a combination of "faith-based initiatives" and executive orders, the president seeks to implement a wide-ranging program of state-supported religion.

The administration is savvy enough to dress this up as something less threatening. Thus, the president's latest salvo is his plan to fund "historic" churches, and the first grant went to Old North Church in Boston. After all, doesn't everyone love the story of Paul Revere's midnight ride?

But the fact is, once the principle of tax support for "historic" houses of worship has been established, government can begin funding any church simply because it is old and in need of repair--whether anything of historical interest ever happened there or not. Politicians will steer grants to any congregation whose votes they crave in the next election.

When a house of worship needs repairs, the congregants who attend it ought to pay for them. Taxpayer-funded religion, no matter how it is disguised to appear benign, is wrong.

Ironically, religion will likely suffer if we continue to go down this road and chip away at the wall of separation between church and state. Eastland mentions the dead churches of Europe. How do you think they got that way? The people turned their backs on them because clergy drew support from the government instead of the voluntary commitment of church members.

President Bush should preserve the Constitution and leave preservation of churches to the support of voluntary contributors.

--The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Executive Director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State

*5*

I wonder, how do these same advocates fighting the preservation of Old North feel about the number of Native American sacred sites protected by the Park Service?

--Matt Edens

*6*

Wonderful Hugh Hewitt article about blogs (The Big Four).

It's interesting, though. I went to both FreeRepublic.com and DemocraticUnderground.com, and found out that if you're not a "progressive" or Democrat, you'll be banned from posting on the latter site whereas FreeRepublic states its intent, but only asks for no "inappropriate" postings. The conservative site doesn't ban posting based on political proclivities.

All blogs are not the same.

--Aaron Levisay

*7*