Zero Tolerance and What about Teachers?
Re: “A Notorius Cleric”
May 29, 2002

Father Espelage “can’t disagree … [that] a priest … guilty of hurting a child in the past … should be out [of the Catholic Church] from this day on,” apparently because he has nephews and nieces of his own. Wow! The Executive Coordinator of the Canon Law Society of America makes this personal circumstance the basis for his grudgingly expressed opinion (note the double negative construction “can’t disagree”) about the need for the Church to discipline convicted child abusers among its clergy? Such a beautiful example of the moral bankruptcy of organised religion in our society wouldn’t be so vexing, were it not that religious institutions hypocritically claim to be the divinely appointed expositors and defenders of public morality.

A. J. Garnett


Regarding your article “A Notorious Cleric,” there are certainly also public school teachers who are in prison for rape, pedophilia, and illegal sexual relationships with minors. Have you checked to see if they are receiving the pension benefits they earned while teaching? Have you written articles expressing disappointment with the National Education Association and other teachers’ unions for not making sure that those pension benefits are eliminated? If not, why not? What’s the difference between those teachers and the cleric you wrote about?

Walt McKee
Gaithersburg, Md.


Gitlin a Bit Rough on Jews
Re: “The Politics of Victimhood”
May 8, 2002

I think that the Professor Gitlin (“The Politics of Victimhood”) too easily brushes aside the realities of genocide perpetrated against the Jews. One would assume from his article that Jews suffer from baseless paranoia, and, although he does state that Jews’ “nightmares” are not strictly unfounded, he makes that argument quickly, as almost as an afterthought.

To the contrary, only a mere 60 years ago Germany was feeding the ovens at the rate of 10,000 a day. Today, there are daily stories of various acts of violence against the Jews in Europe, as well as the butchery perpetrated on women and children in Israel for no other real reason than that they are Jews.

As a person who has spent considerable time in the Middle-East, I can assure the professor that the Jews/Israelis are constantly bombarded (due to location) with Arabic TV and other media that call for the “death of all jews.”

Michael Burton


The Republic of Brown & Root
Re: “A Contract to Spend”
May 23, 2002

Regarding “A Contract to Spend,” an army friend of mind made a comment to me that, someday, first world nations will allow Brown and Root to join the UN since they have become the de facto government in so many places. They could have an island as their own sovereign corporate HQ and call it Brown and Rootopia.

Ken MacGarrigle