February 2, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

Double Standard of Justice Alive and Well

Was justice served with the judicial wrist tap for Valerie Stallings and, for more important, the total exoneration of lavish gift-giving Padres owner John Moores? A simple test conclusively answers this question.

Imagine that ballpark opponents Bruce Henderson and Richard Rider gave these same gifts to a city council member who would be voting on the hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidies for the Padres. Imagine further that this council member periodically called Henderson and Rider from closed city council meetings, keeping them appraised on how the deal was going. Would the government prosecution (beholden to the politicans) reach the same conclusion -- that no wrongdoing by the "naysayers" had occurred?

Even though these two had zero personal financial interest in the project, the prosecution would have fought to give Rider and Henderson lengthy prison sentences and massive fines. Of that there can be no doubt. The Union-Tribune editors would be crowing about the indictments, claiming that the "obstructionists" had it coming.

The double standard of justice is alive and all too well in America.

Bonney Wikkering
Chula Vista

Bush Charity Plan Unconstitutional

Now our tax dollars will go to faith-based charities which provide social service. These charities are supposed to not force their religion upon the recipient.

The bottom line is this: what is the goal and mission of these faith-based charities? They do not exist to merely help humanity. Their ultimate aim is to bring maximum number of converts into their fold. They have effectively used service as a means to achieve this end. In the process of helping, these charities exert tremendous overt and covert pressure on the recipients.

Government funding of service projects of such charities frees up their existing funds for conversion. Thus the Bush administration's decision to fund faith-based charities is nothing but subsidization of conversion efforts in favor of particular religions, and hence unconstitutional.

The Bush administration recently stopped funding those foreign family-planning groups which allow abortions, claiming to stop subsidizing abortions. Now it wants to subsidize conversions through funding faith-based charities. Have they forgotten their own logic, and their oath to protect the Constitution?

Pushpa Srinivasan
White Plains, NY

Gag Rule A Gag On Freedom

President George W. Bush declared a war on women worldwide with his first executive order reinstating the "gag rule" on international family planning groups that receive U.S. federal aid from using separate, private monies for abortion services and even counseling. Tens of thousands of women in developing nations will die each year as a result of Bush's decision.

Abortion counseling and services are greatly needed throughout the world. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that 150 million women worldwide lack access to reliable information about family planning and reproductive health. Out of 585,000 maternal deaths each year, 200,000 are attributable to lack of contraceptive access or contraceptive failure, and 50,000-100,000 result from complications of unsafe abortions.

With no other options, young women in developing nations will again be forced to turn to illegal abortions, too many of them dying as a result of serious infections. In too many countries, young and unmarried women who have no access to contraception or to even illegal abortion face the cruel consequences of an unwanted pregnancy: acid burnings, beatings, and even death.

Christopher Greenspan
San Diego

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