Letters to the Editor
December 2000

 Be careful of backlash

Last month a letter described two patients near death, one seeking removal of treatment to hasten death, the other seeking active intervention for the same end, the first legal, the second illegal.

We must remember that victories achieved over the last 30 years that allow the removal of treatment were argued on the basis that there is a great distinction between removal and active intervention. The ethical argument that the patient's refusal of treatment is basically the same as assisted suicide was used against the movement for patient autonomy. It easily could be used again to turn back the clock and deny patients and families the right to remove life support and stop feeding and hydration measures.

Serving on a hospital ethics committee, I know that such a backlash is already occurring in the minds of some physicians who wish to distance themselves as far as possible from Dr. Kevorkian.

The Rev. Michael J. Moran
First Congregational UCC
New Milford, Conn.

"PC" charge a cop-out

A couple of observations:

(1) As an Indian (Indian, Native American, whatever—both are basically European terms, so I stick with the familiar) and a resident of the Washington, D.C., suburbs, I wish a distinction could be drawn between the use of just any Indian-inspired mascot/team name and those that, like that of Washington's NFL franchise, are simply racist epithets. Both are to be discouraged, of course; but the clearly racist nicknames like Washington's are in a category of their own.

(2) I've heard all the so-called arguments for keeping the current name, and none have any validity whatsoever. The accusation of "political correctness" is especially galling. I've come to believe—supported by observation—that the "PC" accusation is a cop-out used to cover up a lack of sufficient character to change behavior known to be needlessly hurtful to others.

Steve Wheelock
via the Internet

Don't blame Israel

Last month's article, "Children become targets in Palestine violence," lays total blame upon Israel for the continuing bloodshed that is washing away the Middle East peace efforts. To say the least, I disagree. Are you not conscious of the fact that the Arab nations have never made any effort to incorporate the Palestinians into their own nations—unlike Israel, that has given a home to the Jews who were forced or felt compelled to leave the Arab nations?

Have you not heard of the Intifada proclaiming death for just about everybody who is not of the radical Muslim fanatic bent—a violation of God's word to be kind to your neighbors?

Have you not noticed the many years of bombings that have been inflicted by the Palestinians and other Arabs on innocent Jews, including many small children?

Get real, please. Peace is a two-way street—or used to be.

Bill Denhard
Reading, Mass.

Don't treat me differently

I am not sure a "gay scholarship fund" is appropriate. As a human rights attorney and a gay seminarian, I think I am more interested in policies and programs that do not treat me differently than anyone else. A scholarship fund that discriminates based on sexual orientation does just that.

Bob Waterman
via the website

No more ‘staid and boring'

I've grown up in the U.C.C. and I am a Pastor's spouse, as well. Quite honestly, the United Church News has always seemed a bit staid and boring, until the November 2000 issue. It's amazing!

The lead story about Mrs. Emiko Abe was an excellent article about faith in action. I appreciated the reminder in Focus on Faith "to remember the specific things ... which God has graced [us] with this day." It's easy to generalize; much harder to name specific things about which we are thankful.

The Current Comment gave me words to describe my personal struggle and my church's struggles with abundance vs. scarcity, especially as we're closing our stewardship campaign. At the end of the article I thought, "Yes, that's it!"

Keep up the good work. The changes in the UC News' format and content are great, and provided me many "spiritual nuggets" on which to chew.

Cindy Goller
First Congregational UCC
DePere, Wis.

Event renewed their souls

I just read the article on our church, Zion UCC in Henderson, Ky., on the UCC web site. It was a wonderful article. I believe it will help us attract more participants for the Peace and Justice Weekend next year. Maybe it will even inspire other churches to host the same kind of event. We activists do become weary and it is what we call a "liberal church's form of a revival." We really do renew our souls.

Glenda Guess
Zion UCC
Henderson, Ky.

People decide to join

Clergy support for Planned Parenthood, including that of many UCC clergy, reflects the belief that God calls us through the Scriptures to minister to all, especially those most in need.

It is our faith conviction that individuals must be allowed to make their own decisions about abortion. Further, we believe that family planning and comprehensive sexuality education are the best ways to reduce unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion.

Planned Parenthood agrees. It provides contraceptive and education services to nearly 5 million Americans and performs nearly 200,000 abortions. Serving those on the margins of society, Planned Parenthood continues to be, as it has always been, an integral part of the struggle to achieve justice for women and their families.

Perhaps that is why a number of clergy have found that their association with Planned Parenthood has not driven people away, but has, instead, encouraged many to join their congregations.

The Rev. Thomas R. Davis
Chair, Planned Parenthood Federation of America,
Clergy Advisory Board
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
(For the full text of this letter and a list of all the signatories, please visit the UCC Web site.)