TO THE EDITOR: I applaud Armstrong Williams' column about the president, "Our leaders must discuss faith" (March 12). He states he is "quite pleased that Bush continues to push faith into the political mainstream," and that Bush referred to liberty as "God's gift to humanity." That is the same belief Jefferson wrote into our Declaration of Independence: that all people are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."
The relativists or secularists have assumed positions of authority far above their proportion in our population. It is refreshing to have a president who is bold enough to publicly express the kind of faith on which our nation was founded, and to which most Americans hold fast.
Winifred B. Clayton, Anderson Township
Boycott Dixie Chicks for Maines' big mouth
This is in response to Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks comments about President Bush (March 17). She has every right to freedom of speech, and we have every right to boycott the Chicks. I love country music, but I wouldn't walk across the street to see the Dixie Chicks for free after what she said. There are consequences for having a big mouth.
Jim Kohler, Trenton, OH
Malariotherapy worth investigating
Dr. Henry Heimlich should be applauded for his research on treating AIDS with malariotherapy. The type of malaria used was easily curable with medications, and indeed there were no serious complications reported in his research project. The research was carried out according to the scientific guidelines.
Medications used to treat AIDS are not highly effective, can be toxic and are prohibitively expensive. Resistance to these medications is developing.
Malariotherapy is much cheaper than conventional drugs for AIDS. Health officials from several African counties have expressed considerable interest in Heimlich's pilot project. The therapy has the potential to be a major force against one of our greatest disease challenges.
Terry Cappell, M.D., Bluffton, OH
Massage therapists don't run 'parlors'
I was rubbed the wrong way by Jennifer Edwards' Feb. 28 article on Fairfield's ban on paid unlicensed massages. Edwards writes, "It is not illegal to run an unlicensed massage parlor, but most legitimate ones are licensed, city officials say."
Being a licensed massage therapist, I don't know of anyone in my profession who would call his or her business office a parlor.
Joan Bowie, Oxford
Women's bodies part of Catholic identity
Those who call for censoring the Vagina Monologues seem to be quite certain that the play's use of reproductive anatomy as a rhetorical starting point for women's reflection upon major life events is a device that comes from the corrosive secular culture that threatens the Catholic identity they so cherish. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Chapter one of Luke's gospel, for example, is replete with talk of wombs and the momentous happenings therein. Upon learning of her cousin Mary's pregnancy, St. Elizabeth announces proudly that "the child in my womb leaped for joy." The Virgin Mary herself, upon learning that her own vagina is to become the conduit of salvation, praises her God, who has "filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed." These saintly ladies would doubtless be accused of pornography and class warfare if they were to speak so frankly in America today.
Congratulations to Xavier students and faculty for recognizing women's voices and bodies as integral to Catholic identity. Shame on the Cardinal Newman Society and Xavier administration for conflating Catholic identity with repressive American conservative ideology.
Christopher Fellerhoff, East End
Xavier displayed courage on play
I salute Xavier University's administration for disallowing The Vagina Monologues, a clearly inappropriate play on its campus. The university displayed courage in the face of a declining culture. An example of our declining culture was the recent play Proof at the Playhouse in the Park. It had a noble theme; however, it was packaged in repulsive language. The offensive barrage of the "F-word" was an insult to my cultural anticipations and an embarrassment to my date.
In addition, a supporting audience desensitized by such repulsive language especially disappoints me. They did not seem to be a bit disturbed. The theater community should follow the noble example of Xavier University in being selective toward wholesome culture.
Joseph Martino Jr., Lexington.
St. Pat's parade marred at its end
My wife and I are writing to express our grave disappointment in the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department. As longtime residents of Cincinnati, we proudly watched our brother make his first march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Unfortunately, the parade was marred by the arrogant display made by our own sheriff's department.
Not only did the HCSD put a somber mood of the day by displaying its penchant for high-priced military toys (from the armored personnel carrier to the underwater rescue vehicle) but far more egregious and telling was the display near the end of the sheriff's procession.
Following the equestrian team of four to five horses and riders were two African Americans in prison stripes given the humiliating task of sweeping the mess left behind by the animals. (Mr. Leis, if you plead ignorance, the 20-foot inflatable balloon was your visible endorsement of everything that followed.)
Two days ago we felt that Damon Lynch III and the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati were seeing ghosts where they didn't exist. Our naivety has been exposed by the arrogant "in your face" attitude displayed Sunday afternoon. We hope the other politicians and voters in this county took note.
Todd and Kellie Siler, Wyoming
Prisoners in parade reminder of slavery
While watching the entertaining St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown, I was interested in, bored by, and then horrified at Sheriff Simon Leis portion of the parade.
It started out simply and innocently enough with bagpipes and sheriffs marching by. But it turned into a showy display of the sheriff's fancy fleet. Near the end of the Leis flotilla which went on and on, I joked about the sheriff's department having a jail cell and prisoners in the parade. Much to my dismay, I saw just this. It wasn't actually a jail cell, but they had two "prisoners" wearing the prisoner costume. It gets worse. The two "prisoners" were African-American males. They were marching behind horses and had a garbage can and shovel to clean up horse excrement.
First of all, very poor judgment. We who were watching the parade discussed openly how inappropriate this was. Why only African-American prisoners? Whether these men were volunteers or prisoners, it was not right to display only African-American males as prisoners. And to make them clean up horse dung? It was too much. It reminded my husband of slavery. What kind of message did this send to the crowd? And was it intentional?
Dianna Schweitzer, Clifton
Diplomatic window: Closes
NCAA hoops: Madness Central
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Letter: Alternative to historic preservation must be found