Letters to the editor - Part 2

December 21, 2003

Tom will be missed

To the editor:

The passing of Tom Balistrere creates a void in Waynesboro. Although Tom was not a "native Waynesborian," I am sure he saw it as his hometown. This is where he raised and schooled his sons, taught school, and coached basketball - all the while making a most positive impression on the youth of this community, as well as his colleagues in teaching and coaching. A wonderful man.

I began my Waynesboro coaching career the same year Tom did. At the time volleyball was a spring sport, so we would juggle gym time for practices in February. Being new to the coaching profession, I actually found myself modeling Tom's behaviors in practices and in games. Like Tom's first season here, mine was not too successful either. Wins were hard to come by. But his faith in his kids and his philosophy never wavered. His positive, upbeat demeanor was contagious to me. It was something I tried to carry with me throughout my career as a coach. And, like Tom, I tried to instill this in my athletes.


Thank you, Tom. I mourn your passing. But, I know Heaven just became an even nicer place. "God love ya'!"

Jay Heefner
Waynesboro, Pa.

Our system is superior

To the editor:

Faisal Husseini's latest missive (Attacks on Saudis not justified, 12/14) is incorrect on so many levels that it borders on incomprehension. Judging by his previous letters, it comes as no surprise that he would take the role of apologist for the Saudis, as Husseini basically is in favor of changing any government, including the U.S. government, that does not hew to his beliefs and replacing it with a Saudi-style arrangement.

As to the gist of the letter itself, Husseini states that the Saudis are unfairly "attacked" by many media outlets. In other words, to look critically at Saudi Arabia, bringing to light information that most in the U.S. are unaware of, is somehow being unfair. Is it unfair to notice that 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis? Is it unfair to chronicle the absolute hatred toward Christians, Jews, and the West in general that is spewed by many Saudi-approved Imams in the mosques? Is it an attack on Saudi Arabia when the textbooks used to teach Saudi children are shown to indoctrinate them to hate non-Muslims and to view them as something less than human?

Or how about the editorials in Saudi newspapers that describe Jews drinking the blood of Arab children as fact? Mind you, there is no "free press" as such in that country, so these sorts of writings are approved by government watchdogs.

Husseini states that there is no such term as "Wahhabism" in Islam. Here's my response in the form of a question: So what? I can call a duck a bear, but it still has the characteristics of a duck. Call it what you will, but it is still nothing more than a repressive, horrifying ideology that seeks nothing less than world dominion and seeks the destruction of anyone who would dare stand against it.

There are so many other ways to refute his letter it would require an entire page of the Sunday paper. However, there is one more issue that needs to be addressed. Husseini has learned the system well. His letter uses loaded words, like "attack," to try to intimidate local critics. There are many in the U.S. who have been conditioned to feel guilty for being American and who feel as if they aren't allowed to criticize another culture.

This is politically correct moral and cultural relativism, and people like Husseini use this to their advantage. There is absolutely nothing wrong with stating unequivocally that Western-style democracy and the free-market system are superior to a medieval autocracy.

As for the other code words in his letter, such as how the Saudis "invite" people to Islam, all I can say is "nice try." I find it easy to decline an "invitation" to a system that would relegate me to a second-class status for being a Christian or would punish my wife with public beatings for wearing a pair of shorts or driving a car. Mr. Husseini, if you prefer that sort of government, by all means move, because it will never happen here.

Doug Walker

The 'rant' was accurate

To the editor:

Steve Bell ("Who is really vulnerable?," Daily Mail, 12/10) takes considerable pride in pointing out what he wrongly perceives as professorial error. My objections to the Partial Birth Abortion Act were characterized as "liberal rant." But a check on the law shows that I was on the mark. The law does not provide for the protection of either the physical or mental health of a woman.

Bell's quotation shows only that a woman may go forward with such a procedure only if her very life is in question. It may not be used if only her health (physical or mental) is a consideration. This only portrays the appearance of compassion but the reality is absolutely missing. This farce was intentional and Bell, along with many others has been duped by the wording of the legislation.

When one takes account of the vote of women in both houses of Congress, it shows a vote of nine to five in the Senate and 35 to 26 in the House. Clearly, a majority of women legislators opposed this flawed piece of legislation. In addition, three injunctions have been issued by courts to stay the operation of this law. The reason given was the omission of provision for the protection of the health of women.

My original assessment of the issue was correct. The Republican Party is completely under the domination of the religious right. Dogma and ideology have always been higher on their scale of values than the suffering of human beings. But then they are usually more concerned with appearance than reality.

Allan Powell

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