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Anita Hill and Virginia Thomas; The Times' front-page photo of a fallen Marine; the waning of religion among young people

October 22, 2010

A sorry state of affairs

Re "Justice Thomas' wife seeks apology," Oct. 20

Conservative activist Virginia Thomas has some gall asking Anita Hill for an apology. It's former President George H.W. Bush who owes the American people an apology for nominating her husband, Clarence Thomas, to succeed civil rights giant Thurgood Marshall as a Supreme Court justice. Thomas is the only justice who does not say a word during Supreme Court proceedings. Lawyers might as well be arguing their cases before a sphinx.

Thomas and the other right-wing justices have already crippled American democracy by deciding that large corporations can make unlimited political contributions. And they are just getting started.

Victor Silva

Hermosa Beach

The trouble with charters

Re "Don't expect miracles," Editorial, Oct. 17

I was saddened to hear of the Inner City Education Foundation's troubles. I don't know if charter schools are education's magic bullet, but I do think that our schools could vastly improve by applying some charter school teaching and operational methods to our public schools. By bypassing union and district restrictions and instituting innovative teaching methods, many charter schools really do thrive.

ICEF became too big too fast. The larger an educational system becomes, the more alienated it seems to be from its actual purpose of educating our children. Breaking up the Los Angeles Unified School District into smaller districts, renegotiating with unions for reasonable terms and creating true neighborhood school districts might deliver the results charter schools strive for.

Although I believe in the concept of excellent public education for all, I gave up on L.A. Unified recently; I switched my child to a private school.

Jenny Heitz

Los Angeles

Your thoughtful editorial regarding the limited effectiveness of charter schools reinforced a truth that is rarely mentioned during education reform discussions.

You can give charter schools lots of public and private money, allow them to pick and eliminate their students, and move teachers around like chess pieces, but you will never create a successful school until students and parents, as well as teachers, all commit to that goal. This has always been true in public education, and the charters are learning the lesson now.

Kurt Page

Laguna Niguel

Death in a front-page photo

I do not cry easily, but the Oct. 20 front-page photo of the fallen American soldier had me in tears.

The president cannot start his withdrawals of our service members soon enough for me. Losing our young for a worthy cause is bad, but losing them during a war that should never have been started is unbearable.

Valerie Fields

Los Angeles

I was shocked and dismayed to see the front-page photograph identifying the body of a U.S. soldier.

Irrespective of your agreement with or distaste for the war, publishing a dead soldier's name in that way denied him dignity as he paid the ultimate price. It was also appallingly disrespectful and insensitive to his grieving family and friends.

I am disappointed to think that publishing in major newspapers has actually become this coarse. You can do better than this.

Carmen Recker

Valley Glen

Religion and the young

Re "Losing faith," Opinion, Oct. 17

Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell have missed the crucial factor in why young people are rejecting organized religion: not because the organizations are too conservative but because those organizations are hypocritical.

The evangelical Protestants, of whom I am one, have the stance of "don't ask, don't tell" while being silent on service members buying prostitutes. They are against the sexual activities of various gays and lesbians, while the premarital sexual activities of people such as Bristol Palin are waved away with statements such as, "At least she didn't have an abortion."

It is the honest Christians who worship — and witness — the message that the gentle savior is also a demanding and commanding Lord.

Charles Hewitt

West Covina

My late grandmother told me about her church in the early 20th century, where the preachers talked about going to hell. My other grandmother was raised in a Pentecostal home. I don't remember them going to church when I was a child because, I suspect, of their scary churchgoing experiences

in their youth and early adulthood.

It makes me wonder if we're merely repeating history with a similar dose of fear and intolerance to motivate the faithful.

Keith Malone

Montecito Heights

On the Crystal Cathedral

Re "Chapter 11 for Crystal Cathedral," Oct. 19

"Tough times never last, but tough people do" is a catchy slogan for the Crystal Cathedral, but it misses a more important point. A better principle is found in 2 Corinthians 8:21: "For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."

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