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U.S. involvement in Libya; California's budget crisis; the Crystal Cathedral's marriage covenant

March 23, 2011

A coalition of one

Re "Strikes on Libya intensify," March 21

Here we go again, attacking another country as part of a coalition. It starts out as a coalition, then, when the conflict continues, the other members quit, leaving the U.S. to foot much of the bill.

Time and time again we end up fighting the battle alone for years and paying for something we cannot afford. Why don't we ever get out when the others leave?

Meanwhile, we are laying off teachers and police, unemployment remains at unacceptable levels, healthcare is unattainable for many and the overall economic struggle continues.

Ed Holton

Long Beach

Even though the Constitution is clear that only Congress has the authority to declare war, the executive branch continues to wield this power by simply refraining from using the "w-word."

If we are going to wage war, then let it be debated in Congress and not decreed by one man.

The president was never given such power by the Constitution; presidents have simply seized it. Nor has Congress done its job of reestablishing itself as the only branch of government with the power to declare war.

Randal Seech

San Clemente

President Obama is under fire for failing to consult Congress. I think the president's actions will prove to be right, for the following reasons:

The rebels were about to be defeated, which would have led to a bloodbath by Moammar Kaddafi.

The Arab League and the United Nations both sanctioned the no-fly zone.

Congress was not in session when the action was taken.

The U.S. is not taking the lead role in this military operation; the French and British are.

Remember Lockerbie or the Berlin nightclub bombing? Kaddafi deserves some payback.

Given the highly partisan nature of politics today, there is really nothing Obama can do without being savaged by his Republican opponents.

Ted Vaill

Malibu

Massacres have taken place all over the globe, especially in Africa, and we looked the other way. But let an oil-rich country kill a few innocent bystanders and all of a sudden the whole Western world steps in.

Seems like we've perfected a morally justified imperialism to fill our gas tanks.

David Rizzo

Fullerton

Budget talks and Gov. Brown

Re "Brown must use a stick on allies and a carrot on GOP," Column, March 21

In trying to decipher where state budget talks are now, George Skelton mixes apples and oranges.

Just because Republicans are trying to squeeze policy concessions that have nothing to do with the budget doesn't mean that their list of demands makes any sense or that it will help get California's fiscal house in order.

Environmental and public health advocates know how tough it is to get a two-thirds vote, and we know there are no great choices in the current budget debate. Everyone's got to give a little.

Legislators should listen to the people; a new poll shows that 61% of Californians want the chance to vote. We're all Californians first.

Ann Notthoff

San Francisco

The writer is California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Though I understand the ugly realities of political give-and-take, I am astounded that a major political party can label itself as anti-environment and still claim to be doing the people's business.

How is it that our budgets have been blown on unfunded wars, unscrupulous bankers and tax breaks to the wealthy, and yet it is our environmental protections and our blue-collar workers that "must give" to get Republican votes?

Once a political party has completely abandoned its social responsibilities, it is time to leave that party.

David Hayter

Los Angeles

Throwing stones at a glass house

Re "Sex covenant stirs controversy for battered Crystal Cathedral," March 17

If the purpose of the Crystal Cathedral leadership is to ensure members' adherence to literal biblical principals by having choir members sign a covenant declaring that God approves only of sex within heterosexual marriage, it has missed the mark.

All women should certify that they have not used anesthesia during childbirth, so as to follow the biblical command that women bring forth their children in suffering. All men should affirm they are not married to a previously divorced woman, so as not to commit adultery.

And women should "keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak." This at least would require the dismissal of Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman and her sister Gretchen, who are apparently responsible for this hateful fiasco in what was once a church that preached compassion and love.

Jennifer Willford

La Habra

Kudos to the Rev. Robert H. Schuller for not requiring the Crystal Cathedral's renowned architect, Philip Johnson, to sign an anti-gay "covenant." Johnson was gay.

Benjamin Rhodes

Nashville

Philosophers among us

Re "Shaking open our self-centered eyes," Opinion, March 16

Fenton Johnson brings to mind a philosopher who told us that this was a world of opposites. We live and die at the whim of nature. This is one good reason to live each day as if it were our last.

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