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Views in brief

February 10, 2006 | Page 4

OTHER VIEWS BELOW:
A faith-based scandal
Kick ROTC off campus

Carter wasn't a lesser evil

I GREATLY appreciated Paul D'Amato's article "Beware Wolves in Democrat Clothing" (January 20). I especially liked how he exposed the hypocrisy of Jimmy Carter. I have often felt that Carter did more damage to this country than any other president.

It was Carter who started rolling back the political and social gains of the 1960s. With his pious speeches about how "the government can't do everything" and "life is unfair," as well as his cynical exploitation of the Iran hostage non-crisis, he pulled the political climate to the right.

Consider the fact that when Ronald Reagan ran for the presidency in 1976, he was widely dismissed as a right-wing crank. After four years of Carter, Reagan's views seemed "mainstream." Those who think the Democrats are a "lesser evil" would do well to consider this.
Evan Kornfeld, Los Angeles

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A faith-based scandal

AT THE House of Refuge in Salt Lake City, Utah, "rehabilitation" apparently includes forced labor. According to recent news reports, the substance-abuse rehabilitation program, run by the Central Christ Church, is currently under investigation by the Utah Department of Human Services.

Investigators say that the men in the program--who were ordered into it by judges or state agencies--were forced to work as telemarketers for 28 cents an hour. If they didn't agree to do the work, they were threatened with being thrown back in jail.

The story gets worse, however. Even the paltry 28 cents an hour that the men were supposed to receive for working reportedly was withheld and then "donated" to the church.

While Utah officials are likely to pass this off as simply an isolated case of abuse of the system, it is symptomatic of a much wider problem. Namely, that in a society that wastes billions of dollars each year on incarcerating more than 2 million people--a large percentage for non-violent drug offenses--actual treatment and rehabilitation for substance abuse is almost always at the very bottom of the list of priorities.

Under the Bush administration, the problem has only gotten worse, with the push on both the state and federal level to shift the costs of social service programs--including drug and alcohol treatment--away from the state and towards private enterprises which are often "faith-based."

At House of Refuge, for example, treatment "rehabilitation" includes mandatory Bible study, weekly church attendance, and the reading of 30 chapters of the Bible each week. And state officials in Utah got behind House of Refuge in a big way--helping the program apply for government contracts, Housing and Urban Development block grants and private-sector funding as part of the Bush administration's faith-based initiative program.

Perhaps the Central Christ Church will find a "biblical" justification for their actions--something, maybe, about hard work soothing the soul. But in a sane and just society, forcing people with substance abuse problems to work for pennies could never be passed off as "treatment."
Nicole Colson, Chicago

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Kick ROTC off campus

DURING THE recent conformation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito, the Democrats attempted to portray themselves as opposing Alito through their questioning about the right-wing group Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP).

When asked about the group, Alito stated he could not recall being a member. However, he did mention that he was angry that the ROTC had been removed from the Princeton campus during the Vietnam war era. He said that he felt it was wrong for the ROTC to have been removed and that he believed that one issue CAP believed in and fought for was to have the ROTC on campus.

If the Democrats had a backbone or were concerned about racism, sexism, homophobia or imperialism, they might have questioned Alito about why he believed the ROTC had a right to be on campus.

The ROTC violates universities' discrimination policies. The military serves as the armed wing of big business. It actively promotes racism and sexism, and the "don't ask, don't tell," policy violates gay rights. To top it off the military suppresses popular movements, as it did during the Vietnam war and in non-white neighborhoods and universities.

Alito showed his true colors and the Democrats showed they have no concern about racism, sexism, homophobia or imperialism.

After the approval of Alito, he will arrive on the Supreme Court just in time to watch as the ruling is handed down in FAIR v. Rumsfeld, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, which forces schools that receive federal funding to allow military recruiters onto campus.

It is time to form a movement to drive the ROTC off of our campuses--just like what occurred at Princeton when Alito was a student.
Brian Carey, Madison, Wis.

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