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Wanted: Good role models for America

RE: "What is the most pressing need or problem of the American people and how might the political process deal with those concerns?" (Feb. 8).

To me, moral values _ the establishment of them _ are the most important. Then, everything else would fall into place.

The American people need role models _ people they can look up to and depend upon.

Everyone has within him the power for good and evil. Let's concentrate on bringing out the good _ honesty and fair play. Bring back the Golden Rule. "Treat others as you would like them to treat you."

The younger generation deserves to be brought up with the idea of disciplining themselves to moral and ethical standards.

Kathryn Jackson,

Treasure Island

Families must set moral guidelines

After reading the article in Religion (Feb. 8) by Stephanie Brommer (New moral guidelines proposed for movies), I'd have to agree with Arthur Hiller's assessment: "This feels like the start of the McCarthy era again."

The blame for the atrocities in our American society doesn't stem largely from the entertainment media so much as the lack of parental guidance in the nurturing of children's education about the negative effects of teen-age pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, gang violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and teen suicide.

Instead of appealing to industry leaders to accept responsibility for what they create, why not appeal to their own parish to set the best example?

Most families today are avoiding the educational values in sex education, civic values, cultural ethics and the most valuable lesson of all _ the difference between reality and fiction.

I believe that parents, most of all, have to set the standard guidelines for growing up in our society.

R. Bartolotta, St. Petersburg

The patterns

of civilizations

In the last few weeks, you have featured articles on our Lord that questioned "Who he was"; then, the "Teen sex debate" on condoms; then, the "Troubled Times for U.S. Jews." Here is an article that truly fits your next Religion section! I did not author it!

The average life of great civilizations has been 200 years. During this period, each civilization (Greek, Roman, etc.) has progressed through the following stages:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith.

2. From spiritual faith to great courage.

3. From courage to liberty.

4. From liberty to abundance.

5. From abundance to selfishness.

6. From selfishness to complacency.

7. From complacency to apathy.

8. From apathy to dependence.

9. From dependence to bondage (slavery).

Quo vadis? Where are we and where are we going?

In conclusion, heaven is not here nor will it ever be! As very imperfect human beings, we show each day how truly lost we are!

With God, everything is possible. Without God, nothing is possible.

Ralph A. Packard Jr.,

St. Petersburg

Where is God?

Your feature of Feb. 8, The Challenges of One Nation, reminded me of the classic poem of the seven blind men and the elephant. In that poem, each blind person touches a different part of the animal and comes away with his own impression of what an elephant is like. One who touches the trunk knows that the elephant is like a hose; another who touches the leg is sure that an elephant is like a tree; still another who touches the tails states that the elephant is like a rope. And so it goes _ each is somewhat right but fails to see the whole picture.

In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky writes of the return to earth of Jesus Christ and his interaction with the leaders of the Russian Church. It results with the conclusion that there would be no place for Christ in the church and he would only cause embarrassment or trouble.

I mention these two works because I was astounded to find that the eight "leaders in the Tampa Bay and state religion community" never mentioned the word God once in the entire article. The Rev. Neil Lacy did allude to the Creator once. Your leaders fell into the black hole that permeates our society: They were politic.

If we asked a mathematician to discuss his field, would we not expect to hear numbers mentioned? Why didn't your religionists talk about God, the area of their supposed expertise? If they really believe in God, why are they not urging prayer as the prophets of yore continually did in the Old Testament?

Nietzsche recognized the death of God as the death of man and his descent into brutish hopelessness. It is only when we recognize that man is not the measure of all things that we will recover our humanity. Rabbi Ben Shull was correct in calling for community, but he fell short in omitting the inclusion of the Creator in that community.

I suggest that if you intend to form future panels of community religious leaders, you will at least find some who are willing to put their boss' name in print.

James T. Stein, Parrish

A saint on Earth

Re: Mother Teresa, by Tom Roberts, Religion section, Feb. 15.

Mother Teresa demonstrates to me that no person is poor who is rich of heart. This woman's caring caress of mortals in misery makes her a true dazzling diamond in the rough.

Success has many sponsors, but failure is an orphan. Mother Teresa changes that pattern somewhat because she brings help and hope to the needy. Her generosity of spirit makes her a great woman. Does not this humanitarian human being teach that all power of principle is the power of love? Her fertility of feeling for the feeble will never be forgotten. Mother Teresa truly is of Christ.

Robert B. Fleming,

St. Petersburg

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