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Getting to the root of a national ordeal

Re: Politics rent by religion, Dec. 27.

Bill Maxwell is always worth reading, but this column is especially excellent. Surely, it rates a Pulitzer Prize!

Here he sums up the problem of our terrible national ordeal in shining, lucid words that leave nothing more to be said. Would that every newspaper in the land would publish it, and that every citizen who loves this country and longs for its healing would read it!

Then perhaps arrogance and self-righteousness and, yes, greed and resentful ambition _ all these! _ might cease to flourish in the halls of our government.

Abigail Martin, Valrico

He's a gem

Bravo to Bill Maxwell for his Dec. 27 column, Politics rent by religion! His thoughts catalyzed for me my own angst, disbelief and wonderment at the recent actions of the U.S. House of Representatives.

I would love to hand a copy of the column to my own representative, Mike Bilirakis, and get his reaction to it firsthand. I have already made my displeasure with his yes votes on all four articles of impeachment known to his office!

Please hang on to Bill Maxwell.

He is a "jewel" in your organization.

Paul J. Smith, Clearwater

Separation is essential

I wondered when someone would make the connection between fundamental religions and the House impeachment process. Nice going, Bill Maxwell (Politics rent by religion, Dec. 27). I wonder if the five Democratic representatives who voted for impeachment are fundamentalists.

With the many horrendous examples of current religious excesses (Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Iran, etc.) and the thousands throughout history, it seems there is only one way to go: Keep religion out of politics and government.

Jerry Hobbs, Lutz

Open to the truth

Re: Clinton-haters minds are closed, letters, Dec. 31.

For some reason, there never seems to be a dearth of Democrats and Clinton supporters who throw the term closed-minded out at free thinking individuals who feel compelled to see justice done. As a college student, I am constantly deluged with the mantra of open-mindedness. Webster's defines open-mindedness as open to arguments or appeals. It seems as though the letter writer is tired of hearing arguments or appeals for the health and sanctity of law going on in the arguments over the presidency.

In this, it is the writer who shows himself to be closed-minded. For all of us who believe in the adage that the truth shall set us free, turn to the words of Thomas Jefferson who said, "Difference of opinion leads to inquiry, and inquiry to truth."

Fred Piccolo Jr., St. Petersburg

Senate must judge well

Unless the Senate does its job fully, the consequences of this impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton will long affect our form of government as we know it now.

They are the jury for this impeachment case. The case against President Clinton must be heard, all the evidence viewed and a verdict rendered. No deals, no censure!

The senators have a choice. They must be willing to risk much and make a sound and moral judgment.

A politician looks to the next election; a statesman looks to the next generation.

Let us hope that these senators remember their oath and think long and hard about America's future.

But all this could be brought to a halt if the president placed this country's interests before his own, which is not what we could expect from Clinton, and resign.

Alberta Gamble, Brooksville

Millennium debate

Re: Pick your own date to celebrate, by Robyn Blumner,

Dec. 27.

Having just had an animated after-dinner conversation with a group of friends regarding the starting date of the next millennium, I found this piece in Perspective timely, to say the least!

Unfortunately, Blumner starts out with a serious error, in that while Jan. 1, 2001 is truly the start of a millennium, it is the third, not the second, millennium that starts on that date.

Leaving aside the fact that an opening blunder may make the rest of a document suspect, I do agree with her well-researched premise that the first year was Year 1, and accordingly every following decade, century, millennium starts out with 1, (11, 101, 1001) not zero.

The important thing, of course, is that right or wrong, we all operate on the same premise, and although as 1999 flows by the debate between 2000 and 2001 will intensify, I am sure that eventually opinion will come down on her (our) side. She will probably hear from others, both in support of and against her premise; I'm on her side, and will welcome the opportunity to join forces with her in future debate on the subject!

Howard W. Brody, Palm Harbor

End the violence

Re: Baby's first Christmas under a green sky, by Mary Jo Melone, Dec. 20.

Thank you so much for this column. It was the only article I saw in your paper that presented an alternative viewpoint to the brutal and unnecessary war called Desert Fox.

The irony of war during a season that is supposed to symbolize peace for not one but several of the world's great religions seemed to be lost on many. War can never create peace, and bombing Iraq was not "good will toward all."

What was accomplished with this bloodshed? What have the sanctions accomplished other than killing millions of Iraqi people? When will we learn that violence only begets violence? We've probably killed more people with our endless wars in the 20th century than in all of human history. Is this legacy the product of human evolution?

I certainly understand Ms. Melone's concern for her new baby in such a world, a world in which we are caught in an endless cycle of violence, a perpetual "green sky."

I pray that one day there will be no more "missiles slamming into earth," no more congressmen and U.S, policymakers "screaming for blood." And no more children celebrating first Christmases under green skies.

Barbara Howe, St. Petersburg

Help is being offered

Re: Hill is no martyr, letter,

Dec. 13.

We read this letter, asking pro-life people to direct their efforts to assisting pregnant women and mothers of young children. The writer and all your readers will be pleased to know that extensive outreach of this type already is being done by many churches and community agencies.

Although there are no solid statistics, it is accurate to say that thousands of women throughout the Tampa Bay area have been helped in the past few years. Such services continue to grow, and the writer is right on target with his suggestions. Diapers, clothing, furnishings, food, prenatal care, cash for emergency needs, adoption services, parenting and life-skill classes, and job training are among the many types of assistance being offered to provide a "hand up."

Readers can join in by encouraging and supporting their own parish or church leaders, the community agencies of their choice and by donating financial support as well.

These services, offered in a genuine desire to help, will contribute greatly to future stability in our communities.

Sharon Iler, director,

Respect Life Office,

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Better to honor Chiles

As a seasonal resident for a long time, I must tell you that I agree with the writer of the Dec. 25 letter We need a road tribute for Chiles, regarding a name change for the Ronald Reagan Turnpike to the Lawton Chiles Turnpike.

I also agree with the writer in asking what Reagan has done for Florida that this road was named in his honor.

Alex Sowchuk, Tarpon Springs

The pipe patrol

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