Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2002

Crime or not, pedophilia in Catholic church still a sin

A brief definition of a white-collar crime is: A sophisticated crime, difficult to understand and prosecute usually perpetrated within a complex organization.

The current pedophilia scandal that engulfs the Catholic Church certainly does bring to mind both the words "white collar" and "crime." Is pedophilia a white-collar crime by legal definition? Only in certain circumstances could it be defined as a "white-collar crime" and in the case of a church the answer is "yes."

Pedophilia in any church can be defined as a white-collar crime. The reason it's important to understand this is that pedophilia is not the only crime committed in churches. Actually there are many wrongdoings in churches. Some clearly are laws being broken such as pedophilia and that makes it a white-collar crime, thanks to laws passed by our government.

Some crimes remain white-collar "wrongs" simply because there are no laws broken and therefore impossible to prosecute.

Wrongs can do as much damage as crimes. Churches usually are self-governing for the most part, and that is where complexity lies. They can be a complete subculture and, in some cases, cult-like. They have an entire hierarchy of their own that can only be understood from the inside.

Each has a personality of its own. There is always the potential for a lot of good or bad from any organization and, unfortunately, that includes churches.

By far, most churches have good motives, but it only takes a few controlling individuals to totally distort the purpose and intent of any organization. Thank God for the good priest pastors and people who don't lose sight of or distort the purpose of what they are doing. They are the salt of the earth and do more good than all other organizations combined simply because they help so many people.

Proving that a priest, pastor, etc., has ulterior selfish motives for his organization is nearly impossible and some do take advantage of that. The Bible has a definition for wrongs and white-collar crimes. The definition is one word: sin.

Jesus said, "All have sinned and fallen short of the mark." That includes you and me. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world." All crime and wrongdoing in church or out is a result of sin. God always is, and always will be, the only hope in this world to overcome the effects of sin.

Jim Morrison, Kenai

Missile defense system a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle

A $100 billion capital investment venture should contribute to a clearly merited gain.

Since 1985, when "Ronnie Raygun" first promised a "Star Wars" missile defense system, until today, our nation has spent $81.8 billion to further the myth that we will be protected from an ill-perceived threat that our own military analysts give very little credibility to.

The Pentagon has asked for another $8.5 billion thus far for the 2003 missile protection budget, and our congressional representatives don't even question the folly. Headlines and sound bites trumpet success when each test is conducted. Buried in later reports are revelations that the tests have been either totally ineffective or rigged to produce a certain result.

The military chief of the program says the tests aren't even designed to recreate any type of real-world threat scenario.

Dubya has now withdrawn from the ABM treaty and recent announcements of nuclear weapons being used in missile defense testing and deployment will abrogate various other non-proliferation treaties which have been in place for many years.

The net effect so far, has heightened our vulnerability and destabilized world peace through the consequent proliferation of weapons development to counteract our perpetration of this myth.

Paul Zimmerman, Kasilof

Story about National TV-Turnoff Week appreciated by reader

Thank you for Ann Marina's thoughtful article on TV-turnoff week (Peninsula Clarion, April 24).

Contrary to the three fathers described in the article, it is possible to wean an adult American male off of television. Motivated by the birth of our son two years ago, we tossed our television in the closet.

Drake knew the alphabet, could count to 20 and read a few words before he was 2. Perhaps that is because we don't sit down together in front of a television, but rather we sit down together with a book.

David Thomas, Kenai

Alaska Senate should consider alternatives to burdening the poor

Instead of burdening the poor who are already here, why doesn't the Alaska Senate make it more difficult for the "newly arrived" to qualify for the PFD? It would be going to the root of the problem, as well.

One year of residency is nothing for most people. Especially, when waiting for the gold at the end of the rainbow. Five years, or better yet, 10 years of residency will prove something.

And, it just might lessen the hardship on our local and state governments.

Is this as hard to convey as the benefits in hiring locally?

Cheri Edwards, Soldotna

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