Lives in the Balance 

We commend the National Catholic Register and Paul Kengor for quite correctly pointing out that George W. Bush deserves full credit for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (“Bush Quietly Saved a Million African Lives,” Aug. 9). Better known as Pepfar, the first three years of this $15 billion program truly revolutionized the treatment of HIV and AIDS, particularly in Africa. It brought life and hope to those who before faced death and despair. Over 2 million people have received life-saving medical treatment as a result of Pepfar.

The legacy that President Bush started in 2003 is continuing. Last year, Congress reauthorized Pepfar for another five years, calling for expenditures of $48 billion during that time. Learning from the first three years, Congress also improved the program, better integrating its work with the treatment of other diseases and into the health-care systems of affected countries.

To keep this admirable legacy intact, we at Catholic Relief Services urge that you tell your representatives in Congress to make sure Pepfar is fully funded in the coming years, even as our country faces tough economic decisions. Millions of lives depend on that. We cannot let these people down.

Ken Hackett, president

Catholic Relief Services


Reject Rationing

Regarding “Benedict on Health Care” (Aug. 9):

The “health-care reform” bill targets the unborn, the very sick and our senior citizens. Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has called it the Freedom of Choice Act in disguise. He also said: “The ‘health-care reform’ bills being finalized in Congress will set off a chain reaction that will result in a massive expansion of abortion! That’s because, unless Congress explicitly states that abortion is excluded, it will be regarded as ‘an essential benefit’ for Americans.”

Senior citizens and the very sick of all ages will be harmed, or die, because of rationing. That’s how the framers of the bill intend to save money.

We need to scrap the current “health-care reform” bill and do something else, such as allowing Medicaid as a temporary measure for folks who have lost their jobs, and giving Americans the right to purchase health insurance from any state in the union, which would make insurance companies more competitive, thereby reducing costs. We really can’t trust the government to control our health care.

Let’s keep calling, writing and/or visiting our representatives to tell them we don’t want this “health-care reform” bill.

More importantly, we should pray every day for an end to abortion, euthanasia and neglect (through rationing).

Beverly Moran

Corinth, New York

De Souza on Kennedy

Father Raymond J. de Souza’s comments and summary of “Edward Kennedy’s Catholic Legacy” (Sept. 6) may well stand as a bright light when a debate is held on what is the most important role an authentic Catholic citizen should assume if he or she decides to enter public life.

Terry F. Whalen Sr.

Miramichi, New Brunswick

180 Degrees of Separation

When abortion began escalating as a controversial issue in the late 1960s, I wrote a letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and respectfully inquired as to his view.

Kennedy responded in a letter, dated Aug. 3, 1971, with the following comment (which was included in the Register’s Sept. 6 editorial, “A Tale of Two Kennedys”): “... t is my personal feeling that the legislation of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earlier stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.”

By 1980, Kennedy began to abandon his position on the legal protection for unborn children and became a prime mover in the pro-abortion movement. In fact, Kennedy received shortly afterwards an award for his political efforts from the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.

In addition, Kennedy also gave his full support for embryonic stem-cell research, along with the same-sex “marriage” proposal, while opposing the Defense of Marriage Act. 

Finally, what is most disturbing is the fact that Kennedy never gave voters any specific reason for his 180-degree flip-flop on such an important moral issue as abortion.

  Thomas E. Dennelly

 Sayville, New York

The Tyranny of ‘Reform’

Nineteen Democrats recently asked President Obama not to sign any bill that doesn’t explicitly exclude “abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan” or any bill that allows a federal health board to “recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package.” Obama never responded, and the Democrat majority in the House has struck down every amendment that would include such language.

On July 31 the Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Capps amendment, which, while appearing to prohibit the abortion mandate in the health-care overhaul, actually calls for a public plan to cover abortions and mandates that at least one abortion-covering plan be available in every U.S. region. The Capps amendment strikes down conscience protections established by the Hyde Amendment. Absent ironclad quarantines that re-establish the Hyde protections, Obama’s so-called health-care reform will force Americans to fund the murder of the innocent child in the womb.

From the 17th-century Cromwellian conquest of Ireland until 1829, Catholics in Great Britain were forced by the state to contribute money to the Protestant Church of England. That a state had the power to impose this tyranny on men, denying them their God-given right of freedom of conscience, was a major reason our Founding Fathers rose up against the British crown. My opposition to the forced funding of the murder of the innocent child in the womb is a matter of conscience.

One of Obama’s first acts was the repeal, by executive order, of conscience protections for health-care workers who refuse to participate in abortions or other health activities that violate their consciences. Obama’s and the Democrat majority’s intent to tithe Americans to fund their cult of death is tyranny.

Ralph Diamond
Annapolis, Maryland

The Gene Game

I don’t understand why some people buy into the “gay gene” myth. It seems to me that that is as ludicrous as saying there is a “killing gene” we inherited from Cain, and, therefore, we can rationalize killing other humans, especially those not yet born. Or how about an “alcoholic gene” or a “smoking gene,” so, therefore, we have no control and are not responsible for our actions? Maybe the word “addiction” is more appropriate in those cases.

And isn’t the best proof that there is no such “gene” the fact that homosexuals can be cured, changed if they want to be? A 90% cure rate has been repeatedly demonstrated by those groups who truly care about homosexuals. That’s considerably better than alcoholics or smokers.

Such results would hardly be possible if there were a “homosexual gene,” would there? It seems like people who promote the “gay gene” deception must hate homosexuals, who live a miserable life and die 33 years younger than normal heterosexuals. Would they treat alcoholics or smokers the same way?

 Terry Hornback

Wichita, Kansas 

Cause vs. Predisposition

The “‘Gay Gene’ Myth” letter (Aug. 23) stated that “many homosexuals have common physical characteristics.” While the writer is correct, this does not mean there is a genetic cause for homosexuality. It does show, however, there can be a genetic-predisposition factor correlated to homosexuality.

How does genetic predisposition differ from genetic cause? This question was answered by Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a noted psychiatrist and member of the Catholic Medical Association. Fitzgibbons stated that, among the many homosexuals he had treated, one of the most common factors was poor hand-eye coordination. Poor hand-eye coordination often leads to problems for young boys in playing certain sports, such as baseball and football, which require good hand-eye coordination. This problem, unfortunately, can lead to peer-bonding problems for young boys. Fathers should not ridicule such sons, but rather emphasize that being good at sports is not what being a good man is all about.

Just as height is a “genetic predisposition” for being a basketball player — a 6’6” fellow is more apt to play basketball than a 5’6” guy — one cannot conclude that height causes one to play basketball; but it does predispose one for that activity.

Frank J. Russo Jr.
Port Washington, New York

Celebrating Selmys

Your recent article “Scientists Outing ‘Gay Gene’ Myth” (July 26) caught my eye because I just finished reading a book that hits on exactly the same point (and so much more). Any readers interested in that article might also pick up Melinda Selmys’ Sexual Authenticity (OSV, 2009). She quotes much of the same research as your article regarding the question of whether or not homosexuality is biologically determined, but, more than that, she offers her own intimate and honest reflections on this delicate topic and how it can be approached with genuine compassion yet without compromising the truth about the matter.

Among her most insightful conclusions is the conviction that, by promoting the myth of biological gayness, the gay movement has actually done a great and multifaceted disservice to those who struggle with same-sex attractions.

The book is somewhat quirky and not all readers will find its quirks as amusing as I did, but its examinations are careful and refreshingly honest and its insights spot on, as any Register reader would expect of Register columnist Selmys.

 Jessica Wierzbinski

Wichita, Kansas