In “Catholic League Fights to Purge ‘Anti-Catholic’ Link From DNC Web Site” (Sept. 15-21), I was disappointed that you wrote the obituary for pro-life Democrats by referring to Mr. Novak's comments following Bob Casey's loss in Pennsylvania. As Democrats For Life of America said then, and I will repeat now, one race does not constitute a trend or translate into the demise of the pro-life Democratic movement. Pro-life Democrats are alive and feisty.

On the same day that Casey was defeated, a pro-life Democrat won the primary for the nomination for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania. A few weeks later a pro-life Democrat in Ohio knocked off a pro-abortion incumbent for a U.S. House seat. Additionally, pro-life Democrats won primaries in Maine and New Mexico for winnable open seats.

With regard to [DNC spokesman] Bill Buck's comments about the Democratic National Committee “always looking for more groups to add” to the DNC Web site, I contacted the DNC in June to see if they would add a link to our Web site. However, evidently, Mr. Buck only meant groups that agree with the pro-abortion leadership. After several months of no response from the DNC, the message seems clear. We hope that they will reconsider their position and add our link. After all, we are Democrats.

Kristen Day Washington, D.C.

The writer is Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America.

Doctors and Death

I rarely do this sort of thing, but a front-page article from the Sept. 1-7 issue was rather disturbing. It was titled “HMO Recruits Doctors to Help Kill Patients.” As both a gerontologist and the admissions coordinator of a long-term-care facility, I find this proposal quite appalling. The act of supporting euthanasia is disturbing in and of itself, but to have an insurance company actually attempt to recruit physicians to participate in the practice is socially and morally disturbing to me.

I believe in allowing an individual a death with dignity, at all costs. However, that is where the practice/art of hospice care should come into play. Palliative care is the primary focus of the hospice mission and allows for pain management. By controlling the pain experienced during the dying process, one can hopefully offer a person a higher degree of quality to their last days. If this is accomplished, then the time spent with loved ones in those final days is also more fulfilling.

I was quite pleased to note that several physicians have opted to not participate in this activity, saving some face for the medical profession. A common fear among health care workers and providers is that the ethics have disappeared from the act of providing appropriate and adequate medical care, regardless of the patient's prognosis. My hat is off to those who stood on moral ground in light of the almighty HMO.

I agree with Dr. Gregory Hamilton in his assessment that the HMO is more driven by the bottom line than the wishes of expediting a death that is likely inevitable.

God has his plan for each of us. He carved it out the day we were conceived, and it is not our place to alter it with human means. If we as a society are able to become more accepting of the dying process and see that there are ways to make it less painful, maybe we can overcome this need to speed up the process through suicide. Besides, isn't suicide punishable by afterlife in hell?

Debbie Taylor St. Louis

The writer is admissions coordinator at Truman Restorative Center, which serves elderly patients.

Focus on the Hollywood Family

I am writing in response to “The Family, According to Hollywood” (Sept. 15-21). In the article the family of Hollywood was discussed, how families are portrayed without traditional two-parent role models. One movie mentioned was Lilo & Stitch. This movie was spoken of, along with others, by movie critic Michael Medved. He said he doesn't “think it reflects any sort of sinister intent by Hollywood producers to undermine traditional families.”

This couldn't be further from the truth regarding Lilo & Stitch. I read an article on this movie that told one of the co-producers is openly homosexual. His intent in making this movie was to portray families as anything but traditional in order to show that a “family” consists of any people who live together and love each other, the underlying message being that homosexual couples should be able to adopt and have children. The article also said that the movie showed relatives of Stitch dressed in drag. Not exactly wholesome family viewing, in my opinion.

I feel that we as parents have much to be concerned about with the movies coming out of Hollywood today, which is probably why our family doesn't see many of them.

Michelle Snyder Richland, Iowa

Catholics and Political Parties

The opinion column “Will Catholic Voters Pray Now and Swing Later?” by Scott McDermott (Sept. 15-21) has prompted me to write regarding to which party Catholic loyalty belongs, based on the platforms of the two dominant parties.

It has never been clear to me what objections Catholics have to the Republican platform. Mr. McDermott decries them for proclaiming the right to bear arms. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear the right and even the grave duty to defend the lives of others (No. 2263-65). He groups “the right to life (for the unborn) and the right of churches to express their religion publicly” as additional positions of the “right-wing individual-rights party.” I don't see anything against Catholic teaching in any of those positions. Especially when compared with “…individual-rights party of the left, promoting privacy (abortion) rights, women's rights, homosexual rights and various other civil rights.” Our Church has been very clear about the rights of the unborn.

Joe Ninnemann, Ponca City, Oklahoma

God Is Not an Opinion

I'm sure the disgust I experience with each new controversy over the use of God's name in schools, offices and government buildings is not unique among faithful Catholics. There is something so ludicrous in these stories that it is almost hard to define. But your Sept. 22-28 coverage of the lawsuit in Dallas (“On School E-mail, Can You Say the Word ‘God?’”) helped me better define my impressions of injustice and got me thinking that even well-intentioned Christians may be taking the wrong approach to this spiritual battle.

The essential argument against the invocation of God's name in public places seems to be that it is oppressive or even unjust to institutionalize a belief that is not held by all people. Our opponents argue that we are making a significant minority of people feel uncomfortable or unrepresented because they do not believe in God. At worst, we may be prejudicing these people (who have a right to their beliefs) toward a Christian religion. And who are we to force our religious beliefs on others?

At present, the common reply to such arguments is that Christians, like any other religious group, have a right to express their beliefs in a public forum. We argue that the law protects “God-speak” just as it protects any other form of personal expression. Over time, I've become convinced that this argument, while possessing some legal validity and support, plays right into the hands of Satan and leads us down a path of no return.

The current dispute over freedom of speech not only belittles our heavenly Father, but it also distorts (or at least ignores) any sense of reality and truth on this question. We easily fall into the trap of professing that others can live in ignorance as long as they are sincere. Now, we don't make young children feel stupid for not knowing the solution of 2+2 and we shouldn't make anyone feel stupid or inferior for not recognizing the fact of God's existence. But we at least need to engage this question on the grounds of reason and proof, or else we end up helping our opponents strip the Church of its very essence — its role in helping us recognize and correspond to reality.

Carleton Palmer Lincoln, Nebraska