Thank you so much for Joshua Mercer's article on Target Corp. ("Targeting Corporate Sponsors of Planned Parenthood,” April 22-28). I am delighted to hear that they have stopped supporting Planned Parenthood!

This is such a relief to me since I live one mile from a Target store and have spent most of my professional life working to solve some of the problems Planned Parenthood has caused. In conscience, I would have to waste precious time driving to a store farther away in order to avoid giving to Planned Parenthood; the time could have been used to further promote chastity and my Sex Respect programs. When I originally found out the bad news, I wrote to Target to express my disappointment that such a great family store supported anti-family programs promoting birth control and abortion. Who did they think would be left to shop there in 20 years? And if the people with the most kids in town won't shop at Target, what would happen to sales?

Thanks so much, Register, for reporting the good news of Target's conversion. I don't know how else I would've found out, since I don't have time to read every newsletter I get. Thanks, also, for publishing the company's phone number so we can call to thank them directly. It's great for families to have a newspaper we can trust.

COLEEN KELLY MAST

Bourbonnais, Illinois

We Need Educators,

Not Indoctrinators

I read with interest “'Gay Education’ Looms for Schools as Union Date Nears” (April 29-May 5), about the National Education Association's forthcoming vote on “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Education.”

I think that, if this teachers’ union is truly interested in diversity, it will put equal zeal into developing a proposal aimed at supporting students who are striving to remain abstinent until they marry someone of the opposite sex, whether such students are virgins or not.

Certainly, the teachers’ union cannot deny that such students exist, that they are frequently met with disdain and ridicule, and that their goals deserve respect and should be supported.

Unless the NEA is willing to admit that it is trying to reshape the culture to favor lesbian/homosexual relationships, and transgendering, by promoting “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Education,” it's difficult to see why it wouldn't also promote “Sex Between a Married Man and Woman Education.”

PATRICIA SHNAIDER

Congress Must Lead

Have Mercy on Iraq

On this past Divine Mercy Sunday, Catholics venerated St. Faustina and recalled her writings, which reveal that Jesus’ great mercy is received when we give a substantial amount of compassion and love to our fellow man ("An Explosion of Mercy,” April 22-28). I believe that the economic sanctions imposed upon Iraq by the United Nations represent a great social injustice and abandonment of mercy.

I implore the Catholics of the United States to seek the truth about the consequences of these sanctions and I agree with the U.S. Catholic bishops that force against Iraq is immoral and illegal. … These sanctions are illegal because the distinction between combatants and non-combatants has not only been blurred, but simply ignored.

The U.S. bishops have been outspoken in their opposition to these U.N. sanctions against Iraq. They believe that Saddam Hussein and his government are primarily responsible for the disputes with the international community. But the bishops also recognize that the international community is liable for the suffering of the Iraqi people.

In light of recent developments, such as the Bush administration's “smart sanctions” proposal, American Catholics must follow the example of their bishops. The virtually even split of the Catholic vote in the last election proves our importance to the political scene. We must oppose the warfare waged against the Iraqi by the U.N. Catholics must take advantage of their political power by writing their representatives in Washington to demand an end to the embargo against Iraq.

MICHAEL F. SHEEHAN

Williamstown, Massachusetts

We're Halving a Party

“Who Wants to be a Republican” (Editorial, May 6-12) is, sorry to say, based on the false premise that Catholics are against abortion. The premise may not be false among Catholics who worshiped prior to Vatican II, but for those who followed, it is shocking how apathetic they are toward the killing of innocent babies and ignorant of the basic teachings of the Church.

Can there be any issue more urgent than protecting the life of an unborn child? No! Yet in the past election millions of Catholics voted for the candidate that advocated abortion while voting against a candidate that is against abortion. The Democrat Party needs more leaders with the courage of a Ray Flynn from Boston. Because of his stand on abortion, he has essentially been excommunicated from the Democratic Party while the Catholic advocates of baby killing such as Kennedy, De Lauro, etc., wage war against basic Christian principles and freedoms. (We have to give Dodd credit for voting for right-to-life Ashcroft.)

Change must come from the Church; from the pulpit. The issue of life must be conveyed by word of mouth, by written word (even though you know you cannot force a person to read), and by other vehicles in addition to EWTN (because you cannot make a person tune into such a channel). If the Pope took a stand describing the moral responsibility of each Catholic on this issue, and warned them of the consequence of their actions, maybe the “born and baptized Irish or Italian Catholic Democrats” would break from this unholy tradition.

Until such time, the “born and baptized Irish or Italian Catholic Democrats” will continue to listen to the leaders of the Democrat Party and the vocal cords for the party—NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN and so on. Bush can stand on his head for Christian principles and the “born and Baptized Irish or Italian Catholic Democrats” could care less.

JOHN D. MALLON

Northford, Connecticut

Kudos to the House

I am a physician and I strongly support the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” ("Congress Eyes Rights for Unborn Victims,” April 22-28) that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This bill does not create any new crimes; it simply allows prosecutors to bring a second charge against a criminal if there has been a second victim, an unborn child. It is simple common sense. Assault against a pregnant woman whose baby is harmed should be a crime.

Why wasn't the vote overwhelmingly in favor?

Consider the words of Tracy Marciniak of Wisconsin, who was assaulted in the ninth month of her pregnancy. She was injured and her unborn son, Zachariah, was killed. Because Wisconsin at that time lacked an unborn victims law, the assailant was convicted only for the injury he did to Mrs. Marciniak, and he is already eligible for parole.

Mrs. Marciniak explains, “This one-victim proposal is offensive to me. Its premise is this: On the night my husband beat me, nobody died. But that is not true. That night, there were two victims. I was nearly killed. Little Zachariah died.” Mrs. Marciniak urges House members to look at the photo of her holding Zachariah in her arms at his funeral, and asks, “Can anybody honestly tell me there is only one victim in that picture?"

The pro-choice community argued that the bill was a ploy to interfere with a woman's “right to choose.” But it explicitly states that nothing in the bill “shall be construed to permit the prosecution of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman … has been obtained.”

Nor does the bill pertain to any action by a woman that results in harm to her unborn child.

THOMAS V. MESSE, M.D.

Groton, Connecticut

Congress Must Lead

Recent articles and editorial comment from the Register are urging President Bush to “do more” to stop abortion. This is commendable and as a pro life Catholic I strongly urge him to continue the already apparent and valiant efforts he has started.

However, his biggest obstacles are “Catholics” like with names like Kennedy, Leahy, Durbin et al and their ilk in both Senate and Congress.

These legislators, many coming from the Northeast and claiming to be “Catholic,” oppose, restrict, obstruct and just plain halt any attempt to change this infanticide. In many cases, especially the blowhard Kennedy who literally commissioned the attack on John Ashcroft due to his deeply held antithesis to abortion, they are its biggest supporters. Bishops of their districts hardly censure them, perhaps out of fear for bad publicity, loss of contributions or both.

It's time the Register also start putting its editorial influence on these other “Catholics". Remember, George W. can propose law all he wants. That is the function of the executive branch.

He can lead from the presidential pulpit and in this he has. But unless both Houses support and pass his proposals, they will die the death on the withering vine. The real disgrace is that George W. is more pro life than these so called “Catholic” legislators who claim to believe in the Church's teachings, yet their legislative behavior is bereft of anything that would resemble this.

JAMES A. SETTEMBRE

Lake Worth, Florida

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