Charles Rager, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Summing up Rick Santorum
Tony Auth's "One nation under Rick" cartoon perfectly summarizes Rick Santorum (Tuesday). The man is off the wall. If elected president, he might appoint the pope as secretary of state.
Will somebody please explain to me the constant attempts at every election to combine religion and politics? If you want to be religious, fine. Practice it, but don't sell it! Religion in its extreme form can even be dangerous. Consider terrorist Muslims who do their thing in the name of their God. And Jerry Falwell stated that God let 9/11 happen to punish us for our evil secular ways.
Please, let's confine our politics to the economy, preventing terrorism, preventing oil spills, preventing wars, and global contamination, and confine our religion to going to church every Sunday and leaving church as good Christians. All non-Christians can be good human beings in their own way.
Richard Fitterman, Oreland
Religion sets group against group
Tony Auth's spot-on cartoon with the cross looming over the White House made the unbeliever in me cringe, as do Rick Santorum's fervent views on the place of religion in America. I went back to viewing John F. Kennedy speaking about the need for an absolute separation of church and state for a bit of sanity.
The presence of religion in this country and in the world continues to set group against group, risking women's right to choose, gay marriage, what we teach in school, and who gets blown up in heated religious conflicts the world over.
Ingrid Rosenback, Swarthmore, firstname.lastname@example.org
Training Afghans to kill U.S. troops
We are training Afghan soldiers to to kill their trainers - our troops ("Official: 2 more U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan," Thursday). Recently, two American soldiers were shot and killed by a cowardly Afghan soldier who then fled into the crowd. Then two American officers were shot in the back of the head in a high-security area. All because some books were mistakenly burned. I certainly understand that people respect the Quran, just as we respect our Bible, but it is not worth lives.
When are we going to understand that there is no future in trying to train and civilize fanatics who hate us? This entire debacle in Afghanistan has gotten way out of control. Our government says that it will be very expensive to withdraw our troops, but we have to do it sooner or later, and judging by the recent events, sooner would be much better.
Mike Krakovitz, Drexel Hill, email@example.com
Trying to justify the outrage
James Carroll tries to justify the ongoing outrage in Afghanistan over the accidental burning of the Quran ("Understanding the rage in Afghanistan," Tuesday). His article would have been more balanced had he bothered to include mention of Islamic terrorists burning down all-girl schools with students still inside or the bombing of mosques. Carroll should ask if these acts were accidental or done on purpose.
Larry Lueder, Mantua
Fate of the world is at stake
As a climate-change activist, and member of Citizens Climate Lobby, I am continually amazed that people deny that we are experiencing climate change ("On climate change, society trails science," Monday). We need to act with great urgency to change our energy equation to reduce, and quickly, our use of carbon-based fuels.
In Philadelphia, with its many multifaith communities, there is a great opportunity for our faith-based leaders to speak up, in their congregations, and publicly, on the reality of human-caused climate change, and our need to be a part of the solution. We have wonderful opportunities to take climate-change-mitigating actions here, with strong leadership from Mayor Nutter, who has talked about Philadelphia being a "green city," and City Council.
Our time is limited before we pass a climate tipping point. This is about the world we are bequeathing to our unborn and unimagined descendants. Will our descendants look back at us and ask, "What were they thinking?" The fate of the world is at stake. The time to act is now.
Peter Handler, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saluting court's responsive action
The recent increase in compensation for court-appointed defense lawyers who take on capital cases is welcome news for victims' families and others confronting the devastating impact of homicides in Philadelphia ("Defendants deserve justice," Friday).
Common Pleas Court Administrative Judge John W. Herron should be commended for taking swift action to expedite access to justice for parties in such gruesome cases. Likewise, Judge Benjamin Lerner should be complimented for producing a report that thoroughly analyzed the long-standing problem of poorly compensated defense counsel in such cases.
In Philadelphia, an alarmingly small number of lawyers are willing and able to take capital-case appointments for indigent clients and also meet minimum state requirements for doing so. Lerner rightly concluded, "The existing compensation system unacceptably increases the risk of ineffective assistance of counsel in individual cases and is primarily responsible for the First Judicial District's growing inability to attract a sufficient number of qualified attorneys willing to accept court appointments in capital cases."
In April 2008, the Philadelphia Bar Association's Board of Governors adopted a resolution endorsing increased court-appointed counsel fees. The board noted that court-appointed counsel fees in Philadelphia historically have been among the lowest in the nation.
We salute the court for recognizing the need for responsive action in this critical area of our justice system. We also support our judiciary in advancing improvements that maintain and preserve untethered access to justice for all of our citizens.
John E. Savoth, chancellor, Philadelphia Bar Association