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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Friday, June 23, 2000 - Page 6

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas                                6A HBRALDZfilTUNG Friday June OPINIONS fERS NBW HERALDZEITUNG New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852 New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Doug Toney Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson Managing Editor KUDOS Theres a lot going on around New Braunfels this week and much of it shows the kind of initiative volunteer spirit and public service ethic that has always made this a special place The Red Stocking Revue is the biennial fundraiser for the Community Service Center a United Way agency that provides many services to local residents See story and sidebar beginning on Page Kudos to the organizers crew and players who tonight and this week end will make the Red Stocking Revue happen one more time Also beginning tonight and running through the weekend the first Saengerfest at Saengerhalle Texas Dance Hall will benefit the Comal and Guadalupe county women shelters What a fine program to put on in a fine old hall Kudos We hope to see it again next year The Comal New Braunfels and NixonSmiley school districts will share a million grant to prepare educators to use technology in classrooms Considerable work went into securing this grant which is administered by the Texas Education Agency Only 25 were awarded in Texas and the competition for that money was stiff Local school dis tricts should be applauded for their foresight and their effort The GuadaComa Home Builders Association is conducting a week long Parade of Homes at River Chase on the Guadalupe that will be vis ited by thousands by the time it ends Sunday We hope this is the first of what will be an annual event One more thing The folks who have made the Bell Ringers program at Eden Home happen for twoandahalf years have done a wonderful thing and should be commended for it We hope the community will pull together one more time and help them keep it alive TODAY IN HISTORY BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Today is Friday June 23 the 175th day of 2000 There are 191 days left in the year Todays Highlight in History On June aviators Wiley Post and Harold Gatty took off from New York on the first round theworld flight in a singleengine plane On this date In 1868 Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for an invention he called a Type In 1888 abolitionist Frederick Douglass received one vote from the Kentucky delegation at the Republican convention in Chicago effectively making him the first black candidate nominated for president The nomination went to Benjamin In 1938 the Civil Aeronautics Authority was established In 1947 the Senate joined the House in overriding President Trumans veto of the TaftHartley Act In 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser was elected president of Egypt In 1967 President Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygiri held the first of two meetings in Glassboro N J In 1969 Warren E Burger was sworn in as chief justice by his predecessor Earl Warren In 1972 President Nixon and White House chief of staff Haldeman discussed a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBIs Watergate investigation Rev elation of the tape recording of this conversation sparked Nixons res ignation in In 1985 all 329 people aboard an AirIndia Boeing 747 died when the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Ireland apparently because of a bomb In 1989 the Supreme Court refused to shut down the diala porn industry ruling Congress had gone too far in passing a law banning all sexually oriented phone message services Ten years ago African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela on a tour received a tumul tuous welcome hi Boston For more than 50 years since a 1947 case called the Supreme Court has been getting it wrong on reli gion In that longago case the Court ruled that what the federal government was prohibited from doing ing a national church die states also could not do Fifteen years later atheist leader Madalyn Murray OHair success fujUy challenged prayer and Bible reading in public schools and its been downhill for certain expressions of religious views ever since In his dissenting opinion on the latest cam which forbids studentled prayer at publicschool football games Chief Justice William Rehnquist said the major ity opinion bristles with hostility to all things religious in public He is umm Slim evidence backs Graham execution AUSTIN The Supremes are probably right about prayer at football games in the Santa Fe School District case but you must admit that theres a slight cultural gap here The courts decision noted that the Fifth Circuit had ruled that students could offer prayers at graduation but not in the far less solemn and extraordinary setting of a foot ball game Thats all they know about Friday nights Ive heard a good many proselytizing pub lic prayers offered in this state as opposed to me To Whom it may concern Let no one get injured in tonights game Amen variety but I doubt you could prove that this increases intolerance On the other hand in May three Santa Fe High students were arrested on accusations that they threatened to hang a 13yearold Jewish boy an eighth grader at the middle school If true we would have to say that the three have failed to grasp some of the central tenets of the Christian faith let alone the principles on which the country is founded And now to the case of Gary Graham who is about to be executed on what has to be the slimmest evidence that anyone has seen in years Its hard to believe that anyone could be convicted much less given the death penalty on the evidence of one eye witness who saw him for maybe a sec ond from 30 to 40 feet away at night The two eyewitnesses who say the killer wasnt Graham got a much better look at the killer and were never heard from at trial nor were his four alibi witnesses This is in part a tribute to Grahams lawyer Ron Mock a defense attorney who MOLLY IVINS has more clients on Death Row man most prosecutors ever put there In fairness to Mock like other public defenders he had almost no money to prepare a defense Mock called no defense witnesses In recent years he has been disciplined four times for professional misconduct Graham is no poster boy for the anti deathpenalty a bad actor who belongs in prison several violent rob beries and a rape But whether we like it or not his record doesnt prove that hes guilty of the Bobby Grant Lambert murder for which he is about to be executed For that matter Lambert was a bad actor himself a known drug dealer but that is just as irrelevant as Grahams record Murder is murder The relevant precedent here is the case of Henry Lee Lucas the ser ial liar whose sentence Gov George W Bush finally had to commute after the state convicted him of a murder that occurred while Henry Lee was out of Ive read some moving statements by vic tims in Grahams other crimes who under standably want him dead But I think the question here is simple Would YOU want to be put to death on the strength of one eye witness who got a glimpse from 35 feet away at night especially if there were bet ter eyewitnesses and alibi witnesses In 1998 a judge ruled that two of the four alibi witnesses who came forward after the trial were not credible they are both kin to Graham But who else are you likely to be hanging out with but your own family and friends If we could all calm down enough to get off our kneejerk death penalty stands here and try to learn something from this case theres a really useful change in process that we should consider here It involves how eyewitness IDs are made The one eyewitness against Graham had described him as cleanshaven she was shown five photographs of possible perps of whom only Graham was without facial hair She did not positively ID him from the photos but the next day she picked him out of a lineup Graham was the only one both in the pho tographs and the lineup and experts say that photo spreads can influence lineup ID Theres a better way to do this Crow eaten here In a recent column on the highlights of W Bushs record as gover nor I erroneously reported that Lonnie Bo Pilgrim the chicken magnate and tort reformer had given generously to Texans for Public Justice Actually Texans for Public Justice is a public interest group that keeps track of the contributions of major players like Pilgrim I doubt that Pilgrim was thrilled by the error either apologies to both camps Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth GOT SOMETHING To SAY The New Braunfels Herald Zeitung encourages letters on any public issue The editor reserves the right to correct spelling style punctuation and known factual errors Also an address arid a telephone number which are not for publication must be included for confirma tion purposes Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days Mail let ters to Letters to the Editor the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Drawer 311328 New Braunfels TX 78131 1328 floek about public prayer CAL THOMAS long they love the place of honor at ban quets and the most important seats in the synagogues they love to be greeted in the iand to have men call them Conservative Christians especially are fooling themselves when they think pub lic i Jesus has this advice on prayer Be careful not to do your acts of1 righteousness before men to be seen by them And when you pray do not be like the hi fact the only kind of faith that actually does work is that which is first practiced St Francis of Assisi is credited with the statement Preach the gospel Use words The behavior the Court did not and cannot proscribe is the kind that will make a far greater impression than teenagers praying at highschool football ball games do nothing for the quality of the gama and thara ia no evidence tmr there be of fewer injuriej because and on the street cor ners to be seen by But when you eou inanie has been invoked over fte loudspeaker Furthermore such prayers trivialize the act of prayer No lees an Jesus ipoke about who is unseen 1 and The Supreme Court said nothing at all mourn tte Everything they dp men to see which highly values filled stadiums teloyiiion appearances and other visible vifwdaut count ft It is the behavior that begins with the discipline of deeds including prayer for ones enemies visiting those in prison feeding the hungry clothing the naked and caring for widows and orphans Conservative Christians ought to stop looking to the state for permission and validation and start looking to God for their commission and marching orders WitbthJsJ to petition government Government will petition themte find they are exerting real influence They will stop believing that public displays of their faith are changing anything from the out come of football games to the transfor mation of culture Their influence is needed more than ever but it will not be felt so long as they settle for a lesser worldly power which is really no power at all People with faith that the next election will turn the Court and the nation more to their way of thinking might wish to con sider that three of the justices who voted to prohibit prayer at football games were appointed by Republican presidents If George W Bush is elected president who can guarantee any judges named by him will not also lean to the left Whether they do or dont should have no effect on the prayer life or acts of peo ple who worship an authority higher than Col Thomas is a syndicated   

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