New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 2, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4A ■ Thursday, March 2, 1995
■ To talk with Managing Editor Mark Lyon about the Opinion page, call 625-9144. ext. 21
Z e i t ii n gOpinion
'There is something bothersome about The New York Times placing on Page One a cocktail lounge meeting between two political consultants, while the coverage of a debate on issues between the two candidates themselves barely makes the same newspaper."
— Bill Phillips, columnist, 1994God should not be used to divide us
School voucher bills sound good, until they are scrutinized
School voucher bills sound like good ideas, they are designed to give low-income parents a choice of schools for their children and promote competition between public and private schools.
'Choice' and 'competition' are two things everyone can support.
But a closer look at the changes a voucher system would cause in education shows some serious potential problems with any voucher system.
The bills under consideration by the Texas Legislature would allow billions of public tax dollars to go to private, parochial and home schools each year. That is a lot of money, hard for eager entrpreneurs to ignore. These bills, like House Bill 301, would generate a whole new industry — schools set up to tap into the lucrative education voucher market. For-profit businesses, extremist organizations and cults will develop to run schools funded with your tax dollars. HB 301 does not even establish consequences for private schools whose students perform poorly on standardized tests. There would be no state rules regarding curriculum, certification or attendance. A similar bill failed in the House by one vote last session.
A voucher system would take billions of dollars from public schools, but private schools do not have to accept disabled children who have special educational needs. So public schools would be left with the most expensive children to educate, but with less money to spend.
Public schools present our best hope for social cohesion, spanning racial, religious, and socioeconomic lines that divide our communities. They should be strengthened, not drained of resources.
(Roger Croteau is city editor of the Herald-Zeitung.)
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Having already seen him label liberals “Godless and profane” in an earlier column, I was not surprised to see Dennis Gallaher add “immoral and stupid” to the list, (Herald-Zeitung, page 6A Feb. 17.)
Not surprised, but still disappointed.
“Sorry if this offends you, but liberal politics is anything but upright, righteous and moral,” Gallaher wrote. “Call and voice your disapproval of even a part-time abortionist becoming the moral teacher of the nation ... anything less than that is just plain stupid,” he concludes. In other words anyone who supports Henry Foster’s nomination to the post of Surgeon General is not just wrong, but stupid, (Foster, by the way, has dedicated his life to reducing teen-age pregnancies, and was even awarded a “Point of Light” by former President George Bush.)
To hear Gallaher, one would think there is only one way to be a Christian — as defined by Pat Robertson and himself.Those who disagree are not just wrong, but not really Christians. But I know this is a lie.
There are many fine, upstanding. Christians whose political beliefs are well to the left of Mr. Gallaher. And many conservatives whose behavior indicates
that they live less than a God-fearing life. I have never observed any correlation at all between a person’s political and religious beliefs.
I suspect many liberals and conservatives alike were moved to their political beliefs by their faith.
When many liberals support programs to feed the hungry, house the poor, care for abused children, educate our children, oppose wars, or protect the rights of workers, they do so precisely because of their faith. “Peace with justice” is a common saying among many Christian liberals.
Likewise, I’m sure many conservatives find in their faith the inspiration for their opposition to abortion, opposition to gay rights, and support for prayer in public schools.
Does that make one side holier, more righteous and more moral than the other? Can’ people with different views engage in honest debate without name calling? After all, liberals are not trying to destroy America, they just have different ideas than conservatives about how to make this country stronger.
Once you get past the name calling, you often find the goals of liberals and conservatives are the same. Addressing Gallaher’s column, he wants to cut down on the spread of AIDS and unwanted pregnancies among teen-agers. Everyone has the same goal. Many liberals feel the best way to attack the problems of teen-age AIDS and pregnancy is with education, while many conservatives feel teaching
teen-agers safe sex techniques is the same as encouraging them to have sex.
Which approach would he more successful? I do not know.
That is not my point. My point is that just because liberals disagree with Gallaher’s political views does not make them evil, or as he puts it, “Godless and profane.”
In my Bible, Jesus implores his followers not to judge their brothers. I would not attack the legitimacy of Pastor Gallaher’s faith. I feel that would be selfrighteous pride. But I wish he would stop using his column in the Herald-Zeitung as a forum to attack the faith of others.
I find it deeply disturbing that a pastor, a man who provides spiritual guidance to his followers, would use the Good News of Jesus not to unite our community in love, but to divide us by calling those with differing opinions on political matters "immoral and stupid.”
(Roger Croteau is the city editor of the Herald-Zeitung. This column w as originally submitted as a letter to the editor and was also signed by Michael Darnall, Rose Marie Eash, Susan England, and Karen Sui/ridge.)
Author inspires ‘tough love’ welfare theory
WASHINGTON (AP) — To fight poverty in the 19th century. Americans shipped street children west lo work as unpaid farm hands, paid people hi lake indigents into their homes, and crowded the wretched mitt poorhouses.
That was better than the way America treats the poor today, says author Marvin Olasky. His book inspired House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s "tough love" approach to welfare reft inn
“It is one of the great works cif our lime,” Gingrich said recently about Olasky’s “The Tragedy of American Compassion."
Olasky’s conclusions about early American poverty-fighting differ starkly from those of other academics w ho siudy the same events.
Olasky, a journalism history protestor al the University of Texas and edt-lix of Wtirld, a Christian news magazine. researched old newspaper accounts and the journals of early American religious leaders and philanthropists.
He praises religious based charities that roused platoons of volunteers to give love and personal guidance lo the
Today in history
By The Associated Press
Today is Thursday. March 2, the bist day of IWS There are 304 days left in the year Today’s Highlight iii History:
On March 2, 1877, Republican Rutherford B Hayes was declared winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J T ilden, even (hough Tilden had won (fie popular vote arui was just one electoral vole shy of victory. (A special commission awarded 20 disputed electoral voles lo Hayes, making him die winner)
On (his date
In 1793, the first president of the
“worthy poor" — those willing to work and accept spiritual salvation.
Able-bodied men who refused lo work for their supper were turned away, he said. The charities believed giving handouts only encouraged begging. he said.
"We know how to fight poverty." Olasky told a congressional committee in January . "We had a successful antipoverty program a century ago."
Other historians paint a bleaker picture
"There is a very strong historical consensus" dial efforts of charities and local governments tailed to reduce the number of people in poverty, said David Hammock, professor of social policy history al Case Western Reserve University.
Olasky believes most modem American anti poverty efforts are misguided and destructive
He opposes churches giving soup and sandwiches to the homeless without requiring work in exchange, just as fie opposes government welfare programs.
“Now we may miss fewer people
Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, was born near Lexington, Va In 1836, I ex as declared its independence from Mexico In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U S citizenship.
In 1930. author D H Lawrence died in Vencc, France
In 1933, die motion picture "King Kong,” starring Fay Wray, had its world premiere in New York In 1939, Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pucclli was elected pope, he took the name Pius XII In 1939, the Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify die Bill ol Rights, 147 years alter die first IO amend-
materially, hut we have a system devoted to sustaining them in poverty,” Olasky said in an interview.
Giving ftxxl to a homeless alcoholic allows him to spend his change on alcohol and doesn’t push him into treatment or religious salvation, Olasky said
But there have always been some charities that gave aid to all who came. Today, religious groups of many faiths mn America’s best-known programs to give emergency food and sheller, without making moral demands.
"We do this because we value every human being and believe they unmade in mc image of God.” said the Rev. Fred Rammer, president of Catholic Charities USA The group also otters alcoholism treatment.
Olasky says other historians have either ignored or smugly rejected "pre-20lh century moral understandings.”
Some ol his unusual interpretations:
— Historians have generally described poorhouses as filthy, degrading institutions that herded together children, the elderly, die disabled, alcoholics, the mentally ill. the shiftless and the destitute.
Olasky calls them a "desperation
ments lo the U S Constitution had gone into effect
In 1943, the World War ll Battle of the Bismarck Sea began.
In 1949, an American B-50 Superfortress, tile "Lucky lardy ll,” landed at Fort Worth, Texas, aller completing the first nonstop, round the-world flight.
In 1955, (lie William luge play "Bus Stop” opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York
In 1977, tile IJS House of Re pre sedatives adopted a strict code of ethics.
Ten years ago: The government
safety net" for the idle whom church volunteers considered unworthy of help. Because of their "poor reputation," he writes, “no one would be attracted into pauperism."
—He praises as selfless souls those who took the poor into their homes and received county payments to cover their expenses But many ruthless people abused the poor to turn a profit, said Peter Dobkin Hall, a Yale University researcher who studies tile history of nonprofit groups.
"In New England in the 1700s, they auctioned oil Hie town poor lo the lowest bidder, the person willing to take them iii for tlx* least money,” Hall said.
-—Olasky praises the efforts of the New York Children’s Aid Society, which found farm homes for more than 91,500 youngsters between 1853 and 1893. 'Hie tanners were supposed to feed, house and educate tlx* children in return for their labor.
But Kathleen McCarthy, director of City University of New York’s Center lor tlx* Study of Philanthropy, called it "a very exploitive system ”
approved a screening lest for AID that detected antibodies it) tlx* viru allowing possibly contaminated blot) to he excluded from the blood suppF
Five years ago: More than 6,0(1 drivers went on strike against Grej hound Lines Inc. (the company, lait declaring an impasse in negotiation fired the strikers) A grenade attack ii a discotheque iii Panama claimed lf life til a U S. soldier and injured 2 other people.
One year ago: 'Hie government t Mexico and Indian rebels readied tentative accord on most insurgei demands for tlx* ending tlx rebel ho including sweeping political reform: