Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss Bible classes, good NRA members and intellectual thievery

Religious concern

As an ordained minister who always seeks to be a practicing Christian, I am deeply concerned about the idea of offering Bible classes in public schools, even as an elective. (Feb. 22, 10A, “Bible classes don’t belong in Missouri’s public high schools”)

Here is why: Throughout the Christian church, there are many ways of teaching and interpreting the Bible. Supporters of Missouri’s new House bill say they want to teach it as history — but again, there are numerous perspectives on what even that might mean.

Some Christian traditions believe in a literal interpretation of the scriptures, and some believe in a progressive, contextual and literary approach. And there are many approaches in between. Who would decide which is being offered? Who would decide on a teacher?

Whatever approach is chosen, even mine, would be a biased, government-supported approach and thus utterly inappropriate.

I strongly believe Bible teaching belongs in a church, synagogue or home, not in public schools. Perhaps a world religion class would be important to introduce many faiths to our students.

Citizens, wherever you stand on biblical interpretation, please urgently oppose this inappropriate and probably unconstitutional proposal, because if it is implemented, your own understanding might be wrongly presented in some student’s classroom.

Jane Fisler-Hoffman


When convenient

After all the noise about “fake news” and “enemy of the people” from a certain sector of the nation, it was priceless irony to hear Republican representatives requesting the inclusion of newspaper and magazine articles in the records about Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony.

Did they realize that was validation and endorsement of our free press and our valiant journalists?

Anita Macek

Roeland Park

Doing good

The president’s column in the March issue of the National Rifle Association’s “American Rifleman” magazine highlights the support the NRA renders to law enforcement. When gun violence is reported, there frequently is criticism of the NRA in these pages. Perhaps the public should be made aware of the following facts from the column:

▪  There was a 44 percent increase in the deaths of law-enforcement officers in 2018 over 2017. Training of those officers is one of the founding purposes of the NRA.

▪  The NRA has trained and certified 60,000 law-enforcement firearm instructors, tuition free.

▪  The NRA Line of Duty Death Benefit has paid out more than $3 million to families of NRA-member law-enforcement officers.

Not too shabby for an organization maligned for promoting gun violence. NRA members are not out in the streets killing people with illegal firearms.

John C. Weed

Overland Park

As expected

President Donald Trump spent a lot of the taxpayers’ money to go to Vietnam and praise a murderous dictator who he said was a wonderful friend and had a wonderful country. Let’s forget for a moment what the mission actually was for: denuclearization that was never going to happen anyway.

No, this is about a president who lavished praise on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who was responsible for the death of college student Otto Warmbier, and who believed that tyrant when he said he knew nothing about it. Nothing goes on in that country without Kim knowing.

This seems to be a pattern with Trump. He believed Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the brutal slaying of Jamal Khashoggi and, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of meddling in our elections.

The president believes dictators over our intelligence agencies. What could possibly be next?

Larry E. Winterton


Another verse

The charge of research thievery by a UMKC pharmacy professor at the expense of a graduate assistant is déjà vu for me. (Feb. 27, 1A, “UMKC says professor stole, sold student’s research”)

Back in the 1940s, the same thing happened with streptomycin, the first drug used successfully against tuberculosis. Albert Schatz, my next-door neighbor in Passaic, N.J., had made the discovery in the Rutgers microbiology lab of his professor, Selman Waksman. When he learned Waksman had pocketed royalties from the drug, aided and abetted by the university, Al sued and received a settlement.

Adding insult to injury, Waksman received the Nobel Prize for the “discovery” of streptomycin. Learning of Al’s role, however, the Nobel committee altered the citation, saying Waksman’s labors “led to the discovery.”

I spoke with Al not long before he died in 2005. He was still bitter.

Norm Ledgin