No mention of God, faith in column
To the editor:
I was very surprised to read the column on patriotism by Therese Borchard printed in our Catholic Herald [print edition only]. In Ms. Borchard's column there is no mention of God, faith, or prayers. Our Catholic values were completely replaced with chest thumping praise for America. I would like to respond to three points in Borchard's column.
First, Borchard cites that young people are not embarrassed to support those fighting in a war in Iraq. A Catholic, universal Church looks at all people as children of God and is saddened by war. Instead of singing patriotic songs at war time, Pope John Paul would encourage young people to recognize brothers and sisters around the world. Patriotism gives license for "us and them" thinking.
Secondly, Borchard refers to young Americans who love their country because they are "king and absolute ruler of our own destiny." There is no response to the Pope's critique of a culture of death or critique of our consumer society. Individualism is championed, but there is no mention of care for our neighbor who may be without health insurance. Diversity is honored without asking why people of color are on the bottom of the U.S. economic ladder.
As absolute rulers of our destiny, Americans are free to abort one million babies a year. Our country spends one half of its discretionary budget on weapons and one tenth of one percent on foreign development aid to assist those created in God's image.
Thirdly, Borchard seems to laud young people for having "no memory of the horrors of war"; she states that, "young people eagerly rally to defend liberty, equality, justice, and democracy here and abroad. Liberty should allow us the freedom to serve God first. Equality should make Americans very uncomfortable with our wealth amidst most of the world's poverty. Biblical justice has a stern message for those who depend on military might. Democracy would allow the world's poor, sick, hungry, and homeless population a real voice to proclaim, "God loves us too!"
If young people are eager to defend liberty, equality, justice, and democracy, then prayer would be a fitting response that would lead to building global relationships that would build love for a single human family. The kind of patriotism Borchard portrays, on the other hand, creates divisive borders that only divide the human family.
What would I have Catholics reflect on over Independence Day? Many people came to the new world for religious freedom. If we were to be loyal followers of our founders, we too would be dreamers. We would dream of sharing medicine, job safety standards, and pollution control techniques. Communication advances could be employed to create a genuine family. Our number one joy would be the freedom to serve God and to serve others.
Fr. Jim Murphy, Platteville
Ethical sources for stem cells
To the editor:
Some research laboratories would have us believe that the only sources of stem cells are from the bodies of aborted human babies or from destroyed cloned human embryos. Other reputable research laboratories insist there are many other sources for stem cells that do not involve the harming or destruction of human life.
These other sources are blood from the umbilical cords of newborn human babies, adult bone marrow, adult skin and hair follicles, and children's baby teeth. Some scientists have hope that stem cells could be extracted from human cadavers.
As pro-life Catholics we should support research on the extraction of stem cells from sources other than aborted human babies or from destroyed cloned human embryos. Promoters of obtaining stem cells from aborted human babies or from destroyed cloned human embryos seem to be beholden to pro-abortion organizations.
Charles J. Sippel, Waterloo