It is hard to describe Gwynne Dyer's April 6 commentary on the death of Pope John Paul II, although words like cynical, snide, and self-centered spring immediately to mind. It's also hard to figure out what Mr. Dyer believes in, if anything, and what perspective he has on life.
Perhaps he doesn't believe the end of communism was important, or that the Pope had anything to do with it. Perhaps he doesn't think human rights are important, although the Pope certainly thought so.
Perhaps he doesn't believe in reconciliation between races and religions, or peace on earth, although the Pope worked tirelessly for those things.
Perhaps he doesn't believe in God by any name. That's his right, but I doubt he would have the courage to take that stand publicly. The Pope certainly had the courage to stand for his beliefs, even when those beliefs put him in physical danger.
The legacy of John Paul will be that a person didn't have to agree with him, or share his faith, to recognize his humanity, his spirituality, and his love for humankind. He made us all want to be better, and he made the world a better place for having been here.
I wonder, who will come to Mr. Dyer's funeral when he dies, and what will they say about him? I'm sure that Pope John Paul II would have said that he loved Mr. Dyer, even if Mr. Dyer didn't return that love, or even care that he had received it.
The Blade editorial supporting the 60-day jail sentence for Ed Bergsmark, who was convicted of fraud, reminded me of those Pharisees who cried out "Crucify Him!" at Pilate's trial of Jesus of Narzareth.
The Blade calls for a punishment for this old man who can barely walk and is no threat to society any longer with his ill-advised business decisions. If Bergsmark serves his penalty at a Corrections Medical Center or at home with an electronic monitor his civil rights have already been greatly curtailed.
I find it distressing to hear that Bergsmark's membership in his local Masonic Lodge is being revoked. Free Masonry has called for his expulsion on the grounds he is a convicted criminal. No matter he has been a member in good standing for many years, or a respected citizen in his community. Perhaps Free Masonry could reflect upon the writings of Albert Pike and others who see Masonry as a loving fraternal brotherhood of charitable intentions.
Let the local Masons take a lesson from the Christian Bible they so easily allude to and read of the forgiveness granted to the thief upon the cross next to Jesus at Calvary. Perhaps a second chance from his Masonic brothers who hypocritically endorse conditional love toward their members would serve both Masons and our local community in a better light.
Let the Masons practice what they preach. Instead of nurturing and embracing a member who had sinned against his brothers and society, they devour those who have become weak in conduct and broken in spirit.
As Jesus said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
My advice to Bergsmark is to seek safety immediately. The stones are "incoming."
Will we ever see Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield assume responsibility for his actions?
Now the fault of the insurgency falls on Turkey's shoulders for not allowing U.S. troops to invade Iraq from Turkish soil. Yet, not too long before the invasion this administration had been praising, rightly, the development of Turkey as a democratic Islamic country. But when 85 percent of the Turkish people and their elected officials opposed the U.S. plan to invade through their country, Mr. Rumsfield assumed their leaders would still follow his military demands.
Mr. Rumsfield might be much happier with a toady dictatorship that does his will rather than an elected government supported by the voting populace. So now, instead of poor planning by Mr. Rumsfield's Defense Department, he has announced that our problems are caused by the lack of Turkish support. Amazing.
DAVID J. DUROSS
Mount Vernon Avenue
After reading the story headlined "Band's lawsuit proves costly," I can't help but come to the conclusion that the only true "pawns" in this saga are Luci Gernot, the Rossford schools superintendent, and the taxpayers in the Rossford school district.
With at least one parent threatening to sue the district if it did allow Pawn to play, Ms. Gernot and the school board decided against allowing the concert during school hours, and offered an after-school time slot. That didn't suit the Christian band, and they decided to lodge a suit, requesting $1 per plaintiff for this perceived slight.
Although the amount requested in monetary award is charitable, I can't believe Pawn and its advisers didn't foresee the expenses the school district would incur in defending itself. This begs the question, does such "punishment" fit well with Christian doctrine?
In any case, it appears that Ms. Gernot and the Rossford school district has been checkmated by a rook in Pawn's clothing.
CHRISTOPHER T. WERKMAN
Global warming - fact or emotion? Has the climate changed? Yes. This area was a glacier long ago. Many forces of nature are still a mystery. But those who profess global warming should consider some facts.
The late Lyle R. Fletcher, a geologist and climatologist at Bowling Green State University, wrote a book that said "the decade of 1930-1939 was the hottest recorded decade in the history of America's weather." In Bowling Green there were 24 days of 100 degrees or above in 1936 with July 10 and 14 at 110. Toledo was 105 on July 14.
Toledo's official weather bureau, established in 1928, had a record low temperature of minus-16 until Jan. 23, 1963. On that date a new record of minus-17 was recorded. On Jan. 21, 1984, a record of minus-20 was set. On Jan. 19, 1994, it was minus-18.
These facts show that the highest temperatures were some 70 years ago. It also shows that the coldest time in our area was in the last 20 years.
Some people predict the melting of the polar ice caps, causing rising ocean levels. Floating ice displaces its own weight in water. So how can the sea rise if the polar ice caps melt?
Some scientists agree that some ice has melted in the Arctic, but they also agree that the Antarctic, where the most ice is, has gained ice. Is it any wonder why our country rejected the Kyoto Protocol with a Senate vote of 95-0?
It is time to think rationally about environmental concerns. The case for global warming is a very flimsy one at best, and for the environmentalists to run it into a political issue shows little regard for truth.
Did you know that there is a little known clause of the No Child Left Behind Act that requires public schools to provide military service recruiters with students' names, addresses, and home phone numbers - or lose federal funds? College students and high school students are seeing an increase in the presence of recruiters on their campuses and in their high schools respectively.
How does this provision increase student performance on tests?
"No Child Left Behind" from what?
JANET C. ALBRIGHT
Consider the comment from Dennis White, chief of the Ohio Democratic Party, regarding the state's rare-coin investment: "It's another example of when you have one party that controls everything, you will have shenanigans."
Obviously he intended to exclude Toledo, where, for the past 40-plus years, we've been blessed with such stellar, community-centered, intellectually inspired, unselfish, goal-seeking, get-the-job-done, dedicated Democrats.
Oops. Is that my tongue stuck in my cheek again?