Randy Cohen's "Ethics Quiz" in the Oct. 2 Blade left me shocked. I believe he was wrong seven out of 10 times. The correct answers to his quiz, according to me, are:
1. Get wet. Just because someone stole your umbrella does not justify stealing someone else's.
2. I agree. Treat the ailing cat. After all a cat is a member of the family.
3. Lying about your age is not OK. What else will you lie about once you've started?
4. Avert your glance. Voyeurism is not a healthy pastime.
5. Wrong is still wrong and always will be, regardless the price.
6. The prospective employer has every right to know if a new hire is pregnant and how long the applicant will be able to work.
7. I agree. If a visiting child breaks an antique, talk to his parents.
8. How other people worship or don't is none of anyone's business.
9. I agree. If a professor erroneously graded a paper too high, he should correct it even if it is the student who calls it to his attention.
10. The doctor should urge his adulterous patient to talk to his wife. This absolves the doctor of any further responsibility.
We really don't need someone as poorly equipped as Mr. Cohen teaching ethics.
After all, we have our moral government to learn from!
RICHARD M. REDER
Ethicist (?) Randy Cohen needs to get a day job. His Oct. 2 ethics quiz was flawed from the very beginning.
He assumes that taking a similar umbrella is quid pro quo. Consider that his better quality umbrella may have been taken by someone who didn't bring in an umbrella. Mr. Cohen is stealing, just as that person stole. Inserting an umbrella into the basket doesn't set up an automatic entitlement to any umbrella in the basket. The correct answer is not in the choices. Ask the shopkeeper.
Question three was flawed because a theater manager could get in trouble for admitting an unattended, underage kid to an R-rated movie.
Situation four involved one of the seven deadly sins. You guess which one. (Pull the blinds.)
Situation six will stick some unsuspecting employer with three months of sanctioned layoff for an employee he just spent almost seven months training. And so on.
Mr. Cohen gets his East Coast ethics from a book different from mine.
Robert L. Faison
The advice given by ethics columnist Randy Cohen illustrates the demise of ethics today.
In his quiz, he said the person ogling an exhibitionist neighbor should enjoy the view. This kind of voyeurism is lust, which often grows from sin in the mind to sin in deed. If the neighbor is married, the voyeur would be guilty of coveting another woman's husband. If a man were viewing the neighbor, he would commit fornication in his heart, assuming men do that more readily in their imaginations than do women. Mr. Cohen, in this case, gives advice contrary to Judeo-Christian ethics.
Mr. Cohen thinks it's OK, when you are a guest, to discuss sexism in a host's dinner prayer. That would be unnecessarily rude. Furthermore, I wonder what he thinks is "sexism" in a prayer. Addressing God as Father?
Mr. Cohen thinks it's OK for minors to dishonestly see R-rated movies, thus circumventing society's efforts to prevent underage kids from seeing excessive violence and sexual content without their parents.
As for the doctor and the Viagra prescription, there is no reason to assume the husband intends adultery. He may not want to admit to his wife that he's gotten a prescription. Therefore, the doctor should encourage her to pour on the affection, showing interest without pressuring the husband to perform. When prescribing Viagra, he should encourage the husband to use it for rekindling the original match with the wife of his youth.
As for the boys who, together, broke the lamp with their rough play, they need to symbolically pay for the damage with a chore of some sort while the boy is visiting.
Mr. Cohen seems to "strain at gnats and swallow camels" - something warned against by the greatest ethicist of all time, Jesus.
Barbara Mason Rohrs
Clarence Page's Sept. 28 column said that "Congress plans to trim spending for Medicaid, food stamps, and other social programs by $35 billion over the next five years" to offset expenses for hurricane victims. So what we're going to do here is slash programs for people who have no other way of surviving to help people who have no other way to survive.
When someone's house burns down he expects to have additional expenses to rebuild. He may go out to dinner less, see one less movie each month, or keep that old, paid-for car instead of buying a new one. I don't think I have ever heard of a person who stopped eating, stopped going to the doctor, and cut back on their income to pay for the additional expense.
I have a daughter with cerebral palsy. Without such programs it would cost us, in addition to the normal expenses of having a child, $80,000 a year just to keep her going. That doesn't include the mortgage, electric, gas, water, car, insurance, and food. How does Congress expect me to pay for even more than what I already do? Without those programs how are we to survive?
It's my guess that most of the people in the ravaged south are on these programs themselves. So the way we plan to pay for helping these people is to take money and programs essential to their survival away. What a grand country this is.
Chad R. Browning
In response to Forum contributor Roland Scharer, a better question is "How will you be remembered?" History will take care of President Bush. What will Mr. Scharer's contribution be? Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Gloria J. Urban
The abortion debate should have been over on Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court decided women have the right to privacy, guaranteed by the Constitution.
None of the children pictured in the Oct. 2 edition of The Blade would have been aborted at 24, 26, or 27 weeks. Except for rare circumstances, abortions after 23 weeks are illegal. That has been determined to be the age of viability by the scientific and medical community and no amount of technology can change the physiology of fetal development.
The debate is being carried out by religious ideology that completely ignores the truth about the devastation an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy can have on the life of the woman or girl involved. By blurring the line between science and religion, abortion opponents are succeeding in making abortion as dangerous and humiliating as possible.
It is the woman, young or old, who is the victim. Since many pregnancies are the result of rape, incest, and coercion, forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will is nothing more than slavery.
Abortion was not invented or promoted by Roe vs. Wade, and keeping it legal and accessible not only guarantees safety, sterile conditions, and support, it shows respect for the victim, and the lives of our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters who died at the hands of criminals because they didn't have a choice.
Sally J. Keller
In two weeks, six people have died in our area at rural intersections because drivers ran a stop sign. Was the sun in their eyes? Was the corn too high? We may never know.
But these questions and deaths are easily avoidable with one simple solution: rumble strips. They are in place on Sylvania Avenue at State Rt. 295 in Berkey and should be installed at every rural two-way stop across America. What an inexpensive and effective way to prevent accidents and save lives.
Manitou Beach, Mich.
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