Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor, October 22, 2015

Pope's critics fear his activism

Watching coverage of the pope's visit to America and listening to the reaction of some conservatives, I was struck by their inconsistency.

The pope's critics focused on his statements to Congress asking politicians not to be "a slave to the economy and finance" but to serve their people.

Yet conservatives remained remarkably silent in criticizing the former hedge fund manager who acquired the marketing rights to a drug called Daraprim, then raised the price from $13.50 to $750, despite production costs of $1 per pill. Conservatives only want to use religion if it coincides with and can be used as a tool to further their political agenda, the rest of the time it should be ignored.

Critics of Pope Francis' message worry he is transforming the church into one where Catholics become socially conscious and actively work for a just social order. This has been labeled liberation theology. However, this is consistent with Catholic social teaching that began in the 19th century with Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum.

Critics believe the pope should confine his message strictly to church parishioners on Sundays. Those denouncing the pope's message are frightened of the potential political ramifications of such Catholic social activism.

James F. Wisniewski


Vote for true leaders

If you have not seen the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service you should. It is an entertaining twist on the spy genre featuring millennials. In Lexington, I was appalled that folks in the audience thought it was funny.

Kentucky is a laughingstock for the rest of civilization. My family's roots on both sides reach back so far in Kentucky they're obscured, and I am ashamed of this image we project to the rest of the world.

You can point to external forces that saddled us with this infamous reputation. Advances in technology have brought global community closer. The United States, Earth's most powerful country, draws scrutiny from the others and, while they aspire to import U.S. slick, modern, popular culture, Kentucky has become the U.S.' skeleton-in-its-closet.

But it is Kentuckians' own fault. Average Kentucky folks do what they have always done which is the best they can with what they have. The cultural image we project is a function of our leadership. One ancillary benefit of universal broadband access would be an engaged and knowledgeable electorate that elects public officials with ability to lead Kentucky through the 21st century. Cast your vote this November.

Doug Epling


GMOs not a scourge

A recent commentary claims that genetically modified foods "are a top candidate for causing autism," as well as almost anything else that can go wrong with you.

Genetic modification uses the tools of modern biology to make crops more resistant to insects or diseases, allow them to be grown in new environments, and improve taste, appearance or nutritional value. The author's complaint is not against GM foods in general, but a specific application to make crops resistant to the herbicide Roundup. The author claims these GMO crops are low in zinc and magnesium, contributing to diabetes, mental disorders and cancer. If so, we could cure or prevent these diseases with a multivitamin.

The Roundup resistant food crops are soybeans, canola, sugar beets, papaya, squash and corn. The only one that is significantly consumed as an unprocessed food is corn. The mineral content of the processed foods (soybean oil, canola oil, sugar, corn starch and corn syrup) is negligible, no matter how it is produced, thus it can't matter whether the crops have been genetically modified.

Ten years ago, it was mercury that was supposed to be causing autism, then it was vaccines. This theory is wrong, just like the others.

Joseph P. Straley


It's guns, not mental illness

It seems reasonable to presume that a similar proportion of the population in, let us say, Australia, France and the United States is affected by mental illness.

It is only in the U.S., however, that we see the domestic carnage caused by all-too-frequent mass shootings. Let us, then, not hide behind mental illness as the explanation for the killings, even admitting that many of the perpetrators may be unbalanced.

The answer, rather, is simply that America is awash in guns. Guns do not make Americans free, indeed quite the opposite. We are prisoners in a lunatic asylum of our own making

David A. Smith


Start at home

Barack Obama announced to the United Nations his plan for eliminating global poverty. Really, Barack? How about starting at home where more than 6 million more Americans are now living in poverty since you became president.

Dale Henley