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We'd like to hear from you about the firing of University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle. Please follow the guidelines for letters to the editor in the information box on this page. Letters will be published in Sunday's Insight section.

HPD officer's criticism off base and insulting

David Hernandez's complaints about the Honolulu Police Department, especially concerning the selection proc-ess for the chief of police, are insulting to his fellow officers and a disservice to the community ("Gathering Place," June 15). He gives readers the impression that the department is somehow faltering. On the contrary, HPD is progressive, thriving and well respected nationally and internationally. Being awarded accredited status from a national accreditation agency is just one of HPD's recent achievements.

Much of HPD's success is due to our officers' being responsive to the communities they serve and to their fellow officers. Likewise, our commanders are accessible to any citizen or officer who has a concern. We consistently report on our activities and solicit feedback at community meetings and public hearings across the island.

As to the selection of the next chief, Hernandez is misleading readers when he says that the new chief will not have the necessary experience and qualifications. As someone who has experienced the process firsthand, I know the Honolulu Police Commission takes its duty seriously and goes to great lengths to ensure that only the most qualified candidates are considered. I am confident that the next chief not only will qualify on paper, but also will be able to lead, motivate and inspire our officers.

Lee D. Donohue
Chief, Honolulu Police Department

Adult stem cells also have medical use

As someone who has a relative with Alzheimer's disease, I found your June 12 editorial supporting federal financing of human embryonic stem cell research offensive, particularly its timing with the passing of former President Reagan.

It was announced recently that Alzheimer's disease is the least likely disease to be cured using stem cells. However, you ignored successful adult stem cell research, which has led to medical cures; whereas, to date, there have been no human embryonic stem cell scientific benefits proven. Private research facilities are free to pursue human embryonic stem cell research. However, misdirecting our federal taxpayer money away from adult stem cell to human embryonic stem cell research may deny people a cure, including my relative. This issue should be decided on facts and not driven by those with a political agenda.

Janice Pechauer

Relentless attacks on 'under God' must stop

The U.S. Supreme Court left the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, but the court's decision might not be the great victory it should have been. The majority of the justices did not rule that "under God" is constitutional. Instead, the court dismissed the lawsuit on a legal technicality.

The technicality is that atheist Michael Newdow did not have the legal authority to bring the case in the first place. Newdow sued to remove "under God" from the pledge on behalf of his 9-year-old daughter. He is not a custodial parent, and it's important to note that Newdow's daughter and the young girl's mother, who is the custodial parent, disagreed with the lawsuit. If the daughter really wanted to avoid reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, that would have been fine with the school district. Reciting the pledge is voluntary, not required.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist said in his opinion that "under God" is constitutional. If the rest of the Supreme Court justices had agreed with the chief justice, we would not have to endure this kind of attack on the Pledge of Allegiance again. But only two other justices agreed with Rehnquist.

This could mean that the language "under God" will be put on trial again and again until the Supreme Court finally says the words are constitutional or until the court uses the bogus "separation of church and state" to blot out another public expression of our country's heritage.

When President Eisenhower signed the bill to add "under God" to the pledge, he said, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

Eisenhower was right, and the court should have said so.

James Hochberg
Attorney at law

Separate church, state and God will still exist

God is not a church. God is the word of choice we use to describe the creator of existence. One may use other names or words, and that is acceptable. However, our nation and a majority have chosen the name "God" to describe the creator.

When God made the world, there were no churches. Churches are the creation of man. To eliminate every church would not eliminate God. Eliminate Earth, God would still exist. God does not need churches, churches need God. And one does not need a church to believe in God. So why do people who want to separate church from state object to the reference of God, when God has no connection to churches?

When we say "God will strike you dead," do we mean a church will kill you? Or say "an act of God" means church will cause a natural disaster? How small-minded. "In God we trust" is far, far removed from trusting in churches.

Our forefathers had the foresight to recognize this spiritual entity and use it as a source for strength, guidance and blessing. Like it or not, we are all "under God," because we exist. An atheist could reject the existence of God but could never assert we don't exist.

So if our courts would rule that God is the name we chose for the creator of our existence, with no connection with an established church or religion, it would eliminate all this petty litigation to the contrary.

Ken Chang

Reagan ignored church-state division

In regard to the legacy of President Reagan: The most important contribution he made was to break down, at least partially, the wall of separation between church and state, when on Jan. 10, 1984, the United States sent an ambassador to the Vatican paid for by the tax dollars of Americans.

While we respect all faiths and people, there were moral reasons for President Kennedy in a campaign speech to tell the conservative Houston Ministerial Association, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute."

A good result of the "Holy Alliance" between Reagan and the pope was to hasten the demise of communism, allowing faith to penetrate the "iron curtain."

There were many reasons for 9/11.

Howard Loewen


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