The Mormon Church's controversial posthumous baptism of Jews; Israel vs. Iran over nuclear weapons; the debate over Prop. 8

Taking baptisms too far

Re "Mormon Church apologizes," Feb. 15

I am insulted to my core by the Mormon Church's posthumous baptism of Jews, including the parents of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. My father's family was totally decimated by the Nazis, and so was part of my mother's family. Are we living in the 21st century or in the Dark Ages?

This is cynicism at its highest form. It also exposes the Mormon Church as a lying entity. In the past, the church promised that this ghoulish practice of baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims would stop, but it didn't.

How can anybody ever believe anything that comes out of the Mormon Church?

Adam Mekler


Some other choices on Iran

Re "A clear, stark choice," Opinion, Feb. 14

Benny Morris asserts, with no evidence, that if Iran got a nuclear bomb it would use it against Israel. He fails to acknowledge that Israel and the United States would probably destroy Iran if it carried out such an attack.

It seems to mean nothing to Morris that Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes. And even if Iran had a bomb, it has no delivery system.

Morris implies that the only reason Iran is working to get a nuclear bomb is to destroy Israel. More likely is that Iran has noticed that it is surrounded by American military bases and that the U.S. threatens Iran with regime change. Iran has also noticed that Israel has its own nuclear arsenal.

The U.S. and Israel should declare a Middle East nuclear-free zone and invite Iran to join.

Jeff Warner

La Habra Heights

It would be extremely foolish for Israel to attack Iran.

If Israel were to strike Iran with conventional bombs, all it would accomplish would be to delay the development of atomic weapons for a few years. If Israel wants to survive, it must use its atomic weapons against Iran, ensuring that Iran would never be able to develop atomic weapons.

Such action by Israel would likely cause World War III, but Israel wouldn't be to blame. The responsibility would fall on the nations that permitted Iran to even come close to developing weapons of mass destruction.

Jason G. Brent

Port Hueneme

Morris suggests that if Iran succeeds in making nuclear weapons, a nuclear war in the Middle East is inevitable. History suggests otherwise.

The only time a nation has ever attacked another with nuclear weapons was when the other nation had no nuclear weapons of its own. This is no coincidence; mutually assured destruction is a powerful incentive to avoid nuclear war.

Jeremy Friesner


The fuss over marriage

Re "Prop. 8simply can't justify itself," Opinion, Feb. 13

In all the back-and-forth over same-sex marriage, little discussed is just how absurd many states' laws are regarding marriage.

Two friends of mine were recently married by one of their friends who had paid $58 to the state of California in exchange for the right to perform marriages for a period of 24 hours. Another person in New Jersey has been able to marry several couples because she paid $1 for a certificate declaring her to be a minister.

All this folly could be avoided, it seems to me, if everyone got a civil union sanctioned by the state, and then those who wished could choose to be "married" by whomever, wherever. But perhaps people enjoy the controversies and therefore choose to perpetuate them.

David Ewell

Huntington Beach

Dale Carpenter asks Proposition 8's supporters to more convincingly answer one question: Why?

It's simple: The meaning of marriage has always been the legal union of a man and a woman. It is the design of nature; it's not discrimination against homosexuals.

California has recognized committed same-sex relationships with a broad domestic partnership law. Do we want to change the meaning of marriage? No.

Gloria Simms


No, Virginia

Re "2 antiabortion bills pass," Feb. 15

What's going on in Virginia? It seems impossible that two bills practically outlawing abortion passed by 63-36 and 66-32 votes in the Virginia House.

If the Legislature is so concerned with abortion, why not also require that the man who impregnated the woman needing the abortion undergo a vasectomy? Or how about a law mandating that every one of those people who voted to outlaw abortions adopts a couple of abandoned children? I know my suggestions are about as absurd as Virginia's bills, but I'm angry.

Lyenll Marshall

La Palma

Healthcare ills

Re "Pull the plug on health system," Column, Feb. 14

Thanks to David Lazarus for his cogent list of flaws in the diminishing tradition of employer-funded health insurance. One more argument: It is unfair that the self-employed are charged higher rates for individual plans. Many, like myself, have had to drop their plans altogether.

The least insurance companies could do is to pool all payments rather than gouge one sector to benefit another. After all, wasn't that the original premise for health insurance — everyone pays a little so that when it's our turn to get sick, the funds will be there?

I agree with Lazarus. Why pay for an extra layer of a profit-driven insurance middleman? A Medicare-for-all system would level the playing field for all Americans. With every individual contributing to one pool, think how huge the pot would be.

Susan Braig


Our busy mayor

Re "Mayor takes on new role in party," Feb. 15

So Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been selected to chair this summer's Democratic National Convention. Your article says he will "wield the gavel," "serve as a convention spokesman," "raise money to help pay for the convention," "play a role in the campaign's outreach to Latino voters" and campaign for the president's reelection.

When asked about his future plans, the mayor said, "I'm only focused on my job right now." I wonder which job — convention chairman, campaigner for President Obama, running for higher office, or the job he is getting paid to do by the people of Los Angeles?

Michael Barclay


Doctors' bills

Re "U.S. health chief touts loan program for medical students," Feb. 14

I'm happy that theU.S. Department of Health and Human Serviceshas made $9 million available to new doctors willing to work in family medicine. Still, few doctors will actually be helped with this sum.

The article notes that the grants could be as much as $120,000. But with grants of even $50,000, this $9 million would help fewer than 200 doctors.

It's easy to identify a problem and announce a program to address it. However, $50,000 toward a much larger student debt will not be sufficient motivation for young doctors to forgo more lucrative specialty practices.

Barbara Schenk

Los Angeles

Just say ja

Re "Germany, Greece glare across a financial divide," Feb. 15

As an ex-Brit, I would more likely be pro-Greek than pro-German. But this time, the Germans have it right: Greece should be emulating, not criticizing, Germany.

Robert Alexander

Seal Beach

Seawater sense

Re "Desalination plant wins regional agency's OK," Feb. 13

If the desalination facility that is being proposed for Huntington Beach can somehow include methods to save sea life (such as barriers for fish and other life forms before the water is consumed by the plant), then maybe environmentalists would be more receptive to the idea.

Maureen K. Halikis

Los Angeles

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