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January 22, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-22

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A

OPINION
Thursday, January 22, 1981

4

e '4

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
merica must not renege

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Anti-porn frenzy is reactionary

To the Daily:
Firing a rifle through the win-
dow of a Cambridge bookstore
because it carried Playboy,
leading mass marches to "clean
up" Times Square, calling cops
on Harvard students for showing
Deep Throat and picketing scores
of other films all over the coun-
try, offering bounties for the cap-

ture of alleged rapists and
"taking back the night" with
marches which resemble lynch
mobs - these are the activities
which presently consume what is
left of the feminist movement.
Whereas ten years ago feminism
used to be identified with militant
struggle - however misguided -
against oppression, today's anti-

N 9W THAT Iran has fulfilled its
promise to release the 52
Apericans it held hostage, there have
srrfaced disturbing suggestions that
America should renege on its side of
tbe agreement. The Wall Street Jour-
nal, the newspaper with the nation's
largest circdlation, said in an editorial
yesterday that the agreement that
secured the release of the American
hostages has no "moral standing" and
urged the Reagan administration to
renounce the deal. And now the new
administrators at the Reagan State
Department are beginning to hedge on
committing themselves to fulfilling
America's half of the bargain.
in its editorial, the Wall Street Jour-
nal advised Reagan to carefully
examine the agreement, warning "if
its unfulfilled parts, on balance,
benefit American interests, there
should be no hesitation in renouncing
it." The editorial also said the
agreement "has the same moral stan-
ding as an agreement made with a kid-
napper, that is to say none at all.'
Also yesterday, the Reagan ad-
ministration refused to commit itself
to fulfilling the terms of the
agreement, saying instead that a
careful review of the terms would first
be necessary. "The intention at this
point," said the new State Department
spokesman William Dyess, "is to study
these aspects very closely."
It is alarming that well-placed jour-
nalists and government officials are

seriously discussing the possibility of
reneging on the U.S.-Iran agreement.
First, such a deceitful violation of in-
ternational trust would gravely,
perhaps irreparably, damage
America's foreign relations for years
to come. It would be foolish to expect
any nation to enter .into a future
agreement with the United States with
the knowledge that America may or
may not later decide to abide by that
agreement. The reneging of an inter-
national agreement would only rein-
force the manipulative, exploitative
image of America held by many Third
World and independent nations. Of
course, an argument could be made
that this agreement represents a
unique circumstance and, after all,
Iran violated international trust when
it took hostages. Yet, it is not the policy
of the United States to justify the
reciprocation of the violation of inter-
national law.
Second, the vast bulk of what
America has agreed to hand over to the
Iranians is in fact Iranian assets. To
refuse to return those assets-
although the capital might benefit
"American interests"-would be no
less than stealing.
The Reagan administration, if it is to
avoid a mistake that would have
disastrous effects on American foreign
relations, should fulfill the terms of the
agreement negotiated by the Carter
administration.

Potter not born again .

0 0

To the Daily:
Christopher Potter's column of
January 16 concerned and
distressed me a great deal. Once
again the Daily has misrepresen-
ted Christianity, and once again I
must respond. Mr. Potter claims
to have been born again a few
years ago, an experience that
brought him a temporary
euphoria that faded upon contact
with reality. He sounds as if he
were once deluded by a grand
myth, but then later came to his
senses, as if recovering from an
illness.
Mr. Potter, I can assure you
that you were never born again.
Listen to your own words. "The
experiment never really took."
"I managed to descend my
mountaintop before the san-
ctimony habit took root." You
never gave Christ a chance, and
He used some of your own words
to describe you.
In the parable of the farmer
who was sowing seeds, "some
fell on thin soil with underlying
rock. It grew quickly enough, but
soon wilted beneath the hot sun
and died because the roots had no
nourishment in the shallow soil.
The rocky soil represents the
hearts of those who hear the
message with joy, but like young
plants in such soil, their roots
don't go very deep, and though at
first they get along fine, as soon
as persecution begins, they wilt."
(Mark 4: 5, 6, 16, 17)
Mr. Potter, you "reverted to
the teachings of a lifetime" when
"the reality of a less than
heavenly world swiftly reasser-
ted itself." I share, your concern
for the grief-stricken of this
world, but. please consider this
very thought. How do we know
that such a situation is bad-not
just against our personal wishes,
but truly contrary to a very real,
immobile standard of good? How
can we call a line crooked without
an intuitive notion of "straight?"
I submit to you that you have a
very real knowledge, recognized
or not, that there is something
beyond our perception of the
world, from which a true stan-
dard of goodness arises. Your
violent reaction against the in-
justice of this world appeared to
be pivotal in your rejection of a

personal relationship with God
through Christ, but isn't a world-
gone-bad the very thing that
would need a redeemer?
Concerning- the Moral
Majority, I think you pegged it
very well. Old values, and the
"dreadful, meaningless little
games'' of this world become
truly insignificant in the light of a
new life in Christ. That does not
mean that such people become
hopelessly alienated from objec-
tive politics. If I may quote C. S.
Lewis: "If you read history you
will find that the Christians who
did most for the present world
were just those who thought most
of the next. The Apostles them-
selves, who set on foot the con-
version of the Roman Empire,
the great men who built up the
Middle Ages, the English
Evangelicals who abolished the
Slave Trade, all left their mark
on Earth, precisely-because their
minds were occupied with
Heaven. It is since Christians
have largely ceased to think of
the other world that they have
become so ineffective in this. Aim
at Heaven and you will get earth
'thrown in'; aim at earth and you
will get neither."
Concerning the "Jesus
politics" of America, I disagree
strongly that the Bill of Rights
becomes a "nasty nuisance," and
I must question your self-
imposed motto: "Only in unity
under Christ will America
conquer hersamassed adver-
saries." Such an eventuality is
inconceivable to today's born
again Christian. The Bible in-
dicates through prophecy that the
days of this earth, as we know it,
are numbered and that the final
victory willfgo to no one but
Christ Himself.
Mr. Potter, you said three
times in your article that it is so
easy to believe in Christ, and you
related that you did feel
something incredible when you
just bowed your head and asked
for help. I beg of you; please con-
sider again that this just might be
the real answer. Don't let
"sophistication" prevent you
from really becoming a member
of the "club".
-Steve Hamilton
January 19

porn crusaders have moved so
far to the right that some even
embrace anti-homosexual bigot
Anita Bryant as a "sister." Ac-
cording to the Feminist Connec-
tion (October 1980), "poor Anita,
who not so long ago was
mobilizing Bible-thumping,
right-to-life yahoos against gays,
is now just 'an emotionally bat-
tered wife' and we must reach out
to her now and make her path
easier."
Feminists have recently taken
to the warpath against por-
nography under the ridiculous
slogan: "Pornography is the
Theory, Rape is the Practice." At
a time when Ronald Reagan is
moving into the White House with
the political backing of the
"Moral Majority" and the Klan,
when the Polish pope declares
that even looking at your wife
with lust is adultery, when self-
proclaimed leftists cheer the
veiling of Iranian and Afghan
women, this latest outburst of
petty-bourgeois moralism reflec-
ts the general rightward drift and
supports the recent government
and right-wing offensive against
social "deviance" of all sorts.
(Deviant from what? As someone
once said, perversion is whatever
you don't happen to be into.)
The. anti-porn frenzy is
dangerous and reactionary, put-
ting feminists in an objective bloc
with the most conservative forces

Obliquity

SNo excuse for prejudice

NATIONAL PRIDE is a healthy
thing, but in retrospect, it ap-
pears that some Americans might
have gone too far with their patriotic
fervor over the course of the 444-day
hostage crisis. Iranians in
America-including in Ann Ar-
bor-have spoken of instances of
bigotry ever since the American em-
bassy was seized 14 mnonths ago.
Certainly the problem was worse in
other parts of the United States, with
signs appearing in shop windows in
various places barring Iranians from
being served, and many visiting
Iranians reporting harrassment on the
job, irrespective of their political
beliefs. One can hardly remember a
national prejudice spawned \so sud-
denly and irrationally since millions of
Japanese were imprisoned during
World War II, for no crime other than
their place of national origin or an-
cestry.
This time, there was a general

feeling of hatred directed toward
Iranians as a whole, and an assumed
air of superiority over them, and, by
inference, other emerging Third World
societies.
Even as stories of the horrors of the
hostages' experience are revealed, we
ought not react with a general hatred
toward all Iranian countrymen. For
while that may seem the only rational
reaction to the crimes of the kidnap-
pers, it is wrong to hold non-involved
Iranians responsible for the actions of
their government or countrymen.
People who get caught up in that kiid
of blind fury may think they are
waving a patriotic banner; in fact,
they are bandying about the kind of
ugly racism we ought to have aban-
doned long ago.
A cessation of hostility toward in-
nocent Iranians living in the United
States would be a good way to put the
best elements of our national charac-
ter on display.

. ..without credentials...

9_

__

-I

To the Daily:
It leaves me sad and angry.
Christopher Potter volunteered
what must have been a very per-
sonal moment in his life in his last
column, his "conversion" to
Jesus, and how it makes him in-
terpret the suddenly visible and
highly vocal Moral Majority in
America. The Moral Majority is a
worrisome phenomenon, true,
but " far worse is Potter's
frighteningly uninformed self-
assurance.
What are his credentials for
examining belief? A five minute,
admittedly giddy emotional ex-
perience prompted by his own
vulnerability and the en-
couragement of a circle of frien-
ds. That kind of euphoria was
natural given the circumstances,
and so was the ease of it all; en-
joying the "light," basking in the
approval of others who were
hoping he could share their
beliefs. That can be a starting
point for belief (there-are many
others, probably more common),
but he can hardly claim to speak
as a seasoned believer, or as a
former "member of the club"
any more than one can affirm
oneself an economist after
reading the business section of
Newsweek. Why should Potter be

surprised to return to his lifelong
convictions as an atheist?
I do not object to Potter's con-
clusion that there is no God.
There are many well-considered
and intelligent arguments on his
side. But there are at least as
many offering other resolutions
to his problems (such as the
presence of suffering in the
world), and issues which have
gripped the greatest minds in the
West for over three millenia can-
not be summarily dispatched in
such a narrow-minded and flip
way.
If the frightening thing about
the Moral Majority is its imper-
meability to intellectual analysis
of its views, Mr. Potter, too, is
still brandishing the tired
rhetoric and ideas of 19th-century
atheism and curiously offering
them to a 20th century academic
community. At least Potter could
read something current, Michael
Novak's Belief and Unbelief
perhaps. Education neither
demands nor presumes any sort
of conversion. I think many could
agree that religious studies are
among the most exhilarating and
useful intellectual adventures of
our times.
-George Greenia
January 20

To the Daily:
Joshua Peck entitles his weekly
column "Obliquity." Obliquity is
defined as divergence from
moral rectitude, immorality, or
dishonesty. After reading his
column of January 19 arguing for
Palestinian statehood, I could
only think of how appropriate the
title was.
He says there cannot be peace'
as long as "the Israeli establish-
ment refuses to call the
Palestinian people a nation." He
fails to realize that the Israeli
establishment has recognized the
Palestinians right to self-
determination from its inception.
Thirty years ago, Israel's first
foreign minister, Moshe Sharett,
told the UN., "We are willing to
accommodate our right of self-
determination to the self-
determination of others; we
require, however, that the ac-
commodation must be mutual."
And in 1974 Yigal Allon told the
UN General Assembly: "I would
not agree to a general settlement
without including in it the
satisfaction of the needs of the
Palestinians." He went on to say,
"If there is any ethnic significan-
ce to the Palestinian concept it
applies equally to the peasant, to
the townsmen, and to the Bedui
east of the Jordan River
(meaning in Jordan) as it does to
the peasant, townsmen and Bedui
to its (the Jordan's River's) west
(meaning the West Bank)." That
is why Allon proposed a "Jor-
danian-Palestinian Arab state,
east of Israel, in which the in-
dependent identity of the Jor-
danian and Palestinian Arabs
can find expression in peace and
good neighborliness with Israel."
His proposal went nowhere; no
one would even listen.
Over the phone, Mr. Peck in-
formed me that today 75 percent.
of the population of Jordan is
Palestinian. Jordan was created
as a Palestinian state, and its
demography shows that it is one.
Mr. Peck, if I may paraphrase,
there will be no peace as long as
the Palestinian establishment
refuses to 'call Jordan a
Palestinian nation. But let us put
this point aside.
The major stumbling block in
Israel's peace process with
Rose Bowl
To the Daily:
The editorial "Getting to that
Rose Bowl" (Daily, January 9)
which appeared was a piece or
irresponsible and unfair jour-
nalism. Any point which the piece
meant to make was lost in a pile
of mealy-mouthed reproach-
fulness which sounded more like
sour grapes than responsible
journalism.
For example. Tim Lee's con-

in society. At bottom, it is an at-
tempt to impose censorship.
What will be the next step? Will
the self-appointed censors also
want to stone adulterers and
"loose women?" That is
Khomeini's program, and he is
certainly a world leader in the
fight against "smut." There are
no suggestive ads for Jordache
jeans in Teheran, you can bet
your life on that!
Rape is a horrible, frightening,
and violent crime. Women cer-
tainly must have the right- to
defend themselves against the
violence of sick individuals. As
Marxists, we defend the right to
self-defense against criminal
assault, including the right to
bear arms. But we vehemently
oppose vigilante-type actions or
calls for more cops to get tough
on rapists. In this racist society,
it is blacks who get framed up in
the courts, often on rape charges.
Remember the Scottsboro and
"Kissing" cases, where innocent
black youth were railroaded to
jail on trumped-up rape charges.
It is not pornography which is
the source of violence against
women. It is this capitalist
society with its enforced poverty,
rigid family structure, and
straightjacket morality which
breeds the frustrations which ex-
plode in violence.
-Michele Lube.
Spartacus'Youth League
January 19
is oblique
Egypt was linkage to the
Palestinian issue. After many
weeks of negotiations Israel of-
fered political autonomy to the
Palestinians. They were offered
control of everything except a
military (for obvious reasons).
Again the proposal went nowhere,
because no one else was willing to
involve himself in the peace
process.. The few prominent
Palestinians that were willing to
listen to the proposals were
"done away with" by the PLO.
- In 1947 the PN came out with its
famous partition 'plan dividing a
the British Mandate into an Arab
Palestinian state and a Jewish
state. Even though the proposal
was a letdown for the Jewish
community, it still accepted the
partition plan. The Arab respon-
se, however, was quite different.
The armies of Egypt, Syria, JQr-
dan; Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and
Yemen invaded the newly
created State of Israel. The
proposed plan for a Palestinian
state fell through, not because.of
anything Israel did, but because
of the aggression of the Arab
states whose main purpose was
not the establishment of a
Palestinian state but the total
destruction of the Jewish state.
It is interesting to note that
between 1948 and 1967, when
Egypt and Jordan occupied Gaza
and the West Bank, there was vir-
tually no outcry from anyone that
these lands be made into a
separate Palestinian state. If the
desire for political self-
realization was so profound, then:
the reasons for the silence are
quite unclear. If the Palestinians:
yearned for their own sovereign
territory, demands for self-
determination should have been
directed to Egypt and Jordan.
The fact that the silence
remained until Israel took over
Gaza and the West Bank after the
Six Day War and the fact that

Palestinians have repeatedly
refused to sit down with - the
Israelis suggest that Palestinian
nationalism is at most a secon-
dary consideration; the primary
consideration being the pushing
of Israel into the sea.
Anti-Zionism is disguised anti-
Semitism.
-David Brief
January 19
sour grapes
paign and had absolutely nothing
to do with homecoming. The
mention of the incident served
only to slant unfavorably and up-
fairly the reader's opinion. The
only statement of any worth was
the suggestion that the
homecoming concept be
reexamined. Perhaps the Daily
should expend its energy on such
meaningful ends and stop
proclaiming its nettv grievances. *

v

STEPFORD

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a narcotic. Claiming experience

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