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April 11, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-11

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OPINION
Page 4 Monday, April 11, 1988 The Michigan Daily

FSLN

By Roberto Frisancho
The coalition for Democracy in Latin
America (CDLA) was recently pleased to
receive support from The Daily in an
editorial ("Religious Freedom," 2/15/88),
commending the erection of a chapel that
protests the lack of separation of church
and state. The chapel also protests the
subsequent persecution of churches by the
Sandinista National Liberation Front
(FSLN) in Nicaragua. However, The Daily
also expressed a desire that "any discussion
of religious freedom in Nicaragua must
also include its neighbors El Salvador,
Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala as a
model for comparison." Unfortunately,
this justifiable request had numerous er-
rors.
In the editorial, America's Watch was
quoted as saying that "there is not a policy
of anti-Semitism, nor are Christians-
Catholic or Protestant- persecuted for
their faith." In addition, the example was
given of how many high government po-
sitions are occupied by Catholic priests
and church workers. To begin with, it is
-ery hard to find any anti-Semitic policy
at all in Nicaragua, since there are no Jews
left to persecute as a result of having to
flee from the Sandinistas after the revolu-
tion.
As for the Sandinistas position towards
religion, Humberto Belli, a former Marx-
ist and Sandinista before becoming a
Christian in 1977, has pointed out in his
book, Breaking Faith: The Sandinista
Revolution and Its Impact on Freedom and
C'hristian Faith in Nicaragua, that without
a doubt "a careful reading of FSLN state-
ments shows that there was an important
qualification in the FSLN's tolerance of
Roberto Frisancho is president of CDLA
aid a junior in Industrial and Operations
Engineering.

.oesn'ta
religion. The Sandinistas consistently ex-
pounded an approach which evaluated reli-
gious beliefs, institutions, and leaders on
the basis of whether they supported the
revolution."
A clear case is shown in its 1981 New

llow religious

Nicaragua.
Well, The Daily may be surprised to
learn that even its own beloved Marxist-
Leninist Sandinistas have admitted the
importance of Cardinal Obando in their
document on religion (Communicado de la

'If [socialism] means, as it should, that the interests of the
majority of Nicaraguans are paramount, and if it includes a model
of an economic system planned with national interests in mind
that is in solidarity with and provides for increased participation
of the people...we deem it just....'
-Document issued by the Catholic bishops of Nicaragua

Year's message (Mensaje de Ano Nuevo),
where the Nicaraguan government junta
put it very bluntly: "The true Christians,
the sincere Christians, embrace the option
of the Sandinista revolution..." Belli states
with regard to this document that:
It is important to note that failure to
'embrace the option of the Sandinista
revolution' need not involve explicit
rejection or criticism of the revolu-
tion. It might mean merely the fail-
ure to explicitly support the revolu-
tion. This demand of the Sandinista
government was shaped by the Marx-
ist belief that no act is politically
neutral.
Shockingly, The Daily also said that
"the popular church's support among the
poor translated into broad opposition to
the Somoza dictatorship. In contrast, the
traditional church, led by Archbishop
Miguel Cardenal Obando y Bravo and his
followers, continued to implicitly support
the dictatorship until its imminent down-
fall." Thus, the implication is given that
Cardinal Obando (who became a cardinal
in 1985) was just lightly criticizing So-
moza in order to avoid from having the
Catholic Church to be persecuted in

Direccion Nacional del FSLN sobre la
Religion), published by the national
directorate of the FSLN on October 7,
1980:
The Catholic bishops on various oc-
casions courageously denounced the
crimes of the [Somoza] dictatorship,
particularly Archbishop Obando y
Bravo and Bishop Salazar y Espi-
onoza, who, among others, suffered as
a consequence the harassment of the
Somocista thugs.
Following the overthrow of Somoza on
July 17, 1979, the bishops, on November
17, issued a thorough document on the
position of Catholics in the new revolu-
tionary period (Compromiso Cristiano
para una Nicaragua Nueva):
If through fear and mistrust, through
the insecurity of some in the face of
radical social change, or through the
desire to defend personal interests, we
neglect this crucial opportunity to
commit ourselves to the poor ... we
would be in serious violation of the
gospel's teaching.
Some feelings were also expressed with
regard to how the new Nicaragua should
be:

Our commitment to the revolutionary
process cannot mean naivete or blind
enthusiasm, much less the creation of
a new idol before which there is a
duty to bow down unconditionally.
We are asked what we think of
socialism...If it means, as it should,
that the interests of the majority of
Nicaraguans are paramount, and if it
includes a model of an economic sys-
tem planned with national interests in
mind that is in solidarity with and
provides for increased participation of
the people...we deem it just....
Thus, the bishops were in favor of
democratic socialism, a system geared to
satisfying the needs of the people while at
the same time respecting basic freedoms
and a representative political process. Us-
ing those above stated requirements, the
bishops repudiated totalitarian socialism:
For if...socialism gets adulterated,
robbing ...the people of their call to
be free protagonists of history; if it
attempts to blindly yoke the people to
the manipulation and dictates of those
who would then arbitrarily exercise
power, such false socialism we could
not accept. [It would be] equally un-
acceptable to deny parents the right to
educate their children according to
their convictions.
In conclusion, the bishops stated their
hopes for a revolution that would eventu-
ally be betrayed:
We also have confidence that the
revolutionary process will be some-
thing original, creative, deeply na-
tional, and in no way imitative, be-
cause what we seek, together with the
Nicaraguan majority, is a process that
will result in a society completely and
truly Nicaraguan, one that is neither

reedom
capitalist, nor dependent, nor
totalitarian.
With regard to the lack of adequate
comprehension about liberation theology
inherent throughout the editorial, one can-
not really consider the merit of the theol-
ogy without looking into flaws.
Michael Novak, a Catholic theologian
at the American Enterprise Institute, in his
book,Will It Liberate?: Questions About
Liberation Theology, questions whether
"all the poor see reality in terms of class
confrontation? Do they all wish to side
with the extreme right or the extreme left?
Do they see only two alternatives?" Like-
wise, "to think of the poor as class is to
ignore the individual dignity of each per-
son among them. There is at least as
much complexity, subtlety, and differenti-
ation in the individual personalities of the
poor as among any other social class."
If one is to truly help the poor, one has
to help make concrete change in the econ-
omy that works. Thus, "it is not those
who say 'The poor! The poor!' who will
enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but those
who actually put in place an economic
system that helps the poor no longer to be
poor." Novak also points out that "in the
past, liberation theologians say, the
Catholic Church was at fault for too easily
baptizing the existing order. There remains
the danger that one day a future generation
will blame the liberation theologians for
too easily baptizing the existing revolu-
tionary project of the left."
In conclusion, taking into account the
state of churches in Central America, it
seems reasonable and necessary that the
chapel should be renovated to include free-
dom for churches of any denomination
throughout all of Central America. Thus,
CDLA is pleased to announce that with
the full support of the Michigan Daily the
chapel will be changed to "reflect the real-
ity of Central America."

0
0

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

A

-'Vol. XCVIII, No. 129

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Sllz-NcAlmA K REMg~pY

OF IRMtI PAP'ER, FUEL...

AND P'nFICIU ItMBS FOR
CRILDRGEN

--i

IN NO TIME Dt~wc9AcY
tI

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Improve public schools

01

LAST THURSDAY, Secretary of
Education William Bennett suggested
that Catholic schools should be
reimbursed with government funds for
educating "the worst" public school
students. This proposal not only
violates the principle of separation of
church and state, but also demonstrates
the abandonment of public schools by
the Reagan administration.
Bennett announced his plan at the
National Catholic Education Asso-
ciation's annual convention. Bennett
told Catholic educators to "[s]eek out
the poor, the disadvantaged, the
disruptive, the dropout, and take them
in, educated them, and then ask society
for fair recompense for your efforts."
"Project Voluntas," as Bennett
dubbed his plan, sounds rational on the
surface. Putting problematic and
disadvantaged children in a n
environment with smaller classes and
more student-teacher contact makes
sense.
The suggestion that state govern-
ments should pay a part of the tuition
costs for student enrollment in Catholic
schools blurs the fine line between
church and state. By assigning a public
responsibility - the education of
American children - to a private, or a
religious organization is a violation of
the establishment clause of the first
amendment.
Bennett's plan crosses the line by
proposing to spend public funds for
students to receive a Catholic-oriented
education. This is not a condemnation
of Catholicism or Catholic schools;
however, no matter how good their
quality, the Catholic schools certainly
have curriculums that integrate
religious beliefs with conventional
teaching.
Another disturbing aspect of Ben-
nett's plan is the apparent abandonment
of the public schools by the Reagan

administration. In statements regarding
his plan, Bennett implies that public
schools cannot handle problematic
students, and that Catholic or other
private schools are a better alternative.
"The challenge is simple. Show educa-
tors around this country what works,"
Bennett urged the association.
As the country's most powerful
education official, Bennett's relegation
of public schools to second-class status
is indicative of his lack of commitment
to public education. Instead of using
his influence to improve the quality,
diversity and effectiveness of the public
school systems in this country, he
undermines them by constantly
praising the private schools.
Bennett has previously advocated
proposals that would give tuition tax
credits and tuition vouchers, which
would provide tax breaks or direct
assistance, to parents of private school
children. In other words, give people
back their tax dollars that go towards
public schools because they don't use
them. This entirely defeats the idea of
public goods provided by the
government. It would also weaken the
public school systems in the states that
adopt the Bennett proposals, because of
decreased revenue and an exodus of
students to the private schools.
Secretary Bennett is in a tough
situation. He is running a department
that has been cut every year of the
Reagan presidency. He has had to deal
with the disappearance of financial aid
to college students, and the shabby
efforts of some states - whom he has
no actual power over - with regards
to primary and secondary public
education. Despite these and other
obstacles, he is a public official who
should be committed to. the public good
and public schools. It would be
difficult to call William 'Bennett a
public servant.

Life ain't all jelly donuts and

PBRs

Watch it out there 'cuz it can happen to
anyone.
I was just acruisin' down the street the
other night, two six packs of my favorite
beverage, Pabst Blue Ribbon, tucked under
my arm. Yeppers, I was feelin' right fine,
ready to kick my feet onto a desk, pop
open a brewski and relax after what was
already one of the worst days of my
livliehood.
I walked by a gang of six or seven
young fresh fellows and heard one of 'em
yell out at me, "Yo, fat man, what up?"
I stopped and says to 'em, "I don't know
fella, what's up?"
"We want some beer, man."
"Well, go on and get yourself some
then."
"We can't, man."
So, I figures these here good ol' boys,
who weren't no older than 18, couldn't get
served.
Bein' the good natured of boy I am, I
asked 'em, "you want me to pick y'all up
a six?"
But even as I queried, I noticed that
somethin' funny was happenin' here - I
was bein' surrounded. I tried to smooth
my way on outta there, throwin' out a
heh-heh-heh and sidlin' out right slow.
But dangit they had me covered better than
Sittin' Bull had Custer - ceptin' they
were the bad guys this time 'round.
"We want yawr beer, man!" one of them
said as he grabbed at my bag and got in
my face.
I was afightin', pullin' on the bag and
tellin' them to screw off when I got hit
above my brow with a hefty haymaker
that woulda made Jack Dempsey might
proud. Another punk kicked out my legs
and I was on my fat ass, still holdin' on to
my beer. As I scrambled upward and on-
ward, the foolishness of fightin' six guys

SAL
scuffle by the by - and some people act
right shocked.
"Al," they scream, "how in the name of

ters with the opposite sex (contrary to
popular opinion about sheep) as much as
the next Joe- but little boy raping? Slave
holding?
I can never figure out why the fraternity
system named themselves after the
Greeks- why couldn't they call them-
selves Borneans or something else instead
of disgracing the likes of Socrates, Plato,
and our "President to be" from the Demo-
cratic party? I feel like throwing a Bud
longneck at a frat house every time I see

S
6

'Another punk kicked out my legs and I was on my fat ass,
still holdin' on to my beer.'
-Fat Al

all that is holy and revered can you sup-
port that dude?"
"I like 'em, that's all."
Then these dang fools will go on to tell
me 'bout how Jesse ain't got no political
experience, and they think he's right fine
and all but he's a reverand not a politicin
and bleh-bleh-bleh.
Well, I'll tell y'all right clearly for the
public to consume why I voted for the
good reverend. It all goes back to my fa-
vorite sayin'- "watch the donut and not
the hole." All the other presidential types
are keepin' their buggers fixed on the hole
and the donuts done rolled away a long,
long time ago. Yo, wake up and smell the
empire crumblin'.
Take a good hard looksee at the
newspaper. Troops pullin' outta Honduras
and headed for Panama to slap 'round the
two bit greasey drug king the CIA boys
propped up, the sleaziest, biggest ol'
criminal in the country runnin' the justice
departmwent, and on and on and on. Could
Jackson do any worser?

Greek letters on their doors, or those
S.O.B. "What a week to be Greek" T
shirts that all the "Biffs" and "Muffles"
wear. They've never been Greek for a
minute let alone a week.
Al, keep up the good work, you're
"pseudo Greek" pot shots are well backed
up by more of us on campus than you can
imagine. May a large rabbit cross the path
of your car on the way to a family outing.
(We Greeks call it "stuffato stew.")
Sincerely,
Nick the Greek
Well, Nicky, firstly, thanks a heap for
the 'preciation. Now, 'bout some of your
other points. Dukakis is absodamnlutely
not goin' to be the President. It 'taint
causin' he's Greek but cause there ain't
enuff caffeine in the whole danged country
to get us through a Dukakis-Bush cam-
paign. Hell, the League of Women Voters
probably couldn't keep from noddin' off
dnin' nn e ,thij-p ha r t e

r7

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