Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Catholics' opinions vary on contraception

To the editor:

In response to Mr. Huyett's letter of 23 March 2012:

He questions why Ms. Fluke would attend a Jesuit university if she disagrees with the fundamental principles of the school. Teachings on contraception are not part of the dogma of the church.

One could reasonably state that I am arguing semantics, that the real question is: "What does the Catholic church believe about birth control?" The answer depends on the definition of the Catholic church. The Second Vatican Council, meeting in the early and mid 1960s, shifted from a hierarchical view to the view that the church is a community of believers.

What does that community believe? According to a 2011 study by the reproductive health institute Guttmacher, 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women - including married women - have used a form of contraception other than natural family planned ("the rhythm method"). A poll conducted Feb. 1-5, 2012, by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that 58 percent of American Catholics favored contraception as a required, no-cost benefit of health insurance.

While 59 percent of Catholics surveyed in that poll felt that churches should be excluded from a mandate to provide access to contraception, 52 percent supported requiring religious-affiliated institutions such as hospitals or colleges to cover contraception. Also in February 2012, a Georgetown University spokesperson said university employees have access to healthcare plans that include birth control.

During the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII convened a commission to study contraception; he died before the commission completed its work. When the commission, which included lay members of the Catholic church, favored broadening the church's acceptance of contraception, Pope Paul VI reconstituted the commission so that only bishops voted. Still, the commission's final report favored changing the church's teaching on contraception. In the end, Pope Paul VI chose to issue an encyclical condemning contraception.

Independent of the issue of contraception, I plead for civility in public discourse. Honorable people can examine complex moral problems and arrive at differing conclusions. Vilifying anyone who disagrees with your views impedes the free exchange of ideas necessary to address the complex issues facing this country in the 21st century.

Barbara Tylka

Baker City

Wolves weren't 'reintroduced'

To the editor:

The Baker City Herald, as well as many other types of media have published many articles on the wolves lately. I would like to set the record straight on one particular item that I am sick to death of seeing.And that is the word "reintroduction."

My Webster's dictionary explains the word reintroduction as follows:

reintroduce |ˌr?-intrəˈd(y)oōs|

verb [ trans. ]

bring (something, esp. a law or system) into existence or effect again : thirty-six states have reintroduced the death penalty.

put (a species of animal or plant) back into a region where it formerly lived.

I draw your attention to the part that says "put (a species of animal or plant) back into a region where it formerly lived."

The wolves that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "introduced" into Yellowstone Park and Idaho were just that. Introduced. These Canadian wolves never "formerly lived" in Yellowstone or Idaho!The word "reintroduced" is a false claim by the environmentalists to mislead people into to thinking that these wolves once roamed the areas that they have been introduced into.

The wolves that actually did once roam these areas, the western gray wolf, were in fact doing fine in the state of Idaho. Not many people realized that there were still about 80 of these native wolves in some of Idaho's wilderness areas at the time of the introduction of the Canadian wolves. The Canadian wolves have since killed all of the native wolves left in Idaho.

So the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the backing and support of extremist environmental groups have actually caused the extinction of a truly "endangered species" by "introducing" these "non essential/experimental wolves."

The facts speak for themselves. The word reintroduction is a lie. These wolves have been introduced, as they never existed there in the first place.

Jim Scott

Baker City

Energy policy a key to 2012 election

To the editor:

The two major political parties have very different energy policies. With the elections just a few months away, perhaps it's time to look at these two policies.

Despite a century of use, our nation still has vast untapped petroleum reserves, more even than Saudi Arabia. But these are mostly on federal lands, and are off limits for development.

The Republican Energy Plan is to tap these reserves. This would lessen our dependence upon imported oil, which would do wonders for our balance of payments. It would also reduce imports from countries controlled by Third World thugs.

The Democratic Energy Plan also reduces our dependence upon imported oil, but achieves this through reducing the use of fossil fuels by raising their cost considerably through a cap-and-trade system. Increase how much? Then Senator Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 17, 2008, "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket." Stephen Chu (President Obama's Secretary of Energy) told the Wall Street Journal in 2008: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," or around $10.00/gallon. (They're already well on their way!)

The Democrats plan to replace fossil fuels with renewable resources: biofuels, wind- and solar-generated electricity. But biofuels cost more to produce than their petroleum counterparts, and significantly reduce fuel mileage. (The diversion of food to fuel also raises the cost of our food supply.) Wind-generated electricity costs four times as much as that produced from fossil fuels, while solar-generated electricity is considerably more expensive than wind.

In an open market, renewable resources could never compete successfully with fossil fuels; they're too expensive. So we come to another part of the Democratic Energy Plan. Renewable resources are given a competitive edge through massive subsidies; their use is mandated in fuels and in the generation of electricity.

The Democratic Energy Policy has been in effect for a number of years. So as you might expect, our energy costs have been raising significantly, something to keep in mind when you vote in November.

Pete Sundin

Baker City