Letters: U.S. Troops in Iraq, Christian Conservatives

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Host Steve Inskeep reads from listeners' letters weighing in on stories about U.S. soldiers in Iraq, conservative Christians in public life and film studios funding scientific research; corrections.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's time now for your comments. Bartley Calder of Northport, Maine, says, `Bravo to NPR's Phillip Reeves for his succinct and articulate reports from Iraq.' Calder writes, `His report on US troops trying to do a very tough job with understandably upset citizens in Mosul was superb. It did a better job bringing me to full morning alert than the cold water I was splashing on my face.'

Joanne Marbot(ph) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, adds the report was, quote, "further proof of the problem the US is creating in Iraq. When an Iraqi tears up a pro-US newspaper, the troops get in the man's face and say tearing up the paper is a sign of disrespect. In the United States," she adds, "we call that a person's right according to the Constitution."

We received many e-mails about last week's series on Christian conservatives in the public square. Joel Kincart(ph) heard our story about the many Christian conservatives who want to return to what they see as the more pious America of the Founding Fathers. He writes, `I wish more attention would be paid to the religious practices of our Founding Fathers. While the religious right is correct in pointing out that they recognized a divine authority, many of our Founding Fathers shared beliefs that differ significantly from the agenda that they, the Christian right, seek to promote.'

Another story in that series was about Christian law schools, and the report called the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis a religiously conservative school. But the dean of that school, Thomas Mengler, wrote to say this: `St. Thomas is a Catholic law school, but there is nothing conservative about it.' He says, `The vast majority of our faculty and student body are left of center. St. Thomas is striving to prove that a law school can take religion seriously without ascribing to any political agenda.'

Couple of corrections now in our report about the debate in Kansas over teaching evolution. We mistakenly said that evolution was a way of explaining how life began. Darwin's theory does not address the origin of life; it explains how the diversity of different life forms came to be.

Also this week, a story about Senator Rick Santorum included some man-on-the-street interviews in Philadelphia. One of those men in the street, Ian Ray, said he thought Republicans were being hypocritical about the judicial filibuster.

Mr. IAN RAY (Pennsylvania Resident): Well, I mean, I think when the Republicans were filibustering Clinton's nominees, they didn't seem to have a problem with it then, but now that it's become a little bit more inconvenient, now it's a bigger issue.

INSKEEP: After hearing that, several of you correctly pointed out that the Republicans did block Clinton's judicial nominations, but they did not use the filibuster. They used other tactics instead.

Finally, a story yesterday had an anecdote about a paleontologist whose research was partly funded by Universal Studios. In exchange, the paleontologist agreed to release dinosaur data to coincide with the release of "Jurassic Park" movies. After hearing that, Kim Robertson of the University of Florida writes, `Eventually, all basic science researchers will be reduced to finding corporate sponsors. In my lab, we study things like nicotine addiction and obesity. I'm seriously tempted to call up companies like Philip Morris and Kraft Foods and ask them to fund our research, in exchange for us sporting their corporate logos on our lab coats.'

We'll advertise your name and your town if we read your letter on the air, but please give us a correct pronunciation and place name when you write to us at morning@npr.org.

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