Regarding the May 26 article "Do US women belong in the thick of the fighting?": We all have choices we must make. The benefit of living in the United States of America is having the right to stand up for what you believe to be true.
That is the real privilege when participating in military service. It is the power to stand up for freedom in America. It is the power to let an independent voice be united with many to show support for the president, Congress, and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Every man and woman who stands in military service makes a clear, graceful statement for the well-being of his or her country. That statement is: I will stand, fight, and give my life to defend freedom. Women should have the right to make this statement, too.
The issue should not be debated in Congress. The Constitution states that all Americans have a right to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, and provide for the common defense for their children, their American life, and themselves.
I think Congress needs to understand and honor the initial purpose and wishes of the constitutional founders.
Spring Valley, Calif.
Some women can carry and fire the rifle reasonably well and some are physically capable of keeping up with most men, yet that is not the central issue to having women in combat.
Anyone who has served in a combat infantry or Marine unit in war for any length of time knows that a certain moral and mental dullness will set in if one constantly witnesses the death of one's fellow soldiers. At that point good men do bad things. They have lapses in moral judgment that would never occur in peacetime.
Now you pour gasoline on that fire by having the opposite sex present in a combat unit, and you have a recipe for all the wrong things happening. All the training, all the neat arguments about decent men not doing the wrong things go right out the window. Prolonged combat warfare creates a "survival of the fittest" atmosphere. That is not a place you want your daughter or wife.
Unless one has spent extended time in a combat zone and has known the fear, desperation, and - oftentimes - hopelessness of watching death being acted out on all sides, one can't honestly speak to the problems of women in a combat unit.
Regarding Doug Cowan's May 31 Opinion piece "Teaching students to be 'competent jurors' on evolution": As parents, we have the authority and power to influence the public school systems in our communities. We have the right to demand that our children be taught what we want in the classroom, whether it is the scientific theory of evolution or the religious account of creationism (a.k.a. intelligent design).
In a particular community, those in the majority may want intelligent design taught in the public schools. However, before doing this, we need to ask if it is morally right to impose the religion of the majority onto the minority in a public school classroom and vice versa.
Is it ethical to separate our children from each other, as we separate our adult selves from each other, by making religion an issue in a public school classroom?
Pushing any aspect of a religious belief is indeed pushing a particular brand of religion. To me, this seems unethical and harmful to all children, particularly those of minority groups. It is unethical to play out our adult differences in our public school classrooms, at the expense of our children.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.